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#4 PackWrestle: New Rankings & Virginia Preview

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Andy Mead/ACC

New Rankings

NC State (9-1, 2-0) moved up to #4 in this week’s NWCA Coaches Poll. Previously #3-ranked Oklahoma State fell out of the top-5 after losing two duals last weekend. They were without their reigning NCAA Champion, 197-pounder AJ Ferrari after he was involved in a scary car crash. Miraculously, he suffered non-life-threatening injuries and there seems to be some hope that he can return this season. It goes without saying that Ferrari’s absence is a big blow for the Cowboys, and despite the awful circumstances, other trophy-contending teams such as NC State stand to benefit from his unfortunate sabbatical if it continues into March.

A new week means a new set of individual rankings from Intermat. Check out where our guys sit below:

  • 125: Camacho #14 (previous: 15)
  • 133: Orine #15 (17)
  • 141: Jack #24 (24)
  • 149: T. Wilson #3 (3)
  • 157: Scott #10 (10)
  • 165: Bullard #21 (22)
  • 174: H. Hidlay #4 (4)
  • 184: T. Hidlay #3 (3)
  • 197: Trumble #20 (20)
  • 285: Houghton #26 (NR)

What really stands out to me is Jakob Camacho staying so low this late into the season. Even in such a loaded weight class, he still feels like a top-10 guy to me. Jakob is getting hit hard for his loss to #18 Noah Surtin at the Collegiate Duals. His only other loss is to 3-time NCAA Champion and former #1, Spencer Lee prior to his announcement to sit the remainder of the year. The problem is he doesn’t have the wins to justify a move up the rankings. Most frustrating of all, is that Jakob continues to show up for his resume-building matchups, but seems to always get ducked. He had #5 Killian Cardinale and #2 Pat Glory on his schedule, but they both sat out of our duals. A win over either of those guys likely has Camacho sitting in the top-10 right now. And despite Latona’s struggles this season, he would have still represented Camacho’s biggest win of the year, but Virginia Tech decided to no-show two weeks ago. The season is waning and so are Jakob’s opportunities to notch ranked wins. With the reschedule of the VT dual, Jakob will likely get two shots at Latona and he needs to make the most of them. Otherwise, we could see him get a really poor seed for NCAAs.

Virginia Dual

How to Watch: ACC Network Extra

Wrestling Rules & Scoring

The Virginia Cavaliers (3-4, 0-2) come to Reynolds Coliseum on Friday night seeking their first conference win of the year and their first win in this series since the 2013-2014 season. Despite the one-sided nature of this matchup in recent years, UVA is always a tough out. And I don’t expect this one to be any different. The final team result may be lopsided at the end of the day, but individually, each of our guys has a challenge ahead of them.

Projected lineups and my predictions are below:

  • 125: #14 Jakob Camacho vs. Pat McCormick (Camacho major; 4-0 NCSU)
  • 133: #15 Kai Orine vs. #22 Brian Courtney (Courtney decision; 4-3 NCSU)
  • 141: #24 Ryan Jack vs. Dylan Cedeno (Jack decision; 7-3 NCSU)
  • 149: #3 Tariq Wilson vs. #30 Jarod Verkleeren (Wilson decision; 10-3 NCSU)
  • 157: #10 Ed Scott vs. #29 Jake Keating (Scott major; 14-3 NCSU)
  • 165: #21 Thomas Bullard vs. #17 Justin McCoy (Bullard decision; 17-3 NCSU)
  • 174: #4 Hayden Hidlay vs. Justin Phillips (Hidlay major; 21-3 NCSU)
  • 184: #3 Trent Hidlay vs. #25 Michael Battista (Hidlay major; 25-3 NCSU)
  • 197: #20 Isaac Trumble vs. #13 Jay Aiello (Aiello decision; 25-6 NCSU)
  • 285: #26 Tyrie Houghton vs. #31 Quinn Miller (Houghton decision; 28-6 NCSU)

Key Matchups

#15 Kai Orine vs. #22 Brian Courtney

This is perhaps my most anticipated matchup of the night. We’ve yet to really see Orine tested this year. He’s either breezed through his competition or he’s run into the buzzsaw that is Austin DeSanto. Neither really give me an indication of where he’s at in the national landscape, but this one will. Courtney is down a weight from last year where he was always a problem for Tariq with his high motor. This is the sole reason I think he has the edge over Kai right now - Orine tends to gas a little bit late in matches, and against Courtney that is a recipe for disaster. Even if his conditioning holds up, I have no idea how his skills will matchup against a guy like Courtney. I am really eager to find out. This will finally let us know what we have at 133.

#21 Thomas Bullard vs. #17 Justin McCoy

This is likely a match that will determine who gets a bye in the first round of the ACC tournament. You have to figure 2-time reigning ACC Champion Wentzel sits at the top, but these two are also vying for that conference title this year. And it should be an intriguing matchup. McCoy is undefeated and up a weight from last year where he held Hayden to a 6-3 decision in the dual. His length was an issue for HH and could present problems for Thomas on Friday as well. Overall, I think Bullard has more ways to win this one and he gets it done. Considering Thomas’ record against Wentzel, a victory here could really set him up nicely for an ACC title run and favorable seeding at NCAAs. This one is very important.

#20 Isaac Trumble vs. #13 Jay Aiello

This is the one ACC opponent we didn’t get to see Trumble matchup with last year. He hadn’t yet impressed with his top-5 win over Bonaccorsi, so Nick Reenan was still the starter at 197 for the Virginia dual. However, we should get to see it on Friday, and I’m very curious to see how it shakes out. As we know, Trumble’s style gives him a chance in just about any match. He is tough to takedown, usually has little to no issues getting away on bottom, and can be dominant from top. He also has big move potential from his feet with his upper-body locks. His main (and obvious) deficiency is that he struggles to generate solid leg attacks. Aiello is similar in that he is good on the mat, but he is a much more decorated leg attacker than Isaac. This match will come down to who wins the battle when Aiello shoots: can the Cavalier finish on Trumble or will he get stuck underneath Isaac’s flattening sprawl? I get the feeling Aiello will get one early and from there Trumble will be left chasing, which doesn’t play into his strengths. Regardless, this is one to watch.

Check-out Coach’s preview above. He also gets into the behind-the-scenes of the Virginia Tech forfeit a little bit. And the second half is a very refreshing and lighthearted discussion with Hayden Hidlay. It’s been a while since we’ve heard from him on one of these.

Action starts at 7PM in Reynolds on Friday evening. I hope to see you all there. Go Pack!