Accordino and Nevinger Notch Victories, Discuss the Experience at the Adam Frey Classic

Justin Accordino at NCAAs 2012, Photo by Boris Veysman

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.

Mike Nevinger vs. Adam Krop at NCAAs, Photo by Boris Veysman

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)

Top Talent Comes Together for Fourth Annual Adam Frey Classic On Sunday

Adam Frey

It’s hard not to be excited about the Adam Frey Classic this year.  Just ask Penn State National Champion Ed Ruth.

According to Adam Frey Foundation Board Member Josh Liebman, Ruth was in the middle of a special family occasion when he was contacted about the event.

“Ed had a lot going on, but he called back right away and said he definitely wanted to do it,”  Liebman said. “It was on his mind enough that he couldn’t wait until the next day to call.”

In the fourth annual event for the Adam Frey Foundation, Ruth will square off against Lehigh’s two-time All-American Robert Hamlin in the feature bout in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

“We were trying to think of matchups that would be really exciting for wrestling fans and we knew [Hamlin] would be involved,” Liebman said. “He and his family have been really supportive of the Foundation and with the event being at Lehigh this year, it was a great fit.”

Ruth has posted first and third place finishes at NCAAs, while Hamlin has taken second and fourth.

After holding the first three Adam Frey Classics at Rider, Liebman is excited for the new location at Grace Hall on Lehigh’s campus.

“So far, it’s been nothing but great,” he said. “Everyone has been very supportive and interested in being part of the event and helping it grow.  The sports marketing staff has helped out and the coaches have too. I really wanted to get Pennsylvania involved since Adam was from there.  It’s like he’ll be closer to home, at least for a year.”

Besides the new arena, another addition in 2012 is a match of high school stars with the top rising junior in the country, Chance Marstellar, taking on New Jersey state champion Johnny Sebastian.

“We’ve never done a high school vs. high school match before,” Liebman said. “Last year, because of an injury, [Blair Academy’s] Brooks Black stepped in to wrestle Zach Rey.  But this year, Marstellar really wanted to be a part of it.  The college kids weren’t in a hurry to wrestle him, but [Sebastian] was excited.  He loves to test himself.  I expect Johnny to start next season ranked in the top 5 or 10 at his weight, so I think it’s a premiere matchup.”

It’s one of many bouts Liebman is looking forward to viewing.  (The full lineup is listed below). He believes the tilt between 141 pound All-Americans Boris Novachkov (Cal Poly) and Perry, NY native Mike Nevinger (Cornell) will be one to watch.

“That match may not jump out at people, but I can’t wait for it,” Liebman said. “They’re both so tough on top and a little funky on their feet.  I think it could steal the show.”

While heavyweight battles aren’t typically the most entertaining affairs, Liebman is anticipating 2012 All-American Nick Gwiazdowski’s meeting with former Pittsburgh Panther Ryan Tomei. He predicts good action and “not a lot of the hanging on you often see at heavy.”

Liebman added that having Gwiazdowski, a former star at Duanesburg High, in the event is exciting for another reason.  When he was a senior in high school, the recent NC State transfer participated in the New York-New Jersey Charity Challenge, which benefitted the Adam Frey Foundation.  In fact, Gwiazdowski’s pin sealed the victory for the Empire State.

“It’s something I’d like to have on a regular basis — having guys be a part of an event in high school and staying involved with our organization in college.  It feels like watching guys grow up through your peewee program,” Liebman said. “That’s what’s great about the wrestling community.  Everyone, even if they didn’t know Adam personally, wants to know his story and get involved.”

Adam Frey’s alma mater, Blair Academy, has been very involved from the start.  This year, the event will be set up as a dual meet between Blair and Angry Fish with several alums of those squads coaching and competing.  As a bonus, Monroe Woodbury’s Vinny Vespa, who is fighting Stage 4 cancer, may serve as an honorary coach.

Nevinger and Gwiazdowski won’t be the only representatives from the Empire State.  All-American Justin Accordino of Hofstra will take the mat, as will John Jay graduate Billy Watterson (Brown), Brockport native Christian Boley, Columbia’s Jake O’Hara, Cornell’s Caleb Richardson and Binghamton’s Pat Hunter and Cody Reed.  In addition, Beat the Streets (BTS) wrestlers from New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore will participate in exhibition bouts between 1 and 2 p.m. before the main event begins.

“I’m really excited about having BTS,” Liebman said. “It’s a chance for kids to get outside the city.  One of the important parts of the BTS program is for kids to strive for a college education, even if it’s outside of wrestling.  This is a great chance for the kids to visit a college campus and see that it’s something they may want.”

What Liebman wants is to fill Grace Hall as close to capacity as possible.  He wants the wrestling community to come together to support the Foundation and celebrate Adam Frey’s life.

“In the past, our events have had a fun atmosphere,” he said. “Top talent comes but since it’s not a pressure situation, the guys go out there and relax and wrestle.  It’s more open, more fun. It quickly becomes a feeling of reunion rather than a somber event where we’re memorializing Adam.  Adam wouldn’t have wanted that; he wouldn’t want a moment of silence.  He’d rather have everyone having a good time.”

Exhibition Matches 1-2 p.m. – Beat the Streets New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore

Main Event Matches, Beginning at 2 p.m.

Chuck Zeisloft (Rider) vs. Billy Watterson (Brown)

Nic Bedelyon (Kent State) vs. Steve Mytych (Drexel)

Mike Nevinger (Cornell) vs. Boris Novachkov (Cal Poly)

Tyler Small (Kent State) vs. Vinnie Fava (Rider)

Caleb Richardson (Cornell) vs. Pat Hunter (Binghamton)

BJ Young (Newberry) vs. CJ Cobb (UPenn)

Justin Accordino (Hofstra) vs. Jake O’Hara (Columbia)

James Fleming (Clarion) vs. Joey Napoli (Lehigh)

Ian Miller (Kent State) vs. Shane Welch (Lehigh)

Chance Marsteller vs. Johnny Sebastian*

Bekzod Abduakhmanov (Clarion) vs. Josh Asper (Maryland)

Nathaniel Brown (Lehigh) vs. Jimmy Resnick (Rider)

Jimmy Sheptock (Maryland) vs. Ricky McDonald (Brown)

Christian Boley (Maryland) vs. Andrew Campolattano (Ohio State)

Nick Gwiazdowski (NC State) vs. Ryan Tomei (Pitt/ OTC)

Max Wessell (Lehigh) vs. Cody Reed (Binghamton)

Robert Hamlin (Lehigh) vs. Ed Ruth (Penn State)**

*High School match

**Featured bout

***Match-ups provided by Josh Liebman

To purchase tickets in advance: http://ev6.evenue.net/cgi-bin/ncommerce3/SEGetEventList?groupCode=S&linkID=global-lehigh&shopperContev6.evenue.net

For more information, please visit adamfrey.us