Preview by Curt Heinrichs
“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of 100 battles.” – The Art of War- Sun Tzu
On Sunday, the Buckeyes will once again play host to the Virginia Tech Hokies in what is the Buckeyes’ final dual meet of the season. I say “once again” because the Hokies participated in last weekend’s NWCA National Duals, hosted by Ohio State. The Buckeyes will have momentum heading into the match after finishing 3rd at the aforementioned National Duals, knocking off Oklahoma for 3rd place. Making their final appearance at St. John Arena will be seniors Ian Paddock, Joe Grandominico, and Nick Heflin as well as Josh Whitt, Colton Bowers, and Alex Gordon. The atmosphere should be electric and the wrestling will be highly competitive as the Buckeyes and Hokies each have several ranked wrestlers. Let's take a look at how it may pan out.
Head Coach- Kevin Dresser
Dresser is in his 8th season as head coach of the Hokie wrestling program and has continued to create a culture of winning in Blacksburg. Dresser is a former standout himself, having been a 2 time All-American and NCAA champion under Dan Gable’s tutelage at Iowa. Dresser is joined by a pair of former Edinboro Scots on his staff.
Devin Carter- 141 lbs- An All-American as a sophomore, Carter redshirted last year and was poised to contend for the top of the podium this year at the NCAA tournament. Undefeated in his first 12 matches, Carter’s season was cut short due to injury, which was a huge blow to the Hokie team.
Zach Neibert- 149 lbs- Neibert was twice a state champion in Division 2 in Ohio, competing for powerhouse (St. Paris) Graham High School. Neibert placed 8th at last year’s NCAA tournament after a runner-up finish at the ACC tournament. Neibert went 3-1 at last weekend’s NWCA National Duals and is 18-7 on the season. Neibert is currently ranked #16 in the latest Intermat wrestling rankings at 149.
Joey Dance- 125 lbs- A 4 time state champ from Virginia, Dance was one of the biggest recruits in the country a year ago. Dance is currently ranked #18 in the country.
Ohioans on the roster
Zach Neibert- 149 lbs- Graham High School, St. Paris. 2x State Champion in Division 2
Nick Brascetta- 149 lbs- Graham High School, St. Paris. 2x State Champion in Division 2, 4 time placer. Redshirting this season.
Ty Walz- Heavyweight- St. Edward High School. Walz was a state champion for powerhouse St. Ed’s in Division 1.
Matches to Watch:
125 lbs- #18 Joey Dance vs #20 Nick Roberts
A bout between 2 young, ranked wrestlers. Roberts wrestled well at the National Duals, appearing to turn the corner just in time for the post-season.
Heavyweight- Ty Walz vs Nick Tavanello
An interesting match at heavyweight, to say the least. Both big men move well for their size and can attack the legs. It is interesting to note that Tavanello once defeated Walz for the Division 1 State Championship in high school.
149 lbs- #16 Zach Neibert vs #19 Ian Paddock
Paddock will look to wrap up his career in style, defeating a tough opponent from the state of Ohio. Both have big-match experience and this could be the best match of the dual meet.
165 lbs- Chris Moon vs Joe Grandominico
Likely wrestling for the final time in St. John Arena, Grandominico will look to pick up one last home win as a Buckeye.
197 lbs- #20 Chris Penny vs #4 Nick Heflin
Heflin has just one (1!!!) loss to this point in the season. He’s really turned up the tempo in the neutral position and is wrestling like a man on a mission. Penny may be matching up with Heflin at the wrong time.
I’ve spoken with Coach Dresser already, so keep an eye out for the Buckeyes in the Crosshairs segment sometime in the next few days.
The match will take place on Sunday at 2 PM at St. John Arena. I’ll be in attendance to cover the match, so expect a fair amount of my thoughts and observations following the action.
Thanks for reading and Go Bucks!