Hokies Wrestling 2020: #3 Virginia Tech (8-0) VS #13 North Carolina (8-1)

Match Information
Location: Cassell Coliseum - Blacksburg, VA
Day & Time: 24 JAN 20 at 7:00pm
Viewing: ACCN and in-person
Updates: Twitter @HokiesWrestling, and Trackwrestling

The Opponent: North Carolina Tarheels

2018-2019 Season and Now

The University of North Carolina's dual record last year was 12-7 (4-1 ACC), finishing 2nd in the conference's regular season standings. For the ACC tournament, UNC would finish third. Last year's match between UNC and VT was a huge disappointment for Hokie fans. The Tarheels won 18-14, where they won two sudden victory decisions and pulled off three upsets at 133lbs, 197lbs, and 285lbs. Each upset had an unranked Tarheel grappler defeating a ranked Hokie grappler.

The 2019-2020 North Carolina squad is much improved, with respectable wrestlers stacked in the heart of the lineup. Looking ahead, they will be scary-good next year. The ranked wrestlers are: 141lbs Zach Sherman (#13), 149lbs Austin O'Connor (#2), 157lbs AC Headlee (#20), and 165lbs Kennedy Monday (#17). For their dual record, they are currently 8-1, but their schedules has been relatively challenge free. Their only loss came against Stanford, who is currently ranked #19. Their ranked wins have come against Princeton and West Point, at #15 and #14 respectively.

Coach: Coleman Scott

Coach Scott is in his 5th season at the University of North Carolina, starting in 2015, and only has been in the coaching business for seven years. His coaching record is 60-30 and he is showing lots of promise in his young career. He has already produced four All-Americans, but none that have won the coveted NCAA championship title. Coach Scott is also still seeking his first ACC wrestling championship, for both regular season and tournament.

Coleman Scott has many accolades in his collegiate and professional career as a wrestler. He is a four time All-American and a NCAA champion in 2008 at the 133lbs weight class. He wrestled for Oklahoma State from 2005-2008 where he amassed a record of 117-24. After college, he won the bronze medal in the 2012 London Olympics for freestyle wrestling at the 60kg category. Just recently he was named a coach of the USA Women's National Wrestling team.

The Line-Up

125lbs: Joey Melendez (r-FR, Norridge IL)
There was some preseason hype to Melendez, but a November injury prevented him to get comfortable in his first season wrestling attached with North Carolina. His record is 4-4, but his redshirt year he was 20-4.

133lbs: Jamie Hernandez (r-SO, Aurora IL)
Hernandez has bumped down from 141lbs which he had wrestled at for the past two year. He also gets the start as Joe Heilmann takes a redshirt to get use to bumping up a weight class. Hernandez's current record is 10-6 and career record is 27-15.

141lbs: #13 Zach Sherman (r-SO, Islamorado FL)
In 2018 he qualified for the NCAA tournament as a true freshman. Before this season, he took a redshirt year where he has drastically improved his craft. He is 19-3 for the year 2020 and each loss has come against current top 10 wrestlers. His career record sits at 48-27.

149lbs: #2 Austin O'Connor (r-SO, Rockport IL)
The North Carolina captain and premier wrestler. He is currently 15-1; his only loss came at Midlands to the current #1 at 149lbs, Pat Lugo of Iowa. He is an All-American who finished 3rd in the NCAA tournament in 2019. His total record is 69-10.

157lbs: #20 AC Headlee (r-SR, Waynesburg PA)
The elder on this squad, Headlee beat Mitch Moore during the regular season in 2018-2019, but Mitch got his revenge in the ACC tournament. He is a two time NCAA qualifier, both at 141lbs. His season record is 11-5, as he jumped two weight classes this year, and his career record is 78-48.

165lbs: #16 Kennedy Monday (r-JR, Arlington TX)
Monday returns to the Tarheel line up after suffering an injury last year. He was originally a 157lber, where he made his only NCAA tournament appearance in 2018. He is 16-4, and all losses were against top 20 wrestler. His overall record is 66-32.

174lbs: Clay Lautt (r-SO, Olatte KS)
Lautt is a fringe ranked wrestler. He was the 165lbs starter before taking a redshirt year in 2018-2019 to bulk up. During that year he pinned Cody Hughes. His current record is 13-4, but he has yet to beat a ranked wrestler. His career record is 41-27.

184lbs: Joey Mazzara (r-FR, Las Vegas NV)
Mazzara joined the North Carolina squad at 165lbs but has bumped up to 184lbs after his redshirt year. He is serviceable in his first year in the starting line up, going 14-9 so far this season. His is 27-19 so far in his young career.

197lbs: Brandon Whitman (SO, Dundee MI)
Whitman is the returning starter at 197lbs. He was a NCAA qualifier last year, but went 0-2. He has wrestled Virginia Tech's Cody Howard this year and came up with a decision loss at the Southeast Open. He is 8-10 this year and 26-25 in his career.

HVY: Andrew Gunning (r-JR, Bethlehem PA)
Gunning finally gets the starter spot for the heavyweight class. His season record is 8-7, but no loss has been by more than four points. His career record as a Tarheel is 53-31.

Match Thoughts

It the first dual of the ACC match schedule and the Hokies will be tested immediately. Virginia Tech goes into this match with six ranked wrestlers: #12 Joey Prata (125lbs), #18 Mitch Moore (141lbs), #19 BC LaPrade (157lbs), #3 David McFadden (165lbs), #2 Hunter Bolen (184lbs), and #17 John Borst. The Hokies did a good job handling their first back-to-back match of thr season. Each wrestler seemed to handle their weight/conditioning well, except for Andonian (which is expected for a freshman, not a knock on him). They were fortunate that Cornell was not at full strength, as VT would have definitely lost.

There will be three ranked matches at 141lbs, 157lbs, and 165lbs. I'm most interested in Moore vs Sherman as they both have the same experience and the same skill set. It will be a coin toss. LaPrade has a very good chance of picking up a ranked win. Headlee does not seem to be handling the bigger opponents well and BC's gas tank is large. The 165lbs match will be intriguing specifically because McFadden has yet to wrestle Kennedy Monday in his career. Unfortunately the true freshman has to go through O'Connor at 149lbs, but if you have watched Andonian wrestle, you know he is fearless with his offense. If he can control his shot follow through and get rolled, he can keep it close.

Predictions

125: #12 Prata dec. Melendez (3-0 VT)
133: Hernandez dec. Gerardi (3-3 tie)
141: #13 Sherman dec #18 M. Moore (6-3 UNC)
149: #2 O'Connor maj. dec. Andonian (10-3 UNC)
157: #19 LaPrade dec. #20 Headlee (10-6 UNC)
165: #3 McFadden dec. #16 Monday (10-9 UNC)
174: Lautt dec. Hughes (13-9 UNC)
184: #2 Bolen maj. dec. Mazzarra (13-13 tie)
197: Smeltzer dec. Whitman (16-13 VT)
285: #17 Borst dec Gunning (19-13 VT)

Each team is gonna go on a run, but I see Virginia Tech squeaking it out at the heavier weights. Like in all close matches, it comes down to who can prevent the opponent from getting bonus points. Prata is gonna have another close match, but I do not believe that Melendez is 100% back from his injury. DMac always has a chance for bonus points, but I went conservative. Even though McFadden is seen as a big 165lber while Monday is viewed as small for that weight. There is some uncertainty if Smeltzer will wrestle Friday, since he gutted through a dislocated pinky finger on Sunday. If not, then Cody Howard will get start and he has beaten Whitman before. 141lbs and 197lbs will be the matches to decide it.

DISCLAIMER: Forum topics may not have been written or edited by The Key Play staff.

Comments

See you there.

Doing better and better.

Awesome write up, thank you!

I criticize knowing full well I could never do what these athletes do.

No problem, I was working on it this long weekend so your request was perfect timing. Plus i'll be away from technology due to work, till Friday

If you want level-headed opinions, don't go on a message board or sports forums

My 2019 Season Challenge: only comment with Star Wars memes. (completed as of Nov. 29)

Its a shame the match cant be held out in a rain storm.

Directions from Blacksburg to whoville, go north till you smell it then go east until you step in it

I appreciate all the work on putting out wrasslin updates!

I appreciate your details as someone who understands only the basics of wrestling. UNC is one of those schools i want to whoop in everything, they are like uva's better looking twin, still disgusting, just slightly less so.

Whatever. It was one bad year.

Seasonal Brew means High ABV for football season and standard the rest of the year.

Thanks so much for doing these write ups! I've thoroughly enjoyed them.

Is it basketball season yet?

This could be a nerve-wracking match with potential swing matches at almost every weight. I haven't watched UNC this season so I can't make a good prediction but I'd love to see Gerardi,, Moore, BC, and Borst solidify their standing.

Joffrey, Cersei, Ilyn Payne, the Hound, Jeff Jagodzinski, Paul Johnson, Pat Narduzzi.

looks like a tough match up

Hokies, Local Soccer, AFC Ajax, Ravens

I think Mitch will win, but agree otherwise. Wouldn't be surprised to see Andonian win, either. UNC kid has typically started slow this year. Will def be close overall. Thanks again for the stellar write-ups!

Andonian would be an an enormous upset but yes, I very much want to see that.

Joffrey, Cersei, Ilyn Payne, the Hound, Jeff Jagodzinski, Paul Johnson, Pat Narduzzi.

I disagree on Mitch. As hokietony pointed out on TSL, M. Moore is 0-6 vs the top 25, according to FloWrestling rankings

If you want level-headed opinions, don't go on a message board or sports forums

I say it's a tossup if mitch can get his offense going he'll win

Frame by Frame
Death by Drowning
In your own, In your own
Analysis
Step by step
Doubt by numbers
In your own, In your own
Analysis

I believe he can do it but you're right- it's "show me" time for Mitch against quality opponents.

Joffrey, Cersei, Ilyn Payne, the Hound, Jeff Jagodzinski, Paul Johnson, Pat Narduzzi.

OT; Dad is a DA

What do you think? I find this illegal because he drove his opponent's head / neck into the mat.
Throws are legal but control must be maintained all the way to the mat. Which he did except his opponent got too high and ended up on his neck. Big mistake by the "throwee".

"Hey Bud, you wont have to hold the opponent to 17 points anymore."

Dad's tackling form is a little lackluster, head wasn't across the body and he didn't wrap up.

In high school, def illegal and the ref called it correctly. Stuff like that happens all the time, the kid that got slammed got his hips above his center of gravity and started to flip, physics took over. It didn't look malicious on the throwee's part, probably just got more pop then he was expecting.

I criticize knowing full well I could never do what these athletes do.

Hokies are going to need some young wrestlers to come out strong to win this one. Being at home and feeding off the energy of the crowd will be a big help.

It's Time to go to Work

I wish I was gonna be there but im gonna be in the Carolina trangle for the next 2 days. But im still gonna watch the match somehow 😃

Frame by Frame
Death by Drowning
In your own, In your own
Analysis
Step by step
Doubt by numbers
In your own, In your own
Analysis

Here's to hoping we get a "just like football" chant AND a "just like basketball chant" out of this one

Whatever. It was one bad year.

Seasonal Brew means High ABV for football season and standard the rest of the year.

Is there OT in wrestling?

No if the match ends in a tie they have tiebreaker criteria to determine the match winner

Frame by Frame
Death by Drowning
In your own, In your own
Analysis
Step by step
Doubt by numbers
In your own, In your own
Analysis

But couldn't the sudden victory period be considered overtime?

Yes in individual matches it considered overtime

Frame by Frame
Death by Drowning
In your own, In your own
Analysis
Step by step
Doubt by numbers
In your own, In your own
Analysis

If you have time, Jason Bryant of MatTalk has a good podcast with Coach Tony Robie who talks about the UNC dual and Brent Moore moving on from wrestling.

Link from TSL

If you want level-headed opinions, don't go on a message board or sports forums

Thanks for the link. Sorry to hear about Brent Moore having to give up his wrestling career. Big moment for Brent this year was his big pin in his home state of highly ranked Ohio State's Sammy Sasso.
Should be a close match tonight and I hope the fans can make a home mat difference for this televised event.

“I'm addicted to placebos. I could quit, but it wouldn't matter”~steven wright

Prata loses. I dislike his style, doesn't score enough to be effective.

I criticize knowing full well I could never do what these athletes do.

Gerardi guts it out despite the ref trying to give it away!

I criticize knowing full well I could never do what these athletes do.

Too close for comfort. I'm still steamed about the Prata loss, some of our wrestlers need to be more clutch. He was the better wrestler the entire time and a loss like this hurts a middle rank grappler when it comes to tournament time

If you want level-headed opinions, don't go on a message board or sports forums

Prata doesn't generate enough offense to wrestle from behind. IMHO he isn't a top 25 wrestler :/

I criticize knowing full well I could never do what these athletes do.

Moore losses to another top 25 opponent. He has got to figure out how to win against quality opponents.

I criticize knowing full well I could never do what these athletes do.

No shot in those 30secs, to me that shows he isnt confident if its not a tie up or body lock. You can't be en elite, title wrestler without a shot

If you want level-headed opinions, don't go on a message board or sports forums

Bryce takes the L, but prevents the major. Need B.C to step up

I criticize knowing full well I could never do what these athletes do.

Its a little victory for us. You can just see how much more buff O'Conner is compared to Bryce

If you want level-headed opinions, don't go on a message board or sports forums

2+ extra years in college will do that for you.

I criticize knowing full well I could never do what these athletes do.

This 157 match (LaPrade) is huge.

Is it basketball season yet?

Does that settle the dual?

Is it basketball season yet?

Not technically, but more than likely.

I criticize knowing full well I could never do what these athletes do.

We can go 4-1 on the back end. Need some bonus points

UNC stalls to a win again. Tech needs to pick up a few bonus points along the way or else this one is in the books. IDK why this team folds against UNC but it's frustrating to watch.

I criticize knowing full well I could never do what these athletes do.

That was a great strategy from Headlee, always ceding ground, but he converted a shot. He wasn't gonna get the second stall since he was the only one to finish a shot.

If you want level-headed opinions, don't go on a message board or sports forums

McFadden super sloppy early, probably not going to take this one.

I criticize knowing full well I could never do what these athletes do.

Wow... This is UGLY

Is it basketball season yet?

Oof

The Orange and Maroon you see, that's fighting on to victory.

Embarrassing

If you want level-headed opinions, don't go on a message board or sports forums

VT just looks so unprepared compared to UNC, Dave got dominated.

I criticize knowing full well I could never do what these athletes do.

Its over sadly 😧

Frame by Frame
Death by Drowning
In your own, In your own
Analysis
Step by step
Doubt by numbers
In your own, In your own
Analysis

UNC very clearly out-scouted Tech. They found each wrestlers hole and exposed it.

I criticize knowing full well I could never do what these athletes do.

Just listening to the announcers, it sounds like they've had some time to prepare.

Is it basketball season yet?

Also, UNC hasn't wrestled in 2 weeks, so not only are they fresh, they had two extra weeks to scout. Not making excuses, elite wrestlers go out and execute, but that would help to explain the disparity we are seeing tonight.

I criticize knowing full well I could never do what these athletes do.

Hot garbage. Wow. Something to grow from, hopefully.

No kidding, #3 wrestler gets tech falled... I've never seen anything like that in the sport.

Just embarrassing

This has been embarrassing. Hopefully they learn from this and are resolute in not getting their asses handed to them again.

I criticize knowing full well I could never do what these athletes do.

Why can't we have nice things?

I was actually thinking about running up to see this. Glad I didn't waste time on this.

"Hey Bud, you wont have to hold the opponent to 17 points anymore."