We are just over 24 hours away from the Bearcats' season opener at West Gym! The excitement kicks off at 4pm tomorrow vs. George Mason. If you are unable to attend the matches, make sure you check out Facebook and Twitter, as I will be updating throughout. (Note: If you don't have a twitter account, no need to sign up just to follow our posts. You can click on the link to our profile and see the updates.) Also, Mark Morris of PAWR will be broadcasting these duals free on his website. Click on the PAWR link to the left of this post for more information.
GMU 125 – Vince Rodriguez will start for George Mason as a true freshman. He was one of the top ranked recruits in the country out of all weight classes last year and was recently named to the Preseason CAA All-Rookie Team. He finished as an NHSCA Senior National and Junior National Champion. He is making his transition to college wrestling and won two matches at the Hokie Open last weekend. Rodriguez excels on his feet and is difficult to score on.
SHU 125 - Joe Harris will get the nod for Sacred Heart. Harris is a sophomore and started part of the year last year. He wrestled in limited action last year, competing in seven matches.
BU 125 - Derek Steeley will start for BU and is much improved from last year. Keep an eye on Steeley as he can score a flurry of points quickly. Rodriguez and Harris will probably try to slow the pace of the match and Steeley will try to keep the pace of the match high and control the match on the mat. Mike Sardo may get a match in here for BU.
GMU 133 – Junior Rich Lavarato should start for George Mason. He has not wrestled much in the last few years but is very athletic.
SHU 133 - Andrew Polidore returns as the starter for SHU. Polidore is one of the Pioneers' best wrestlers. He had the third most matches of anyone on the team last year. He is long and lanky and difficult to score on.
BU 133 - Patrick Hunter is making his BU debut and is looking to make an immediate impact on the team. Hunter is a grinder and will try to wear his opponents down as the match goes on.
GMU 141 – George Mason will start Dan Pak at this weight. Pak won a match last weekend at the Hokie Open. Pak is a freshman from New Jersey and was a two-time state place winner. Pak rides well and has solid shots.
SHU 141 - Justin Belanger was 3rd on the team in wins last season and is a returning starter. He is a senior and leader for SHU.
BU 141 - Joe Bonaldi will compete in his first dual at BU on Saturday. He maintains great positioning and will be on the attack. In both duals, guys will be battling for positioning, looking to score first.
GMU 149 – Shohei Takagi, a junior, competed last year for GMU at 149, 157, and 165 pounds. He is back down to a more natural weight of 149 pounds and is expected to start again this year. He has good hips and likes to throw.
SHU 149 - Joe Evangelista will start for SHU. He is just a sophomore but started last year as a freshman and competed in 18 matches.
BU 149 - Vinson likes to wrestle upper body and is very good in all positions. Vinson will be looking to put on a performance for the home crowd.
GMU 157 – Jaaziah Bethea, a junior, is one of the top returners for GMU. He finished 4thin the CAA last season and led the team in CAA wins. He is best on his feet where he is extremely and will look to keep the match on his feet as much as possible.
SHU 157 - SHU will likely forfeit this weight on Saturday.
BU 157 - Justin Lister will be looking to make a statement in his senior year and Bethea is the first he will face on his quest for a national title. Lister will be looking to put him away at the first opportunity.
GMU 165 – Ty Knepp is a junior who will start at 165 pounds. He wrestled in a handful of matches early in the season last year before being sidelined with an injury. Knepp is back to full strength now and is hungry to compete as he has not competed since November 13th of last year.
SHU 165 - Sam Sheppard, a sophomore, is expected to start at this weight. He saw limited action last year and competed in ten matches.
BU 165 - Matt Kaylor, much like Lister, is looking to start his senior year in dominate fashion. Kaylor will set a high pace in the match and will look to score a lot of points.
GMU 174 – Frankie McLaughlin is a senior co-captain for the Patriots. He is the leader on the team both on the mat and by title. He competed at the Hokie Open last weekend and placed, winning five matches on the day. He has been nationally ranked in the past and redshirted last season. During his collegiate career, he has placed at the Citadel Open (1st), Hokie Open (4th and 5th), Navy Classic (3rd and 5th), National Collegiate Open (6th), Pembroke Classic (6th), Southern Scuffle (7th), and CAA Championships (4th).
SHU 174 - Jon Rizzitell lead the team last year in wins with twenty, including winning eight of his last nine matches of the year. He is one of SHU's best and is looking to improve upon past success this season. He is moving up from 165 pounds last year.
BU 174 - Caleb Wallace is rapidly improving and will be ready to compete Saturday. These three wrestlers fight through positions and could get into some very good flurries. Caleb needs to win the flurries. These should be some of the more exciting matches of the dual meet. John Paris might also wrestle in one of the dual meets.
GMU 184 – George Mason has a good true freshman out of Pennsylvania starting here. Ryan Hembury won the Pennsylvania State Championship last year and was one of GMU’s top recruits. He competed at Hokie Open last weekend and is adjusting to the Division I level. Hembury wrestles at a steady pace.
SHU 184 - Zach Moran is a sophomore who wrestled twenty-five matches last year and has improved. He is the returning starter at this weight for SHU.
BU 184 - Nate Schiedel is a leader on the team in several ways and will be looking to lead us to a pair of wins on Saturday. He has good shots and is very tough on top. Schiedel is a veteran and will try to distance himself from these two good young wrestlers.
GMU 197 – Mendbagana Tovuuja (a senior) is arguably GMU’s best wrestler. He is a two-time national qualifier and has been ranked as high as 11th in the country. He is a former CAA Champion and “Outstanding Wrestler” of the CAA Championships, in addition to a CAA Runner-Up finish. He is a very dangerous wrestler, especially from a tie-up. He will be looking for throws and trips.
SHU 197 - TJ Neidhard will start again for SHU. He is a very good wrestler from Long Island and was a great recruit for SHU a couple of years ago. He is a redshirt sophomore and started last season. He is moving up a couple of weight classes but is good enough to wrestle with anyone.
BU 197 - Tyler Deuel will start at 197 pounds this weekend. He will need to wrestle smart and stay away from Tovuuja’s big moves. Deuel will also try to use his size and strength against a smaller opponents. Mike McKeever may also wrestle here.
GMU HWT – Adam Barnette will take to the mats for the Patriots. He has not competed much over the last few years. He did compete at the Hokie Open last weekend and picked up a win. Barnette is a full sized heavyweight.
SHU HWT - They will most likely forfeit heavyweight
BU HWT - Nick Gwiazdowski will make his first start for BU on Saturday. Barnette will have a distinct size advantage over Gwiazdowski so Gwiazdowksi will need to use his speed and attacks to wear down the bigger man.
*Note: Coach Beasley will preview Sunday's Binghamton Open tomorrow.