Written by Ryan Lance
The toughest dual meet event of the season is upon us as 60 middle school and 64 elementary teams will compete in this weekend's VAC National Holiday Duals.
“It’s another huge year for us here at the VAC National Holiday Duals,” Executive Director Frank Lipoli said. “We are once again at max capacity as we will welcome 60 middle school and 64 elementary teams to Virginia Beach this next weekend. It’s going to be another amazing weekend of wrestling.”
Regarded as the premier national dual meet tournament in the country, the VAC National Holiday Duals will feature a number of all-star laden teams from states as far away as California, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Illinois, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin.
Known as the “Mecca of Youth Wrestling,” these all-star teams feature the best rosters from their states with some even putting together hand-selected teams from multiple states.
“This event is really one of the best in the country,” Lipoli said. “There aren't many tournaments where you are guaranteed to wrestle 10 matches against some of the top young talents in the country.
“I say this every year, but this event is a measuring stick to success, as the elite wrestler is challenged in every match, and it is not uncommon to see wrestlers that dominate on the national or state level not place in the VAC National Holiday Duals.”
Looking to defend its VAC Holiday Duals National Championship from a season ago will be Ohio Scarlet. The team took home the title last year when it defeated the California National Team 35-23. Leading this year's team will be 80-pound Ryan Bennett, 115-pound Dy'Vaire VanDyke and 130-pound Nick Hart.
“These amazing wrestlers are stepping out of their comfort zone to challenge themselves,” Lipoli said. “They are leaving their egos at home to wrestle some of the best competition they will face all season long.”
With 60 middle school teams set to compete, many of the countries top youth wrestlers will have the ability to showcase their talents. We’ll see numerous national champions who have won titles such as the Super 32, Tulsa Nationals, USA Wrestling Folkstyle, Freestyle and Greco national championships and hundreds of wrestlers who have won multiple state championships.
Some of the top talent that will be on display this weekend includes Super 32 Champions Ty Kapusta, Kale Peterson, Paul Ognissanti, Vince Bouzakis, Weston Dalton, Marc-Anthony McGowan, Meyer Shapiro and Joshua Baar. Additional athletes to watch include four-time Pennsylvania state champion Bo Bassett, USA Wrestling Preseason National Champion Aiden Valencia, and Trinity Award winners Jace Roller, Seth Mendoza and Braden Davis.
Will Ohio Scarlet have enough to defend its 2017 national championship or will a new champion be crowned? Be sure to follow the action all weekend long LIVE right here.