Jan. 12, 2012
RALEIGH, N.C. -- The 2011-12 college wrestling season hits high gear for NC State this weekend when Virginia and Virginia Tech come to town for dual matches on Friday and Sunday, respectively.
The Wolfpack will wrestle its first Atlantic Coast Conference dual match of the season on Friday at Reynolds Coliseum against the Cavaliers. The match will begin at 7 p.m. On Sunday, the 15th-ranked Hokies come to Reynolds for a 2 p.m. showdown with the Pack. Both commonwealth opponents will present a significant challenge to the young, improving Wolfpack.
"Both Virginia and Virginia Tech are excellent wrestling teams," Wolfpack head coach Carter Jordan said. "Virginia Tech has been ranked all season and Virginia was in the top 20 until very recently. This will be a great test for our team, but we've wrestled a challenging schedule so far and I think we'll be ready."
As many as nine ranked individual wrestlers will be on the mat for this weekend's duals according to the latest Amateur Wrestling News rankings, including NC State's Coltin Fought and Darrius Little. At 19-4, Fought is ranked at No. 20 at 125 pounds, while Little is No. 13 at 141 with a 23-9 mark.
A fifth-year senior, Little enters the weekend with 87 career victories, which ranks ninth in school history for career wins. He has won his last four matches and 10 of his last 11. He will have two stiff challenges in eighth-ranked Nick Nelson of Virginia on Friday and No. 9 Zach Neibert of Virginia Tech on Sunday.
A true freshman, Fought is 10 wins shy of matching the school record for wins by a freshman and three short of tying the school mark for pins by a freshman. He will face No. 11 Matt Snyder of Virginia on Friday. Fought has won his last four matches, seven of his last eight, and 16 of his last 18.
"This will be a big weekend for Darrius and Coltin, and they're both very excited about it," Jordan said. "I'm really happy to see Coltin finally get some love in the rankings. He's wrestled well enough to be ranked, especially for a true freshman. Darrius has really wrestled well after getting off to a tough start. He finished second at the Southern Scuffle and has shown great focus and determination."
The other ranked wrestlers competing for Virginia this weekend are No. 15 Nick Sulzer at 165 pounds and No. 18 Jon Fausey of Virginia at 184. The other ranked individuals for the Hokies are No. 4 Devin Carter at 133 and No. 7 Pete Yates at 165. Carter is ranked No. 1 in two polls, but not by AWN.
Following are the projected starting lineups for NC State, Virginia and Virginia Tech this weekend:
NC State (3-2, 0-0 ACC)
125 - #20 Coltin Fought (19-4)
133 - Ben Elliott (1-9)
141 - #13 Darrius Little (23-9)
149 - Matt Nereim (11-9)
157 - Colton Palmer (11-7)
165 - Nijel Jones (17-10)
174 - Quinton Godley (22-8)
184 - Robert O'Neill (14-9)
197 - KaRonne Jones (14-13) or Harrison Honeycutt (0-2)
Hwt - Josh Davis (10-14)
Virginia (3-1, 0-1 ACC)
125 - #11 Matt Snyder (14-3)
133 - Matt Nelson (11-3)
141 - #8 Nick Nelson (17-2)
149 - Gus Sako (11-4)
157 - Jedd Moore (13-4)
165 - #15 Nick Sulzer (16-4)
174 - Vinny Waldhauser (14-10)
184 - #18 Jon Fausey (13-3)
197 - Ryan Malo (12-8)
Hwt - Derek Papagianopoulos (5-1) or Ethan Hayes (10-9)
#17 Virginia Tech (3-2, 1-1 ACC)
125 - Ty Mitch (5-1) or Erik Spjut (19-8)
133 - #4 Devin Carter (21-1)
141 - #9 Zach Neibert (13-4)
149 - Chris Mears (7-6) or Nick Brascetta (0-1)
157 - Matt Stephens (3-4) or Cameron Hurd (9-7)
165 - #7 Pete Yates (16-3)
174 - Chris Moon (11-8)
184 - John Dickson (12-10)
197 - Nick Vetterlein (19-6) or Angelo Malvestuto (13-7)
Hwt - Chris Penny (6-4)