Five matches to watch during the 1st round of the NCAA Division I wrestling championships

Wednesday, March 20, 2019 | 10:40 PM

The NCAA Division I wrestling championship begins Thursday, and here are some interesting first-round matches to watch (each wrestler’s name is preceded by his seeding):

28-Gage Curry, American (23-11) vs. 5-Jack Mueller, Virginia (17-0)

Mueller (125 pounds) could make some noise in the tournament. Curry isn’t an easy draw. The North Hills graduate is capable of pulling off the upset. Mueller is expected to challenge No. 4 seed Ronnie Bressler of Oregon State and No. 1 Sebastian Rivera of Northwestern.

29-Garry Joint, Fresno State (17-13) vs. 4-Mickey Phillippi, Pitt (19-2)

Joint’s record is deceptive. He gave No. 1 Daton Fix of Oklahoma State a scare early this season. Phillippi, a Derry graduate, can’t let his guard down if he wants to advance in the 133-pound weight class, considered the toughest in the tournament.

23-Josh Maruca, Arizona State (16-12) vs. 10-Pat Lugo, Iowa (20-7)

If he wants to be a factor in the tournament, then Maruca must upset Lugo to get things started. The Franklin Regional grad is competing in the 149-pound weight class for the first time in his career. Maruca might catch Lugo looking ahead to a rematch with Ohio State’s Micah Jordan.

19-Griffin Parriott, Purdue (15-11) vs. 14-Zach Hartman, Bucknell (26-7)

Hartman is having a great freshman season, but he must get through a tough wrestler from Purdue at 157 pounds. A lot of people believe the Belle Vernon graduate will fall in the first round, but Hartman is confident that won’t happen.

25-Cam Coy, Virginia (19-14) vs. 8-Mekhi Lewis, Virginia Tech (23-2)

This intrastate and ACC battle could be interesting. Coy’s record isn’t outstanding, but he’s capable of giving Lewis a battle. He has lost twice to Lewis, including a 10-1 decision in duals. Could the third time be a charm for Coy? We’ll see in Session 1.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at or via Twitter .

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