2024 Franklin and Marshall Open

9 Most Anticipated Matchups At The Lehman F&M Open

9 Most Anticipated Matchups At The Lehman F&M Open

The Lehman F&M college wrestling tournament is going to be huge! Here are the potential matchups we're most looking forward to.

Jan 4, 2024 by Andrew Spey
9 Most Anticipated Matchups At The Lehman F&M Open

Over 400 wrestlers will be on the campus of Franklin & Marshall this Friday, January 5 for the Lehman Open in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. 

Click here to check out a full list of entries and pre-seeds. 

While the action will be nonstop all inside the Alumni Sports & Fitness Center, here are nine potential matchups we’re most looking forward to watching in what could be the toughest one-day in-season wrestling tournament of the year. 

197: #4 Jaxon Smith, Maryland vs #7 Lou DePrez, Binghamton

A top-10 marquee matchup could be in the works for the finals of the 197-pound bracket. 

Smith, a sophomore from Georgia, came up just shy of the podium last season for the Terrapins. DePrez, meanwhile, is an All-American who was retired and coaching this fall before deciding he wanted to utilize his final year of eligibility and is back on the mat taking another run at NCAAs. 

These two tussled at last year's Southern Scuffle that DePrez won in tiebreakers. Expect fireworks in a rematch if we're lucky enough to see it happen this Friday!

Watch their semifinal bout from the Scuffle:


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285: #2 Wyatt Hendrickson, Air Force vs #11 Taye Ghadiali, Campbell

Hendrickson, the Great American Heavyweight, is 4-0 on the season, though he also picked up two other non-countable matches against non-D1 opponents en route to a Reno TOC title in December. He placed third in the NCAA last season and has his eyes on the top step of the podium this March. 

He’ll be challenged by Campbell’s standard bearer, Taye Ghadiali, in what could be the second-best matchup of the tournament based on rankings. Ghadiali is a three-time national qualifier whose only loss this season in 15 matches is to multiple-time All-American Lucas Davison.

133: #14 Vincent Santaniello, Pitt vs #13 Braxton Brown, Maryland

If the preseeds hold, this will be a semifinal bout. Santaniello has the five-seed so he has to get through four-seed #32 Mason Leiphart in his home gym just to get to the semis. 

Santaniello's ranking is bouyed by a win over Nick Bouzakis in what has been a tumultuous weight class. Brown is a national qualifier for Maryland who struggled at 125 before bumping up and finding his groove at 133. Brown remains undefeated at 133 including a 6-3 win over Santaniello in a November dual meet.

133: #13 Braxton Brown, Maryland vs #17 Domenic Zaccone, Campbell

The number one and two seeds at 133 could collide in the finals if they successfully navigate one of the toughest brackets in the tournament. 

Zaccone is a two-time national qualifier looking for his first trip to the podium. Brown is also a former national qualifier who will have run the gauntlet if he reaches the finals in this stacked bracket. 

141: Connor McGonagle, Lehigh vs #11 Kal Miller, Maryland

McGonagle won his bout vs Sam Latona at the NWCA All-Star Classic earlier in November, however, that was down at 133-pounds. McGonagle’s teammate Ryan Crookham has since established himself as the Lehigh starter at 133, prompting McGonagle to move up to 141. The New England native will have his hands full in the quarterfinals if pre-seeds hold as he’d draw Pitt’s All-American Cole Matthews on his path to the semis, where he could then see Kal Miller. 

Miller was a national qualifier as a true frosh for head coach Alex Clemsen's rebuilt Maryland program. Kal, the second-year Missourian, won the Tiger Style Invite earlier in November. 

Watch McGonagle ASC victory:


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141: #13 Josh Koderdandt, Navy vs #31 Wyatt Henson, Lock Haven

Koderhandt has already qualified for two NCAA tournaments and is entering his third year at the Naval Academy seeking a breakout season. Henson was a blue-chip recruit from Waynesburg High School in Western PA who first took a redshirt season at Iowa two seasons ago before qualifying for the NCAA's last season at Oklahoma before finally making his way to the Bald Eagles of Lock Haven. 

165: #18 Brevin Cassella, Binghamton vs #26 Andrew Cerniglia, Navy

Another potential ranked finals matchup, assuming the number one and two seeds are able to make it there. Cassella is a two-time NCAA qualifier who will have two more opportunities to make it to the medal round of the NCAAs. Cerniglia likewise has been to the Big Dance on two previous occasions, however this is his last year of eligibility. 

174: #13 Philip Conigliaro, Harvard vs #27 Daniel Wask, Navy

This could be a preview of a match we’ll see at the EIWA Championships in March, though this is the last year Harvard and the rest of the Ivy League schools will participate in that NCAA qualifying tournament. Conigliaro won five matches combined in his last two NCAAs and is hoping to reach the final eight in his final year of eligibility. Wask is another tough Midshipman here in Lancaster who is in his first year on the varsity squad. 

184: #15 James Conway, F&M vs #19 Jacob Nolan, Binghamton

Conway is the highest-ranked F&M Diplomat in college at the moment and has fittingly received the number one seed at the F&M Open. In his third year as a starter, Conway has already won the Keystone Classic and placed at Midlands this season. 

EIWA rival Jacob Nolan is taking advantage of his extra year of eligibility due to Covid and is competing in his fifth season as a Bearcat starter. He's a three-time NCAA qualifier who made it to the round of 16 last season.