Agile big men Hall, Nevills set to rumble at 285; Hill, Gabaldon get the nod at 155 at NWCA All-Star Classic
Manheim, Pennsylvania — At 24 years old, Arizona State’s Tanner Hall might be the oldest junior in college wrestling. Even with a junior season that could see him come away with lower car insurance rates, the returning All-American should have a dandy of a bout with Penn State All-American Nick Nevills at 285 pounds at the 52nd annual NWCA All-Star Classic set for Princeton University’s Jadwin Gym on Sunday, November 5.
The NWCA All-Star Classic is hosted by Wrestlers in Business Network and sponsored by Princeton Brain and Spine and Northwestern Mutual Life.
Another dandy should come with a much-anticipated rematch between Lindenwood-Belleville’s Niauni Hill and Warner Pacific’s Kiera Gabaldon at 155 pounds on the women’s side.
Hall finished third at the 2017 NCAA Division I Championships after entering as the seventh seed. A Boise, Idaho native, Hall graduated from high school in 2011, spent a year at the Olympic Training Center before a two-year LDS mission took him to Uganda. He surfaced at Arizona State for head coach Zeke Jones. Hall represented the U.S. on two Junior World teams, finishing ninth in 2012. Hall finished 2016-17 with a 35-6 record.
Nevills, a top-ranked high school heavyweight coming out of Clovis High School in Clovis, California, finished fifth at 285 pounds as a sophomore. Nevills went 25-5 after an injury wiped out nearly all of his freshman season in State College. Entering the NCAA Division I Championships as the No. 5 seed, he wrestled back after a quarterfinal loss to Duke’s Jacob Kasper to avenge that defeat in the tiebreaker in the fifth-place bout.
Penn State and Arizona State had only previously matched up one time in the All-Star Classic, a 9-5 victory by Arizona State’s Ray Miller at 167 in 1993. This year, the Hall-Nevills match will be the second between the two schools in the event. Mark Hall of Penn State will face Zahid Valencia of Arizona State at 174 pounds.
With Nevills joining his teammate Mark Hall in the event, it will mark the 38th appearance by Nittany Lion wrestlers in the event. Penn State wrestlers are 17-16-3 all-time while Arizona State is 13-14-1 all-time.
Niauni Hill has set the benchmark for success for Lindenwood-Belleville’s fledgling women’s program. Only the second wrestler to earn All-American honors at the WCWA National Championships, Hill has placed three times heading into her senior season. The Oakland, California native has finished seventh, third and second in her three trips to the championships.
Hill will face Warner Pacific College’s Kiera Gabaldon at 155 pounds. The two met last year in the semifinals of the WCWA championships with Hill earning an injury default victory just 45 seconds into the bout. Gabaldon was leading 1-0 at the time of her injury. Gabaldon, a junior, is a two-time All-American and has previous placements of fourth and third.
As a freshman, Gabaldon fell to eventual champion and fellow All-Star Classic participant Mallory Velte of Simon Fraser in the quarterfinals at 143 pounds. Already this season, Gabaldon has finished second at Oklahoma City’s Blue Chip Open. Like Hill, Gabaldon is one of only two wrestlers to have previously placed at the WCWA championships for Warner Pacific, which announced the re-introduction of men’s wrestling and launch of women’s program in 2014.
Hill was second at the recent UWW U23 World Team Trials and was the 2017 University Nationals champion at 69kg. She was also a 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials participant.
NOTE: Eastern Oregon’s Amber Pair has been selected to replace Campbellsville’s Andribeth Rivera at 123 pounds.
WHAT: 52nd NWCA All-Star Classic hosted by Wrestlers in Business Network
WHEN: Sunday, November 5, 3 p.m.
WHERE: Jadwin Gym, Princeton University, Princeton, N.J.
TICKETS: $20 (group discounts available)
SOCIAL MEDIA: #ComeBackToJadwin #allstarclassic2017 #wrestleback
125: Darian Cruz, Sr. (Lehigh) vs. Nick Piccininni, So. (Oklahoma State)
133: Seth Gross, Jr. (South Dakota State) vs. Stevan Micic, So. (Michigan)
141: Kevin Jack, Sr. (NC State) vs. Bryce Meredith, Sr. (Wyoming)
149: Max Thomsen, So. (Northern Iowa) vs. Matthew Kolodzik, So. (Princeton)
174: Mark Hall, So. (Penn State) vs. Zahid Valencia, So. (Arizona State)
184: Pete Renda, Sr. (NC State) vs. Drew Foster, Jr. (Northern Iowa)
197: Kollin Moore, So. (Ohio State) vs. Jared Haught, Sr. (Virginia Tech)
285: Tanner Hall, Jr. (Arizona State) vs. Nick Nevills, Jr. (Penn State)
109: Maria Vidales (Emmanuel) vs. Charlotte Fowler (Campbellsville)
116: Fayth Woodward (Emmanuel) vs. Makayla Bourbon, Sr. (U. of the Cumberlands)
123: Dom Parrish, Jr. (Simon Fraser) vs. Amber Pair, So. (Eastern Oregon)
130: Megan Black, Sr. (McKendree) vs. Shelby Hall, Sr. (Campbellsville)
136: Kayla Miracle, Sr. (Campbellsville) vs. Solin Piearcy, So. (Menlo)
143: Mallory Velte, Sr. (Simon Fraser) vs. Desiree Zavala, So. (Grays Harbor)
155: Niauni Hill, Sr. (Lindenwood-Belleville) vs. Kiera Gabaldon, Jr. (Warner Pacific)
170: Jessika Rottier, Jr. (U. of the Cumberlands) vs. Brandy Lowe, Sr. (McKendree)
Note: Women’s college wrestling competes under international freestyle rules.