2022 Southeast Open by Virginia Tech

What To Watch For At The 2022 Southeast Open

What To Watch For At The 2022 Southeast Open

A breakdown of the biggest stories to follow and expected entry list at the 2022 Southeast Open on November 5.

Oct 21, 2022 by Jon Kozak
What To Watch For At The 2022 Southeast Open

The 2022 Southeast Open will kick off the college wrestling season on November 5 in Salem, Virginia. There will be a number of top division 1 teams in attendance and numerous storylines to follow as the tournament unfolds. Check out a breakdown below of some of the most interesting things to watch for at the Southeast Open.

Deep 125 Field Could Decide Virginia Tech’s Starter

125 at the Southeast Open is interesting for a variety of reasons. First, there are two top 10 wrestlers in the field with #8 Caleb Smith and #9 Killian Cardinale (a 2021 All-American). Both Smith and Cardinale fell short at the NCAA tournament last season but look to be legitimate All-American contenders this year. 

Then there’s the roster battle for Virginia Tech at 125 between Eddie Ventresca and Cooper Flynn. Ventresca beat Flynn twice last season at the Southeast Open and Southern Scuffle - both by a 2-1 decision. Not only is this a great opportunity for them to meet in a head-to-head matchup but a chance for either to prove themselves against some of the best guys in the country. If Flynn or Ventresca beat Smith or Cardinale, expect them to make an early claim at the 125 starting spot for the Hokies.

Ventresca's win over Cooper Flynn at the 2022 Southern Scuffle:

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Big Time Freshmen To Watch At 141

Lachlan McNeil and Jordan Titus carry some big expectations into their first year starting for their respective universities at 141 pounds. Lachlan McNeil was the #5 overall recruit in the class of 2020 and has already made a senior world team for Canada at 65kg. Jordan Titus was the #25 ranked recruit coming out of the class of 2021 and was 20-7 during his redshirt season. National qualifiers Matthew Kazimir, Collin Gerardi, and Dylan Cedeno are the established class of the 141-pound bracket at the Southeast Open. If McNeil or Titus can break through that group, we should expect them to continue to climb the rankings this year at 141 pounds.

Get to know Lachlan McNeil:

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Watch Jordan Titus win the 2022 Edinboro Open:

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How Do Hillegas & Henson Stack Up At 149?

As a high school senior last season, Caleb Henson won the Southeast Open with his most notable win coming against national qualifier Marshall Keller. Henson finished his high school career as the #7 ranked recruit in the class of 2022 and brings major hype into this season. His competition this year at the Southeast Open looks to be a little tougher with potential matches against All-Americans Jonathan Millner and Zach Sherman. 

Another wrestler to watch for at 149 is Sam Hillegas. After spending two years at 141 for Virginia Tech, Hillegas is slated to be the starter for the Mountaineers of West Virginia. Hillegas was a blue-chip recruit coming out of high school as a 2-time Pennsylvania state champ and was ranked the #51 overall recruit in the class of 2020. Like with Henson, Hillegas’ performance against this 149-pound field should give us a measurement of what we can expect from him this season. 

Caleb Henson's win over Marshal Keller at last year's Southeast Open:

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First-Look At Latona & Andonian At New Weights

Past Virginia Tech All-Americans Sam Latona and Bryce Andonian will use the Southeast Open to make their new weight class debuts. Latona is moving up to 133 after spending 2 seasons as the Hokies starter at 125. He reached the podium in 2021 with a 6th place finish at NCAAs but didn't have the same success last year - likely because of the brutal weight cut. 133 pounds isn't extremely deep at the Southeast Open making it the perfect opportunity for Latona to get his feet wet at the new weight.

After falling short of All-American honors in his first two seasons, Bryce Andonian had a breakout season last year by placing third at the NCAA Tournament at 149 pounds. Now up at 157, Andonian will be one of the main title contenders in the weight class. Andonian could be tested right away with potential ranked matches against #13 Jake Keating, #23 Cody Bond, and HM Kyle Mosher. 

Hear Andonian talk about a variety of topics leading into the 2022-23 season:

Birds Don't Think About Flying, They Just Fly


4 Top 15 Ranked Wrestlers At 165

165 is by far the deepest weight of the tournament with 4 wrestlers ranked in the top 15 - #8 Peyton Hall, #9 Justin McCoy, #13 Joshua Ogunsanya, and #14 William Formato. After taking 8th last year, Hall is the only All-American of the bunch and has a head-to-head win over McCoy. After that, McCoy has 2 head-to-head wins over Ogunsanya but none of the other top 4 have met in their college careers. This group of four should be a lot of fun to watch and many of these matchups feel like ones that could go down in the round of 12 at the NCAA tournament. 

Hear Peyton Hall after earning All-American honors at the 2021 NCAA Tournament:

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33 Total Ranked Wrestlers = Expect Upsets

During the early season, we always see big upsets at many of these open tournaments. Every year, unranked wrestlers start their year off with a bang and immediately announce themselves to the country during the first weekend of the year. With 33 total ranked wrestlers set to take the mats at the Southeast Open, we should expect to see some surprising upsets go down in Salem. Check out the expected rosters below to get a better idea of the potential matchups set to go down on November 5.

Expected Starters At The Southeast Open

Current Entries Here

125 Pounds

133 Pounds

  • #10 Sam Latona, Virginia Tech
  • HM Jaime Hernandez / Joey Melendez, North Carolina
  • Sean Carter, Appalachian State
  • Angelo Rini, Columbia
  • [p; Noah Burstein], Davidson
  • Thomas Termini, The Citadel
  • Davin Rhoads, West Virginia
  • Erik Roggie, Virginia
  • Patrick Maglathlin, VMI

141 Pounds

  • #14 Matthew Kazimir, Columbia
  • HM Lachlan McNeil, North Carolina
  • HM Collin Gerardi, Virginia Tech
  • HM Dylan Cedeno, Virginia
  • Heath Gonyer, Appalachian State
  • Joshua Viarengo, Davidson
  • Jason Garay, The Citadel
  • Jordan Titus, West Virginia
  • Freddy Junko, VMI

149 Pounds

157 Pounds

  • #4 Bryce Andonian, Virginia Tech
  • #13 Jake Keating, Virginia
  • #23 Cody Bond, Appalachian State
  • HM Kyle Mosher, Columbia
  • Bryce Sanderlin, Davidson
  • Tucker Allen, The Citadel
  • Noah Roulo, VMI
  • Alex Horneck, West Virginia

165 Pounds

  • #8 Peyton Hall, West Virginia
  • #9 Justin McCoy, Virginia
  • #13 Joshua Ogunsanya, Columbia
  • #14 William Formato, Appalachian State
  • Jaden Hardrick, Davidson
  • Drew Nicholson, Virginia Tech
  • Joey Mazzara, North Carolina
  • Selwyn Porter, The Citadel
  • Jobe Chishko, VMI

174 Pounds

  • #2 Mekhi Lewis, Virginia Tech
  • #5 Clay Lautt, North Carolina
  • HM Nick Fine, Columbia
  • Will Miller, Appalachian State
  • Anthony Spera, Davidson
  • Benjamin Haubert, The Citadel
  • Justin Phillps, Virginia
  • Jon Hoover, VMI 
  • Dennis Robin, West Virginia

184 Pounds

  • #10 Gavin Kane, North Carolina
  • #11 Hunter Bolen, Virginia Tech
  • #20 Michael Battista, Virginia
  • HM Anthony Carman, West Virginia
  • Brett Mordecai, Appalachian State
  • Michael Baker, Columbia
  • Gavin Henry, Davidson
  • Mark Chaid, The Citadel
  • Neil Antrassian, Virginia
  • Zach Brown, VMI

197 Pounds

  • HM Max Shaw, North Carolina
  • Wyatt Miller, Appalachian State
  • Sam Wustefeld, Columbia
  • Kyle Costello, Davidson
  • Michael Battista, Virginia
  • Dakota Howard, Virginia Tech
  • Tyler Mousaw, VMI
  • Austin Cooley, West Virginia

285 Pounds

  • #16 Michael Wolfgram, West Virginia
  • HM Hunter Catka, Virginia Tech
  • HM Brandon Whitman, North Carolina
  • Mason Fiscella, Appalachian State
  • Daniel Conley, Columbia
  • Jake Fernicola, Davidson
  • Jonathan Chesser, The Citadel
  • Gabe Christenson, Virginia
  • Josh Evans, VMI