Northeast Duals Preview – What to Watch for As Cornell, Hofstra, Columbia, Binghamton and Army Take the Mat

Five of the six Division I New York teams will compete at the Northeast Duals on Saturday in Troy.  The following provides a preview for each team, including matches to keep an eye on during the event.

Cornell: vs Drexel, Central Michigan and Oklahoma

The Big Red opened with a convincing 30-7 victory over Binghamton without starters Nick Arujau, Chris Villalonga, Craig Eifert/Jesse Shanaman and Steve Bosak.   Arujau and Villalonga are expected back for what should be strong tests, especially from the Chippewas and the Sooners.  It will be the first time Drexel head coach Matt Azevedo faces Cornell, where he was an assistant before taking over the Dragons program.

Matches to Watch:

#9 Nahshon Garrett vs. Christian Cullinan/Joe Roth (Central Michigan) – Garrett entered the 125-pound rankings this week after getting off to a 10-0 start with titles at the Binghamton Open and the New York States.  After defeating #10 Steve Bonanno in his last match, he’ll face either Cullinan, who has a quality win over Sean Boyle of Michigan this season or #12 Roth, who was a mainstay in the national rankings last season.

#12 Nick Arujau vs. #2 Scotti Sentes (Central Michigan) and #13 Cody Brewer (Oklahoma) – After missing a weekend of action, Arujau won’t be able to ease his way back into the lineup as he has a pair of acclaimed foes to battle – an experienced multiple-time All-American in Sentes and a highly touted freshman in Brewer.

Mike Nevinger, Photo by BV

#9 Mike Nevinger vs. #1 Kendric Maple (Oklahoma) – The seventh and fourth place finishers at last year’s NCAA met in the second round in St. Louis with Maple coming away with the victory.  After a solid run last weekend at the New York States we’ll see what adjustments Nevinger has made for his second bout with the nation’s top ranked grappler.

Chris Villalonga vs. #8 Nick Lester (Oklahoma) – Villalonga won his first two bouts of the year before defaulting out of the Binghamton Open.   He will get his first major test of the campaign when he takes on the Oklahoma All-American who is stellar on top.

#1 Kyle Dake vs. #12 Joe Booth (Drexel), #18 Mike Ottinger (Central Michigan) and #7 Bubby Graham (Oklahoma) – Booth may not be in the lineup, but if he is Dake will be the only Big Red wrestler scheduled to meet three ranked opponents. With the Ithaca native in his last year of college competition, every one of his matches is “one to watch”, that is, if you like viewing one of the greats.

#2 Steve Bosak vs. #5 Ben Bennett would be a headliner, but it won’t take place with the 2012 184-pound NCAA champion unlikely to be back on the mat.  In Bosak’s place, freshman Craig Scott has been very effective.  How will he fare against the multi-time All-American Bennett?

Jace Bennett vs. #19 Brandon Palik (Drexel) – Bennett was totally dominant at the New York States last Saturday, with three pins and a major.  He’ll look to keep things going against a wrestler considered to be among the top 20 nationally.


Hofstra: vs. Bloomsburg, Oklahoma, Central Michigan and Purdue

Hofstra has already faced two top 25 teams in road duals and the Pride will match up against another three ranked teams – Oklahoma, Central Michigan and Purdue on Saturday as they look for their first victory of the season.  A talented Bloomsburg squad is also on the docket for this weekend.

Matches to Watch:

Steve Bonanno, Photo by BV

#10 Steve Bonanno vs. Christian Cullinan/Joe Roth and #19 Camden Eppert (Purdue) – Bonanno has faced a challenging early slate with Minnesota’s David Thorn and Cornell’s Garrett.  Cullinan/Roth and Eppert will provide additional tough battles.

#17 Jamie Franco vs #2 Scotti Sentes (Central Michigan), #13 Cody Brewer (Oklahoma) and #8 Cashe Quiroga (Purdue) – There’s no rest for Franco after taking third at the New York States.  He’ll have a great opportunity to wrestle some of the nation’s top competitors and move up higher in the top 20.  His fourth opponent, New York native Nick Wilcox of Bloomsburg, isn’t in the Intermat rankings, but is #20 according to Amateur Wrestling News.

#10 Luke Vaith vs. #1 Kendric Maple (Oklahoma) and Brandon Nelsen (Purdue) – Vaith has looked tough this season, defeating Nick Dardanes of Minnesota and losing squeakers to returning All-Americans Tyler Graff and Mike Nevinger.  He’ll get another medalist in the nation’s #1 141-pounder, Maple, and the solid Brandon Nelsen.

Justin Accordino hasn’t taken the mat yet this season but if he does, he’ll be welcomed back by #8 Nick Lester of the Sooners, #14 Ivan Lopouchanski of Purdue and Bloomsburg’s Josh Roosa.

Paul Snyder vs. #4 Jarod Trice (Central Michigan) and #17 Justin Grant (Bloomsburg) – Snyder won the New York State crown last weekend and will look to carry that momentum to Troy.  Grant recently cracked the top 20, while Trice is a top 5 heavyweight nationally.


Binghamton vs. Army, Rutgers and Illinois 

Binghamton opened the campaign with duals against EIWA squads Lehigh and Cornell.  The Bearcats are looking to earn first-year head coach Matt Dernlan’s initial victory when they take on two other EIWA foes –  Rutgers and Army – as well as the Big 10’s Illinois.

Matches to Watch:

Joe Bonaldi vs. #3 BJ Futrell (Illinois) and Trevor Melde (Rutgers) – Bonaldi broke into the rankings during the Binghamton Open when he topped a number of heralded wrestlers on his way to first place.  It is unclear whether he will take the mat after sitting out last week with an injury, but if he does, he will face tough tests in All-American Futrell and Melde.

#4 Donnie Vinson vs. #20 Daniel Young (Army) and Mario Mason (Rutgers) – Young made some noise early in the campaign when he defeated returning NCAA fourth place finisher Cam Tessari of Ohio State.  Vinson looked on last weekend as Young took second at the New York States.  This week, the Bearcat 149-pounder will have his chance against the Army wrestler and against the talented Scarlet Knight Mason.

Cody Reed vs. Collin Wittmeyer (Army), #13 Dan Rinaldi (Rutgers) and #11 Tony Dallago (Illinois) – There will be an air of familiarity in Reed’s first bout, as he’ll take on Wittmeyer.  The two wrestled for third place at the New York States last weekend, with the Army grappler taking the bronze. They’ll compete again in Round 1 before Reed faces top 15 competitors Rinaldi and Dallago.

#7 Nate Schiedel vs. #6 Mario Gonzalez (Illinois) – Schiedel’s transition to 197 pounds has been smooth so far, as he sports a 6-0 mark with a victory over All-American Micah Burak of Penn.  This should be another good one between two strong podium contenders for 2012-13.


Army vs. Purdue, Binghamton and Rutgers

The Black Knights have been busy in the early season with the Buffalo Invitational, Brockport/Oklahoma Gold and the New York States, but they will participate in their first duals this weekend against Purdue, Binghamton and Rutgers.

Matches to Watch:

Injuries have left some interesting matches in doubt.  Jordan Thome, who won a pair of bouts at the NCAA tournament last year, could get a shot at former All-American Cashe Quiroga of Purdue.  However, Thome defaulted out of the New York States due to injury and doesn’t list him as the starter.

As discussed above, Joe Bonaldi missed last weekend’s action for Binghamton, but if he returns to the mat, he’ll have a meeting with Connor Hanafee, who has placed fourth and fifth at the Oklahoma Gold and New York States, respectively.  Hanafee will be busy with tough matches as he’s also set to face Brandon Nelsen of Purdue and Trevor Melde of Rutgers.

The match between #20 Daniel Young and #4 Donnie Vinson was discussed above, but Young will get another challenge from a ranked grappler – #14 Ivan Lopouchanski of Purdue.  Also already mentioned in the Binghamton section was the match between Collin Wittmeyer and Cody Reed.  In addition to Reed, Wittmeyer should see Scarlet Knight Dan Rinaldi, currently 13th nationally.

If Coleman Gracey makes his debut at 174 pounds, he’ll take on Greg Zannetti of Rutgers, currently #11 according to Intermat.

Freshman Bryce Barnes has already faced top 10 foes in his rookie campaign – dropping close decisions to Ohio State’s Andrew Campolattano and Maryland’s Christian Boley. He’ll see how he measures up against #7 Schiedel and Purdue’s NCAA qualifier Braden Atwood, currently ranked 18th.


Columbia vs. Maryland, Rutgers and Drexel

The Lions had strong performances at the MSU Open and the New York States, with a trio of wrestlers – Steve Santos, Jake O’Hara and Stephen West earning titles at both events.  They’ll seek to keep their undefeated streaks going against some solid competition.

Matches to Watch:

#15 Steve Santos vs. Mario Mason (Rutgers) Mason isn’t in the current rankings but has been in the top 5 in the past and was one of the nation’s top recruits when he was at Blair Academy.  Santos handed Mason a loss a few years ago and will look to do so again.

Jake O'Hara, Photo by BV

#13 Jake O’Hara vs. #9 Scott Winston (Rutgers) – O’Hara is unbeaten in his eight bouts.  In comes Winston, who has risen to ninth in the country.  Who will keep their undefeated run alive?

#18 Stephen West vs. #11 Greg Zannetti (Rutgers) and #3 Josh Asper (Maryland) – West is 9-0. A good weekend against two highly touted wrestlers will certainly move him up further in the national picture.

Nick Mills vs. #10 Christian Boley (Maryland) and #19 Brandon Palik (Drexel) – Mills earned silver at the New York States and will look to continue his improved wrestling against two experienced and ranked foes.


***Individual rankings from Intermat


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