By Nic Ryder
Well it’s finally here. The National Duals have returned!
Wait, what? It’s not the national duals? It’s just four pods of two colors wrestling each other? Of course it is.
Anyway…the UNI Panthers head down to Niceville, Florida, on Monday and Tuesday to take part in the Collegiate Wrestling Duals, not to be confused with the National Collegiate duals, as their website also makes pretty clear. Each pool consists of two ranked teams and one unranked team, and the Panthers were assigned to Blue Pool 2, which includes #2 Penn State and #11 Cornell.
So there’s a big opportunity for the Panthers to make a splash, if it can pull off some upset wins.
In the backdrop of all of this, Cornell University recently shut down for finals due to an increase of COVID-19 cases and evidence of the Omicron variant. As of now though, the Big Red are still scheduled to be in Florida early next week.
The Cornell dual comes first, at 4PM on Monday. The Big Red have eight ranked wrestlers, led by Yianni Diakomihalis #1 at 149 pounds and #5 Vito Arujau at 133 pounds. Both wrestlers will take on ranked Panthers in #28 Triston Lara and #31 Kyle Biscoglia. Lara has a pair of wins over top-10 ranked opponents last season (#10 Mike Brill and #6 Jarrett Degen) and with his ability to hit lefty headlocks from seemingly nowhere, this should be an interesting matchup.
Biscoglia has the toughest Monday of all the Panthers, taking on #5 Arujau and then #1 Roman Bravo-Young from Penn State later in the evening. Splitting the two would be a massive win for the Panther and would go a long way towards UNI scoring a team upset.
Plenty of other Panthers will get a ranked opponent from Cornell: either Cayd Lara or Derek Holschlag will get #25 Colton Yapoujian, #23 Austin Yant will get #9 Julian Ramirez, Pat Schoenfelder gets #12 Chris Foca, and both Noah Glaser and Tyrell Gordon will get top-20 opponents.
At 184 pounds, Parker Keckeisen will enter dual action for the first time this season, wrestling #15 Jonathan Loew against Cornell. Keckeisen sat out the Missouri and Virginia Tech duals a couple of weeks ago, but was back in action, and won, the UNI Open last weekend.
Jumping ahead to the dual against Penn State, Keckeisen will have the opportunity to avenge his only loss from last year, a 6-4 decision to the eventual national champion Aaron Brooks. Brooks, ranked #1 in the country, was a Hodge Trophy finalist last season and is a two-time Big Ten champ. He is 3-0 on the season. A win here would give Keckeisen a legitimate shot at a number one ranking, the first Panther to own a top spot since Taylor Lujan held it at this weight in 2019-20.
The Panthers will have some chances to get some wins against the #2 Nittany Lions. Teske and Cayd Lara or Holschlag will both go up against unranked wrestlers, and those must go UNI’s way for any chance of an upset. PSU sports four number one, and eight total ranked wrestlers.
But they’ll tell you that they have a shot at every match. But it certainly will be an uphill climb, in both duals. These are the types of duals that head coach Doug Schwab says the Panthers want and need. Now that they’re here, UNI needs to show up and wrestle for 7 minutes every match.
The dual against Cornell will start at 4PM on Monday, followed by the Penn State Dual at 6PM. After the PSU-Cornell dual after that, the Panthers will know who they’ll wrestle from the other blue pod on Tuesday.
To watch the Collegiate Wrestling Duals, you must be a Rokfin subscriber AND purchase the PPV for a one-time fee of $10. The complete two-day schedule can be found below.
UNI Panthers vs #11 Cornell, #2 Penn State
125: #10 Brody Teske vs Greg Diakomihalis and Baylor Shunk or Brandon Meredith
133: #31 Kyle Biscoglia vs #5 Vito Arujau or Dom LaJoie and #1 Roman Bravo-Young
141: #27 Cael Happel vs Cole Handlovic or JJ Wilson and #1 Nick Lee
149: #28 Triston Lara vs #1 Yianni Diakomihalis and #22 Beau Bartlett
157: Cayd Lara or Derek Holschlag vs #25 Colton Yapoujian or Hunter Richard and Terrell Barraclough or Joe Lee or Tony Negron
165: #23 Austin Yant vs #9 Julian Ramirez or Jake Brindley and #26 Creighton Edsell
174: Pat Schoenfelder vs #12 Chris Foca and #1 Carter Starocci
184: #4 Parker Keckeisen vs #15 Jonathan Loew and #1 Aaron Brooks
197: Noah Glaser vs #19 Jacob Cardenas and #3 Max Dean or Michael Beard
285: Tyrell Gordon vs #18 Lewis Fernandes and #4 Greg Kerkvliet
MONDAY, DEC. 20
Red Pool Matches
- 10 a.m.: Binghamton vs. #10 Missouri
- 12 p.m.: Binghamton vs. #5 N.C. State
- 2 p.m.: #10 Missouri vs. #5 N.C. State
- 4 p.m.: Lehigh vs. Central Michigan
- 6 p.m.: #1 Iowa vs. Central Michigan
- 8 p.m.: #1 Iowa vs. Lehigh
Blue Pool Matches
- 10 a.m.: Hofstra vs. #8 Virginia Tech
- 12 p.m.: Hofstra vs. #6 Arizona State
- 2 p.m.: #8 Virginia Tech vs. #6 Arizona State
- 4 p.m.: #20 UNI vs. #11 Cornell
- 6 p.m.: #20 UNI vs. #2 Penn State
- 8 p.m.: #11 Cornell vs. #2 Penn State
TUESDAY, DEC. 21
- 1 p.m.: 5th/6th place matches
- 3 p.m.: 3rd/4th place matches
- 5 p.m.: Red Pool Championship match
- 7 p.m.: Blue Pool Championship match