Dapper Dan XLI Preview: Can PA Pull off The Win?

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Vincenzo Joseph will take on familiar foe Freddy Stroker at the Dapper Dan Classic.

Vincenzo Joseph will take on familiar foe Freddy Stroker at the Dapper Dan Classic.

The 41st annual Dapper Dan Wrestling Classic will take place at the Fitzgerald Field House in Pittsburgh, PA and like years past this event will showcase the Nation’s best high school wrestlers and future college stars. For tickets and more information visit the Dapper Dan Classic Website.

Below is a preview of the Classic’s Main Event and the match-ups fans will be enjoying between Team USA and Team PA.


113 – #1/#1 Jabari Moody Illinois vs. #8/#6 Devin Brown Franklin Regional

These two are neck and neck in terms of the Nation’s top 113 lbs. wrestlers. Last summer both wrestlers competed in the FILA Junior World Team Trials at 50 kg with Moody winning the Trials as Brown finished in third place. The two did not meet at the Tournament as Brown fell in the semifinals to runner-up Matt Schmitt (7-6) who Moody then defeated in the finals (16-11). Moody is going to Virginia next season while Brown will be at West Virginia. I think Moody squeaks by Brown. USA 3 – PA 0


120 – #10/#7 Elijah Oliver Illinois vs. David Pipa Bishop McDevitt

Team USA has a chance to pick up bonus points here with Elijah Oliver. The second straight Illinois representative is a 3x Illinois State Champion who is heading to Indiana University in the fall. He faces David Pipa who earned his first career State Medal last week finishing third at 126 lbs. Last season as a junior Pipa was disqualified during the District 3 Sectional semifinals and he season was abruptly ended. David will be heading to Lehigh next season. USA 7 – PA 0


126 – #2/#1 Nick Piccininni New York vs. #14/#10 Korbin Myers Boiling Springs

Nick Piccininni is a very talented wrestler. At the 2014 FloNationals he dismantled 2x PIAA State Champion Luke Pletcher (Greater Latrobe) in the finals at 120 lbs. by major decision (10-2). His opponent, Korbin Myers, lost to Pletcher this season in the King of the Mountain finals at 132 lbs. Myers will be coming down from 132 lbs. where he was 2015 PIAA Class AA State runner-up. Piccininni is heading to Oklahoma State next season while Myers will attend Edinboro. Myers can keep it close with Piccininni but I think the 4x New York State Champion increases Team USA’s lead. USA 10 – PA 0 


132 – #5/#6 Jared Prince Florida vs. #2/#3 A.C. Headlee Waynesburg

A.C. Headlee has risen to the top of the podium for the first time in his successful career at Waynesburg Central. The North Carolina recruit enters the Dapper Dan ranked #2 in the Nation by Flo and #3 by Intermat. Headlee confirmed his recognition as one of the top wrestlers in the Nation by defeating Luke Pletcher in two straight weeks. His opponent is not far behind coming in ranked #5 by Flo and #6 by Intermat. Jared Prince is a 3x Florida State Champion who will head to the U.S. Naval Academy next year. USA 10 – PA 3


138 – #6/#6 Davion Jeffries Oklahoma vs. #1/#1 Sam Krivus Hempfield

This meeting will be a rematch of the 2014 Super 32 Finals at 138 lbs. where Krivus was victorious (5-2) over Davion Jeffries. Krivus ended his career with an undefeated senior season picking up his second PIAA State Championship. The Virginia recruit also holds a #1 National ranking by both Flo and Intermat. Jeffries was a 3x Oklahoma State Champion at Broken Arrow and will be staying close to home attending Oklahoma University next season. USA 10 – PA 6 


145 – #2/#3 Max Thomsen Iowa vs. #1/#1 Michael Kemerer Franklin Regional

Yet another rematch from the 2014 Super 32 Finals will pit Michael Kemerer against Iowa’s Max Thomsen. In the Super 32 Finals at 145 lbs. Kemerer was the winner by a (9-4) decision. The pair enters the Classic ranked #1 and #2 in the Nation according to Flo. Kemerer is a 4x PIAA State Finalist and 1x Champion capping off his senior season undefeated. Thomsen will be heading to Northern Iowa next season while Kemerer will be leaving the Keystone State for the Iowa Hawkeyes. I think Kemerer repeats his win over Thomsen and helps Team PA draw closer to Team USA. USA 10 – PA 9


152 – #3/#2 Fredy Stroker Iowa vs. #2/#2 Vincenzo Joseph Pittsburgh Central Catholic

These two are no strangers to each other. Stroker, formerly of Mechanicsburg, PA, met Vincenzo Joseph multiple times over the last year. In Fargo, ND Joseph met Stroker in the USAW Junior Freestyle Nationals where he won (8-0). The pair again faced off in the prestigious Flo’s Who’s #1 Event and this time it was a much closer (3-2) win for Vincenzo Joseph. Stroker is a 3x Iowa State Champion who will attend Minnesota next season while Joseph is staying in State heading to Penn State. Stroker is moving up to 152 lbs. from 145 lbs. where he is ranked #3 by Flo and #2 by Intermat. Vincenzo had no issues picking up his second straight PIAA State Championship in 2015 and will look to help lead PA to a victory. USA 10 – PA 12


160 – #5/#5 Joe Smith Oklahoma vs. #2/#2 Josh Shields Franklin Regional

One of the most dominating wrestlers of the season in PA was Franklin Rgional senior Josh Shields. The Arizona State recruit went undefeated this season claiming his first PIAA State Championship. Shields enters the Classic ranked #2 in the Nation at 160 lbs. by both Flo and Intermat. Shields will have a very tough opponent in Stillwater, Oklahoma wrestler Joe Smith. The Oklahoma State recruit competed at 170 lbs. this season where he is ranked #5 in the Nation by both Flo and Intermat. This match is intriguing and it will be interesting to see if Smith is considerably bigger than Shields. Smith is a 3x Oklahoma State Champion with only one career defeat. Shields is a very powerful wrestler but the weight difference could play a factor especially when going up against a wrestler as talented as Smith. USA 10 – PA 15


170 – #4/#4 Fox Baldwin Florida vs. Te’Shan Campbell Penn Hills

It seems like Fox Baldwin has been around forever. That’s likely because he has been on the National scene ever since he was a freshman at Kissimmee-Osceola, Florida. Baldwin was a 2014 Super 32 Champion at 160 lbs. and this will not be his first trip to Western Pennsylvania. In December 2011 Baldwin competed in the POWERade Tournament at Canon-McMillan High School where he finished fourth at 138 lbs. as a freshman. Baldwin, who will be joining Sam Krivus at Virginia next season, will face an under the radar wrestler Te’Shan Campbell. While PA fans now know his name, Nationally he is unknown, which is why the Penn Hills senior will surprise out of state fans. Camapbell, who is also a talented football running back, is strong and quick on the mat. Although Baldwin is favored here at 170 lbs., as I said before, Campbell is a juggernaut and he hasn’t stopped yet defeating every wrestler he faced this season en route to a PIAA Class AAA State Championship. USA 13 – PA 15


182 – #2/#2 Myles Martin Maryland vs. #11/#13 Kellen Stout Mt. Lebanon

Fans are in for an entertaining match at 182 lbs. and despite their distance in the National rankings these two wrestlers match-up well. Martin is a 3x National Prep Champion who only has 2 career defeats. These two could be BIG 10 rivals someday as Martin will attend Ohio State and Stout is a Penn State recruit. Stout was undefeated his senior season advancing into his second straight PIAA State Finals picking up his first State Championship. USA 16 – PA 15


195 – #1/#1 Lance Benick vs. #5/#15 Jan Johnson Governor Mifflin

Lance Benick is one of the toughest wrestlers on the USA Team having a #1 National Ranking by both Flo and Intermat. The Arizona State recruit is a 4x Minnesota State Champion with only 4 career defeats. Johnson in his own right is a 2x PIAA Class AAA State Champion with only 8 career defeats. Johnson will be walking on at Penn State for football hoping to land a spot on the roster as a linebacker. Both are talented athletes but I think Benick is the more superior wrestler. USA 19 – PA 15


220 – #3/#3 Austin Myers Kentucky vs. #3/#7 Andrew Dunn Bethlehem Catholic

Bethlehem Catholic senior Andrew Dunn will return to 220 lbs. where he spent the entire regular season before moving up to heavyweight for the post-season. Dunn had no issues adjusting to the weight-class capturing his first PIAA State Championship. Kentucky’s Austin Myers enters ranked #3 in the Nation by both Flo and Intermat. Dunn is ranked #3 in the Nation by Flo and #7 by Intermat at 285 lbs. Myers will head to Morgantown, WV next season to compete for West Virginia University while Dunn heads to Blacksburg, VA to compete at Virginia Tech. Myers is undefeated in his career (183-0) and is a 4x Kentucky State Champion. Dunn could make the dual meet interesting if he can overtake Myers. At the 2014 Super 32 Myers finished sixth at 220 lbs. while Dunn was the Champion at heavyweight. USA 22 – PA 15


285 – #1/#2 Zack Chakonis New Jersey vs. #14/#15 Al Beattie Burrell

Don Bosco Prep senior Zack Chakonis will be heading to Northwestern next season where he hopes to follow the footsteps of All-American heavyweight and Pennsylvania Native Mike McMullen. Chakonis is 1x New Jersey State Champion who is ranked #1 in the Nation by Flo and #2 by Intermat. His opponent is Burrell’s big Al Beattie a 2015 PIAA State Champion ranked #14 in the Nation by Flo and #15 by Intermat. The senior is undecided on his college choice but a number of top programs are interested. USA 25 – PA 15


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