Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Old Dominion Athletic Conference Preview (Saturday Feb 17th)


After a 43 year lay off,  The Old Dominion Athletic Conference reinstated wrestling as an official sport of the conference & we had a great tournament last year.  I think this year will be no different & I for one am looking very forward to it. 

125 lbs 

The talk in the collegiate wrestling world is how nuts 125 lbs is at the NCAA Division I level & gal darn it, if people would just pay attention, things are just as nuts at 125 here in NCAA Division III.  We have a super tough bracket here at the ODAC.   Currently 16-2 on the season, Mason Barrett of Averett, 6th in the DIII nation last season, was a runner-up here last year.  Thus far in '23-'24, he has won titles at both Lycoming & Petrofes.  He owns both an 8-3 as well as a 9-2 decision over Mac Cafurello of Roanoke & he owns both a 10-6 & an 8-2 decision over Adrian Samano of Ferrum.  Not to mention a 9-1 major over Jaden Nelson of Southern Virginia. 

Now, where things get really interesting is in discussing the drama between Samano & Cafurello.  Cafurello actually defeated Samano in the consolation finals of last year's ODAC championships.  Then more recently, Samano wrestled the best tournament of his D3 career to date & he won the Pete Willson title with a 2-1 victory over Cafurello.  A short time later, in the dual meet, Cafurello avenged that loss with a 14-4 major decision!   I mean seriously!  What does one do with parity like that?  All in all, Cafurello has defeated Samano a total of five times.   He also owns 12-2, 20-6 and 15-1 major decisions over Nelson.

Gonna be a fun weight! 

133 lbs 

16 wins thus far on the season & a recent 4th place finish at the Pete Willson Invitational, Jude Robson is having himself one heck of a season thus far in '23-'24.  He'll have to continue his winning ways if he wants to win an ODAC title this weekend, as he'll have some tough competition to go through.  One of which will be teammate Corey Messick, who won an ODAC title last season.  Messick has wins over both Daniel Porter of Averett (5-3), as well as Sean Rinebolt of Shenandoah (6-2, 9-5 & 14-2).  Porter defeated Rinebolt last year for 3rd place, 9-2. 

141 lbs 

Two time NCAA DIII All American (5th & 8th) Josh Wilson of Greensboro won an ODAC title last season & currently standing 17-0, he looks to win another title this weekend.  He may have some trouble with Roanoke's Mark Samuel, however.  Samuel currently stands at 16-1, with his only loss being to Wilson.  A score closer than rankings would suggest, 11-6. 

149 lbs 

An ODAC runner-up last season at 141 lbs, Evan Lindner of Washington & Lee looks to win a title this weekend competing at 149 lbs.  Currently 19-3 on the season, he owns a 12-0 major decision over Elijah Blackwell of Southern Virginia.  Blackwell was 2nd here a year ago, as Lindner's teammate Collin Bridges was 3rd.  Blackwell owns both a 6-1 & a 4-2 decision over Bridges. 

157 lbs 

Going make things short and sweet, and get straight to the point here at 157 lbs. I think Zane Cox, who was 3rd in last year's championships, will be our ODAC champ this year. 

165 lbs 

I predict we have a repeat of last year's ODAC finals between Anthony Taylor of Averett & Jacob Cherry of Roanoke.  It's also very capable of being our best final.  Taylor defeated Cherry last season, 7-5 for the championship. 

174 lbs 

Confident that our champion here will be NCAA DIII qualifier Harrison Kelly of Washington & Lee.  19 wins already on the season, he owns a 17-8 major decision over Dylan Weaver of Roanoke.  Speaking over Weaver, I'm anxious to see how the likely semi-final turns out between him and Dylan Weaver of Shenandoah.  Ironically enough, Weaver owns three victories over Lee (8-5, 7-2 & 5:31 fall) but it was Lee who finished 3rd to Weaver's 5th in last year's tournament.  Call it coincidence, at the time this article was written, both stand 18-5 on the season. 

184 lbs 

At 184 lbs I see a final of Panther Vs Hornet.  Ethan Fragoso of Ferrum was 3rd in last year's ODAC championships & Hunter Thompson was 6th.  Fragoso defeated Thompson 6-2 the last the two met. 

197 lbs 

4th at HWT last season, Jamar Christian has permanently moved down to 197 lbs & thus far it has proved to be a very wise decision.  Currently 19-1 on the season, he's having himself a great '23-'24 & it will most likely result in an ODAC title this weekend.  As to who his finals opponent will be? Well, that's an interesting question.  Wyatt Sage of Roanoke pinned Jaden Markus of Southern Virginia at the 2:53 mark to claim 3rd place honors last year.  However, Markus owns a 4:22 fall over Sage.  So does meeting number three end in a fall?  If so, who sticks who? 


Since the very beginning of the season, I have been calling RayShawn Dixon of Ferrum one of the best wrestlers in NCAA DIII wrestling yet to make All American.  The way he's been wrestling as of late? He may even be one of the best wrestlers in DIII yet to win a national title.  16-0 he just keeps adding to his accolades & I say he puts another gold medal in the cabinet after the ODAC is said & done. 


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