Dec. 2, 2011
RALEIGH, N.C. — After solid showings in the first three early-season tournaments of the young wrestling campaign, NC State will take a big step up Sunday when it competes at the 2011 Nittany Lion Open at University Park, Pa.
The Nittany Lion Open will take place at Penn State’s Rec Hall beginning at 8:30 a.m., and will continue all day. The Open will feature hundreds of wrestlers from around the nation, including numerous ranked wrestlers.
Ranked teams sending wrestlers to the Nittany Lion Open include No. 5 Penn State, No. 8 Pittsburgh, No. 10 Lehigh, No. 13 Maryland, No. 14 Virginia Tech, No. 16 Rutgers, No. 19 Central Michigan, No. 20 Kent State, No. 23 Virginia and No. 25 Binghamton.
NC State will send 10 wrestlers to the Nittany Lion Open, and two others will wrestle unattached. Competing for the Wolfpack will be freshman 125-pounder Coltin Fought (8-2), sophomore 149-pounder Matt Nereim (4-4), freshman 141-pounder Gabe LaVey (0-0), sophomore 165-pounder Nijel Jones (9-4), freshman 165-pounder Steven Ramos (4-6), senior 174-pounder Quinton Godley (12-3), freshman 184-pounder Robert O’Neill (8-6), junior 197-pounder KaRonne Jones (11-5), freshman heavyweight Josh Davis (8-6), and junior heavyweight Eloheim Palma (5-2). Senior 141-pounder Darrius Little and freshman 149-pounder Thomas Gantt will compete unattached.
There will be no team scoring. The individual competition will be rigorous enough.
“This will be a good barometer for us,” State head wrestling coach Carter Jordan said. “Almost every team on the East Coast that’s not going to the Las Vegas Invitational will be at this tournament. It’s a strong field. We’ll find out in a hurry how much we’ve improved through the first month of the season.”
While final registrants will change and vary up until the brackets are drawn early Sunday morning, anywhere from 40 to 60 ranked wrestlers could be in action, including eight from host and defending national champion Penn State.
The following wrestlers ranked in the top 10 of their respective weight classes are expected to be in action at the Nittany Lion Open:
3. Nic Bedelyon, Kent State
8. Matt Snyder, Virginia
7. Devin Carter, Virginia
10. A.J. Schopp, Edinboro
10. Tyler Small, Kent State
1. Frank Molinaro, Penn State
3. Tyler Nauman, Pitt
4. Mario Mason, Rutgers
9. Donnie Vinson, Binghamton
5. Jesse Dong, Virginia Tech
6. Justin Lister, Binghamton
8. James Fleming, Clarion
1. David Taylor of Penn State
2. Josh Asper, Maryland
6. Scott Winston, Rutgers
7. Bekzod Abdurakhmanov, Clarion
2. Ed Ruth, Penn State
9. Te Edwards, Old Dominion
6. Quentin Wright, Penn State
9. Ben Bennett, Central Michigan
4. Chris Honeycutt, Edinboro
7. Matt Wilps, Pitt
10. Morgan McIntosh, Penn State
5. Cameron Wade, Penn State
9. Peter Sturgeon, Central Michigan
10. Spencer Myers, Maryland
“This will be a big weekend,” Jordan said. “In this tournament, you have to make the round of 32 or you can’t even fall into the wrestlebacks after a loss. It’s a grinder, a 64-man bracket all in one day. It’s six matches in one day in order to win it. If you fall into the wrestlebacks, you could wrestle up to 10 times. We’ll go a long way towards finding out what these kids are made of.”
Six unattached freshman wrestlers from NC State plus junior 141-pounder Logan Byman will wrestle on Saturday at the Davidson Open at Davidson College. The six unattached wrestlers are 133-pounder Michael Avelar, 133-pounder Ben Elliott, 149-pounder Joey Gaccione, 157-pounder Mardel Gabriel, 174-pounder Bret Peltier, and 197-pounder Nick Watson.