Prior to the fourth annual Adam Frey Classic on Sunday, organizer Josh Liebman (see video below) said he wanted the atmosphere at Grace Hall on the campus of Lehigh to resemble a reunion. For Hofstra’s Justin Accordino, it was exactly that.
The 149-pound All-American was thrilled to be able to participate in the event, which benefits the Adam Frey Foundation, especially since he and Frey wrestled together years ago.
“I knew Adam pretty well,” Accordino said. “We were on a couple of national teams together. It was meaningful for me to be part of the event to support the Foundation. I was also happy to see Adam’s parents and his brother because I’ve known them for a long time.”
In addition to catching up with the Freys, Accordino got to spend time with longtime friend Jake O’Hara of Columbia – including five minutes on the mat.
The former youth teammates faced off in one of the 17 main event matches, with Accordino earning a 5-3 victory on the strength of takedowns in the first and third periods.
“We’re pretty good friends,” Accordino said of his opponent. “He’s a tough kid and even though we were on the same elementary school team I think it’s the first time we wrestled in a match. I think all the guys just wanted to go out and give the crowd a good show. It was an exhibition match so it was a chance to wrestle and have some fun.”
Accordino had fun taking in the action throughout the afternoon, including viewing the 8-2 victory of Penn State NCAA champion Ed Ruth over Lehigh’s Robert Hamlin in the feature bout.
“It was great watching Ed Ruth. He’s such a technical wrestler and he looked really good,” Accordino said. “He’s also a kid I’ve known for a while from Pennsylvania. It was a great chance for me to see so many people I haven’t seen in a while.”
Ruth, Hamlin and Accordino were among the nine All-Americans who took the mat on Sunday. In a matchup of two 141-pound medalists from the 2012 NCAAs, New York native Mike Nevinger squared off against Cal Poly’s Boris Novachkov, who finished in the top three at nationals twice.
After battling to a 2-2 deadlock in regulation, Nevinger notched the only takedown of the bout in overtime to capture a 4-2 victory.
“There were some good scrambles,” Nevinger said. “It was an exhibition, but I like opportunities to compete against the best guys. It was great to get a competitive match in the offseason and I’m obviously happy with the win.”
Nevinger was also pleased to get an invite to the event, and while he said he didn’t know Frey personally, he felt a connection with the former Big Red wrestler.
“It was a lot of fun for a good cause,” Nevinger said. “I was really happy to be there to represent Cornell.”
As the only Big Red grappler taking part in the festivities on Sunday, Nevinger had some fun with the crowd, which included a large number of Lehigh and Penn State supporters.
“It was pretty funny when the fans were asking me what the big ‘C’ on my shirt stood for,” he said. “There were some jokes thrown my way, all in good fun.”
When asked about the match that stood out, both Accordino and Nevinger cited the 11-9 overtime tilt won by Kent State’s Ian Miller over Lehigh’s Shane Welsh.
“They both had some throws and there was a lot of action all the way through. It was great to watch,” Nevinger said.
“There were lots of big moves,” Accordino added. “That match was really entertaining.”
For Liebman, bringing entertainment to the spectators was one of the main goals of the day.
“It was important to Adam when we were setting [the Foundation] up to not only do successful fundraisers but to put on a great wrestling events that promote the sport and do it the right way. There was a great crowd, great matches. I was proud to be a part of it.”
To find out more about the Adam Frey Foundation, visit adamfrey.us
Watch Josh Liebman discuss the 2012 Adam Frey Classic:
Results (Wrestlers with NY Ties in Bold)
Chuck Zeisloft (Rider) over Billy Watterson (Brown, John Jay HS)
Vinny Fava (Rider) over Tyler Small (Kent State)
Ian Miller (Kent State) over Shane Welsh (Lehigh)
Mark McKnight (Buffalo/Penn State) over Patrick Hunter (Binghamton)
Justin Accordino (Hofstra) over Jake O’Hara (Columbia)
Joey Napoli (Lehigh) over Lorenzo Thomas (Penn)
BJ Young (Newberry) over CJ Cobb (Penn)
Chance Marstellar (Kennard Dale HS) over Johnny Sebastian (Bergen Catholic HS)
Steve Mytych (Drexel) over Nic Bedelyon (Kent State)
Mike Nevinger (Cornell, Letchworth Central HS) over Boris Novachkov (Cal Poly)
Josh Asper (Maryland) over Nestor Taffor (Boston)
Jim Resnick (Rider) over Nate Brown (Lehigh)
Jimmy Sheptock (Maryland) over Ricky McDonald (Brown)
Andrew Campolattano (Ohio St.) over Christian Boley (Maryland, Brockport HS)
Ryan Tomei (Pitt) over Nick Gwiazdowski (NC State, Duanesburg HS)
Max Wessell (Lehigh) over Cody Reed (Binghamton, Walton HS)
Ed Ruth (Penn State) over Robert Hamlin (Lehigh)