^^^On 8/8/08 my friend Earl Smith of D1CW gave me a 2009 UNCG depth chart that he recently received from the Greensboro coaching staff. Earl’s feeding a hungry dog here at WR.com, and I thank him for his help!
The UNCG wrestling program is in very good hands under head coach Jason Loukides. This past season the Spartans had a solid dual meet and tournament team. By my count, I believe UNCG went 9-9 over their long and strong 2007-08 dual-meet schedule. Also, first semester they placed 18th out at Vegas, and finished 15th in their Southern Scuffle held annually in Greensboro. In March UNCG grabbed third place in the 2008 Southern Conference Tournament, and scrambled in at 41st in the 2008 NCAA Tournament, tied with Lehigh and Rider.
This season it looks like UNCG will have a good mix of young guys and veteran grapplers. Under Coach Loukides’ direction, I think the Spartans’ wrestling future is bright. Here’s a weight-by-weight look at UNCG for 2009 –
125 – The UNCG source lists Manuel Ramirez first on the depth chart. From Fayetteville, NC, Mr. Ramirez is a RS freshman, who went 2-3 in 2008, competing unattached. Also, in April of 2008 he went 2-2 at the University National freestyle event, competing at 121 pounds.
Keep an eye on two incoming freshmen. One is Robert Gribschaw and the other is Angel Garcia. From Hatboro, PA, Gribschaw placed fourth in the 2008 PIAA AAA Tournament, competing at 119 pounds. He completed his senior season of high school with an excellent W/L record of 42-3. Garcia is out of San Dimas, California, and also competed at 119 pounds this past season.
133 – Mitchell Johnson (JR/NC) is the likely starter. Mr. Johnson is a former North Carolina state champ who grabbed second place in the 2007 Southern Conference Tournament, competing at 133. This past season, although not placing at the SoCon event, Johnson did win 12 bouts on the year.
Helping out at 133 this season will be junior Casey Boyle and incoming freshman John “JC” Wagner. Boyle, a former Massachusetts (4X) state champ has seen limited action his first two seasons at UNCG, but is ready for an increased workload this season. Wagner placed second in the 2008 North Carolina state tournament, competing at 130 pounds for Laney High School.
141 – Chris Bencivenga, a senior out of Davie, FL, arguably is UNCG’s best grappler. Bencivenga started for the Spartans at 133 pounds as a freshman the 2005 season and, though not placing in the SoCon tournament, did complete that year with a solid record of 19-14. As a sophomore Mr. Bencivenga, again competing at 133 pounds, finished top 12 in the Southern Scuffle, grabbed third at the 2006 SoCon Tournament, and completed that campaign at 20-14. For 2007 Chris, moving up to 141, placed sixth at Vegas, was SoCon runnerup, and racked up an excellent W/L of 24-6.
This past season Bencivenga redshirted, competed unattached at 149, placed third in the Penn State Open, fourth in the Southern Scuffle, and won the Edinboro Open. In April of 2008 he placed seventh in the University National freestyle tournament, competing at 145 pounds. Bencivenga is poised for a huge 2009.
Ben Wilmore should add depth at this weight. Wilmore is a senior from Fort Worth, TX, who placed fourth in the 2008 SoCon Tournament at 141. Also, keep an eye on incoming recruits, Josh Kratovil and Ryan Fields. Mr. Kratovil won the 2008 Illinois state tournament at 135, then finished top 12 at the April 2008 NHSCA event, competing at 140 pounds. Mr. Fields placed second in the 2007 Ohio state tournament (at 119) and fourth in the 2008 Ohio state event (at 130), competing for Lakota West.
149 – Look for veteran Marcus Hannah to start at this weight for the Spartans this season. Hannah has been starting at this weight and, this past season, placed third in the 2008 SoCon Tournament and went 17-9 on the year. Helping out at 149 will be Rich Bushby, an incoming freshman from Mickleton, NJ (Kingsway HS). I think Bushby’s 2008 high light was his seventh-place finish at the powerful Beast of the East event, competing at 145 pounds.
157 – Andrew Saunders is penciled in as the starter at this weight. Andrew is a sophomore out of Montini, Illinois. This past season he competed at 149 and 157 (2-2 at Vegas and 1-2 at the Scuffle), going 9-10 for the year. In April of 2008 Mr. Saunders finished top 12 at the University Nationals freestyle tournament, competing at 154 pounds.
Two incoming freshmen will be available to help out at this weight class. One is Travis Sheehy and the other young warrior is Ivan Lopuchanski. This past season Sheehy placed third in the 2008 Georgia state tournament, competing at 160 pounds for North Gwinnett High School. Lopuchanski, who reportedly is tri-lingual, is a Florida state champ out of Broward County.
165 – The UNCG lists both Chris Bullins and Victor Hojilla at this weight. Bullins enrolled at UNCG as a bluechip out of McMichael, NC. He’s a 4X NC state champ, and placed 7th in the July 2006 Fargo freestyle tournament at 160 pounds, and placed second in the July 2007 Fargo freestyle event at 160. Bullins redshirted this past season, then in April went 4-2 (though not placing) in the University Nationals freestyle tournament, competing up at 174.
Hojilla is from Newport, NC, and initially enrolled at UNC-Pembroke, where he started at 157 pounds as a freshman. Late January of 2007 he was 15-9 for the Braves, and I frankly don’t remember his competing late in the 2007 season. Mr. Hojilla transferred to UNCG and this past season went 2-2 at the Scuffle at 3-5 for the year.
174 – Byron Sigmon is the probably starter at this weight. Sigmon, who is a cousin of former UNCG ace Daren Burns, is a former 3X North Carolina state champion. He enrolled at UNCG the fall semester of 2006, placed fourth in the early season West Virginia Open at 157 (competing unatt), redshirted that 2007 season, going 10-3. Sigmon was a bit hampered that freshman year by a dislocated elbow that he sustained in June of 2006. This past season, competing at 165 pounds, went 2-2 at the Scuffle, won the 2008 SoCon Tournament, competed in the 2008 NCAA’s (0-2) and completed the year at 16-16. Mr. Sigmon is slated to move up to 174 for the 2009 season.
Pushing Sigmon for the starting spot will be Mikal McKee (Soph/NC). McKee started at this weight in 2008 for the Spartans, going 2-2 at the Scuffle, placing fourth at the 2008 SoCon Tournament, and completing the campaign at 14-18.
Also listed at 174 on the list that Earl Smith provided WR.com is Brett Miller. I think Miller is an incoming freshman out of Centreville, Virginia, who was wrestling at 171 this past season. I don’t recall what Miller did in the 2008 regional or state tournament.
184 – The two grapplers listed at this weight are Ryan Sughrue and Jeremy Cannon. Sughrue is from Escalon, California, and was a good 184 pounder for Modesto Community College. He’s transferred to UNCG and is expected to be in the hunt to start.
Jeremy Cannon is a junior from Carlisle, PA. This past season he started and sport started for the Spartans at 184, high-lighted by a fourth-place finish at the 2008 SoCon Tournament, and finished the year at 8-8.
197 – Freddy Valoy is the wrestler listed to start at this weight. I think Mr. Valoy is a fifth-year senior out of Yonkers, and apparently is ready to step up and start at 197 this coming season for UNCG.
285 – Joe Sheffield (SR/Killeen, TX) will man this weight. Sheffield redshirted the 2008 season, but is a two-time SoCon place winner who completed the 2007 season at 28-12.
Also available are Ryan Hsu and Peter Sturgeon. Hsu stated at hwt this past season (while Sheffield redshirted) and responded with a second-place finish at the 2008 SoCon Tournament and a fine 22-12 record on the year. Hsu is a good-sized heavy weight who transferred into UNCG after spending 2005 and 2006 at Elon University.
Mr. Sturgeon is a second-year competitor out of Winter Park, FL, where I think he wrestled at 215 his senior year. I don’t have much back-ground info on Sturgeon, and he might have been redshirting this past season. (I don’t know a heck of a lot, but at least I ain’t lost.)
That’s a look at UNCG for 2009, and we wish Coach Loukides and his Spartans the very best! -Allen (WR.com)