We will have some exciting matches at our wrestle-offs this Saturday. Doors will open to the public at about 11:45AM on Saturday. Before I get in the wrestle-off preview, I want to mention that the guys not wrestling off are planned redshirts this year. Some of them may end up not redshirting and some of the guys that are wrestling off may redshirt but that final determination has not yet been made.
125 - This is the only weight class that will feature two matches at our wrestle-offs. Mike Sardo and Brian St. James will wrestle to determine who will compete against Derek Steeley for the starting spot. Sardo, a true freshman, was a two-time New York State Qualifier and 6th place finisher in high school. St. James is a redshirt freshman who transferred from Indiana University after redshirting there last year. He placed 5th at the Eastern Michigan Open last season in limited action and was an two-time state champion and three-time state finalist in high school. Steeley is the returning starter at this weight class. He came to BU in the spring semester last year from Neosho Junior College. He finished in the top 12 at the NJCAA (junior college) National Championships as a true freshman. He went 21-14 overall last year and took 4th in the CAA.
133 - Tyler Pendergast and Patrick Hunter will battle for the starting spot at 133 pounds. Pendergast is a true freshman who was 6th at NHSCA Senior Nationals and a three-time Delaware State Champion. Hunter is a redshirt junior. He won the NJCAA National Title as a true freshman at Iowa Central Community College in 2009. He redshirted in the 2009-2010 season and then was the starter at Iowa State in 2010-2011, where he went 4-7 in limited action. He is moving up to 133 this year as he wrestled at 125 pounds each of his previous years.
141 - This should be a great match between two promising true freshmen. Derek Heyman and Joe Bonaldi both enter BU with great accomplishments. Heyman was a top-150 recruit last year, as well as a two-time New York State Champion, and four-time NHSCA All-American. Bonaldi placed 3rd and 4th in the state tournament in New York and qualified three times to the state tournament.
149 - This is a weight class in which both of the wrestlers competing have collegiate experience. Donnie Vinson is the returning starter. He is ranked in the top 10 in the country in virtually every poll. He is a two-time National Qualifier, two-time CAA Runner-Up, placed 8th at the University World Greco Championships, and had a record of 26-6 last year. Joe Chamish is coming off a redshirt and is a redshirt freshman. He has made big gains in the last year and is in the best shape of his life after wrestling at 157 and 165 last year, where he won ten matches.
157 - Justin Lister returns to 157 pounds after wrestling the second half of last season at 165 pounds. Lister is a returning All-American (4th in 2010), 2X CAA Champion, 2X National Qualifier, and finished last year with a 23-8 record. He is ranked in the top ten in the country. He will be challenged by Angelo Bortoluzzi, a true freshman. Bortoluzzi placed 4th at the National Prep Championships, won the Clinch Gear Prep Slam, and placed 5th at the Beast of the East last year.
165 - Matt Kaylor will be challenged by true freshman Adam Morris. Kaylor is a nationally ranked, two-time national qualifier. He won the CAA Championships this past season and finished the year with a 28-11 record. Morris placed 5th at the National Prep Championships, 3rd at the Cheesehead Tournament twice, and third and second in the Pennsylvania Prep State Championships.
174 - This weight class should prove to be a great battle between two very hard workers. John Paris is the reigning CAA Rookie of the Year after finishing 2nd at the CAA Championships at 197 last season. He is down to a more natural weight this year and is looking to improve upon his 20-12 record from a year ago. Caleb Wallace is a redshirt freshman who won the New York State Collegiate Championship and finished the year with an 11-6 record. Both of these guys will see a lot of action this year in the BU line-up.
184 - Nate Schiedel will start again at 184 pounds. He is nationally ranked, two-time national qualifier, CAA Champion, and two-time CAA finalist. He won both the Penn State Open and the New York State Collegiate Championships last season. Schiedel finished the year with a 32-9 record and lead the team in both wins and pins. He will not have a wrestle-off this weekend.
197 - Cody Reed is a returning starter that split time between 197 and heavyweight last year. He finished the year with a 22-14 record and landed a spot on the CAA All-Freshman Team after placing 1st at the New York State Collegiate, 3rd at the BU Open, and 6th at the body Bar Tournament. Tyler Deuel will challenge Reed for the starting spot. He is a true freshman who finished in the top 12 at the NHSCA Senior Nationals. He also placed 3rd in New York State with a 44-1 record and 40 pins.
Hwt - True freshman, Nick Gwiazdowski, will start at heavyweight. Gwiazdowski was undefeated his senior year and did not have a match go the distance (including the off-season). He pinned his way through both New York State and the NHSCA Senior Nationals. He also won the FloNational Championship. Mike McKeever will bump-up to heavyweight for the wrestle-offs and wrestle Gwiazdowski. Watch for McKeever to compete at 197 pounds once the season starts. McKeever is a seasoned veteran of the BU Wrestling program (redshirt junior). He competed in ten matches last season.
Dan Riggi (redshirt sophomore) will coach the black team, while Nate Schiedel (redshirt junior) will coach the grey team. Here are the line-ups and order for Saturday's wrestle-offs.
Match #1 (125) - Sardo (black) vs. St. James (grey)
Match #2 (133) - Hunter (black) vs Pendergast (grey)
Match #3 (141) - Bonaldi (black) vs Heyman (grey)
Match #4 (149) - Chamish (black) vs Vinson (grey)
Match #5 (157) - Lister (black) vs Bortoluzzi (grey)
Match #6 (165) - Morris (black) vs Kaylor (grey)
Match #7 (174) - Wallace (black) vs Paris (grey)
Match #8 (197) - Reed (black) vs Deuel (grey)
Match #9 (HWT) - Gwiazdowski (black) vs McKeever (grey)
Match #10 (125) - Winner of Sardo/St. James (black) vs Steeley (grey)
Another important note, Mark Morris of PAWR (www.pawrvideo.com) will be filming the wrestle-offs and you will be able to view them for free on his website.