If you love wrestling tournaments, then this past Sunday was for you. Whether it was folkstyle or freestyle, top-notch competition was packed into various venues around the country.
Wrestling fans got to watch the infamous Bill Farrell Memorial early into the weekend, which flowed into a Sunday of six different collegiate tournaments. There were great matches and battles between some of the best wrestlers in the nation, but none better than the showdown between Trent Hidlay and Georgia’s world silver medalist Avtandil Kentchadze.
With a slate nearly impossible to follow and keep track of, This Week In Wrestling covers all of the most important news, upsets, and results that you may have missed in a wild opening start to the NCAA Wrestling season.
HIDLAY’S HEROIC SUNDAY
The 2023 Bill Farrell Memorial had it all. With names like Spencer Lee, Jason Nolf, and Alex Dieringer all competing in the memorial, NC State’s Trent Hidlay made a huge statement that was louder than anyone’s this past weekend.
To track Hidlay’s weekend, you have to start with Thursday night as NC State traveled to West Point for a dual with Army. Hidlay made quick work of his Thursday night, winning by fall in NC State’s 34-6 victory.
Just two days later, Hidlay departed from the Wolfpack to compete in the Bill Farrell Memorial hosted in New York City. Hidlay found himself as the #3 seed in a stacked 86kg bracket, and had to go through a world medalist and 3x NCAA Champion to earn his gold medal.
In the semi-finals, Hidlay matched up with Georgia’s world medalist Avtandil Kentchadze. Although Kentchadze was up a weight class, the two produced one of the best matches I have seen in some time. It was back and forth the entire six minutes, Kentchadze took an early lead with a takedown and a couple push outs, but that wouldn’t stop Hidlay.
Hidlay kept working his offense through his underhook, and took Kentchadze to his back for four points before using a leg lace for another two on the edge of the mat. With his back against the wall, Kentchadze showed the fans in attendance why he is a world silver medalist.
Kentchadze rattled off three straight takedowns to take a 10-9 lead with :40 seconds to go. Kentchadze stayed on the offense with short time, but it took a turn for the worse when Hidlay was able to get behind Kentchadze from a single leg, and launched Kentchadze to his back for four points as time expired.
An absolute war between the two set up a finals bout between Hidlay and Alex Dieringer, where Hidlay would stay hot and edge Dieringer by a close 2-1 score for the gold medal.
As the Bill Farrell Memorial and a few dual meets kicked off the third week of the season, Sunday ensued with multiple tournaments going on at once.
Of the six, the Black Knight Invitational, the Keystone Classic, and the Navy Classic hosted the top teams in the country: Here’s how it played out.
Black Knight Invitational:
Army would win the team title at the Black Knight Invitational with five runner-ups, but Penn State had five Nittany Lions who left the tournament with a gold medal.
Of those five, true freshman Braeden Davis shined in the 125-pound bracket. Davis shared the bracket with two other Penn State 125-pounders in Gary Steen and Robbie Howard, and defeated Ethan Berginc in the finals by score of 5-1.
Davis should have bolstered his starting job for Penn State, especially after defeating both of the wrestlers who beat Robbie Howard on Sunday.
Vinnie Zerban of Northern Colorado would win the OW award, which comes after he beat Michigan State’s #11 Chase Saldate in the finals 9-5.
Hosted in Philadelphia, the home team Quakers would take the title with four champions at the Keystone Classic.
Penn’s true freshman Max Gallagher impressed the most. Gallagher first beat Indiana’s Michael Spangler, then knocked off Virginia Tech’s #18 Eddie Vantresca in the semifinals, and finished his Sunday with a gold medal after beating teammate Ryan Miller, 4-1.
Held in the McDonogh School in Owings Mills, Maryland, the Nebraska Cornhuskers dominated with six champions and nine in the finals.
However, the biggest news coming out of the Navy Classic was Princeton’s #15 Luke Stout, who defeated Nebraska’s returning Big 10 Champion and #6 Silas Allred by a score of 4-1.
Upsets usually tend to happen the most early-on to the season, and there have been quite a few so far.
All of these guys deserve some recognition, so here are the biggest upsets that were recorded this weekend:
#20 Sam Fisher (VT) over #9 Brian Soldano (RU), 10-9
Rafael Hipolito Jr (VT) over #22 Anthony White (RU), 13-7
James Conway (F&M) over #20 Sam Fisher (VT), 8-5 SV
Gabe Arnold (IOWA) over #9 Travis Whittlake (OSU), 4-1
#26 Brandon Kaylor (OSU) over #10 Drake Ayala (IOWA), 7-6
#17 Kysen Terukina (ISU) over #5 Eric Barnett (WIS), 14-3
Casey Swiderski (ISU) over #14 Joseph Zargo (WIS), 9-4
#32 DJ McGee (GMU) over #8 Michael Blockhus (MINN), 4-2
*Ryan Crookham (LU) over #15 Vince Santaniello (PITT), 11-2
Pittsburgh @ Maryland, 11/20
Iowa @ Iowa State, 11/26
South Dakota State @ Minnesota, 11/26
Mat-Town Open (Lock Haven), 11/26