Wrestling destroys their competition

The Williams wrestling team destroyed their competition this week, only dropping one match against four strong opponents. The Ephs defeated Bridgewater handily on Wednesday, and swept its quad meet Saturday, beating WPI 38-6, Trinity 40-4, and host MIT 43-3.

The third-ranked Ephs (13-4) wrestled like seasoned veterans on Saturday. “It was a great day,” remarked elated head coach Mike Whalen. “We won some big-time matches.”

The Ephs received stellar efforts from 167 lb. sophomore Glenn Prichett and heavyweight Chris Sweatman ’00. Both wrestlers pinned all three of their opponents.

After cruising past WPI, the Ephs faced the sixth-ranked Trinity College Bantams. Co-captain Marty West ’98 started the Ephs off well with a 16-2 win over Dan Hughes. Sophomore Matt Gunther followed with a 10-3 decision. Next up was freshman Ken Marines, who pinned Raid Defrietes in 5:18. Rob Quan ’99 and co-captain Jeremy Kay ’98 breezed through their matches 12-2 and 12-1, respectively. Freshman Dan DiCenzo then continued his impressive season with a 5-2 decision.

Glenn Prichett squared off against Tim Barrett. It took the 167 lb. sophomore only 1:20 to pin Barrett. It only took Pritchett him only 5:26 of mat time to record his three pins.

The only bright spot for the Bantams was 177 lb. All-American Ray Jones, who beat the Ephs’ Paul Bethe ’00, 10-0.

Freshman standout Ken Ojukwu put the Ephs back on the winning track with a convincing 14-3 win over Jason Gabriel. The 190 lb. Ojukwu was recently named rookie wrestler of the month by the New England Collegiate Wrestling News. Ojukwu has yet to lose a match at 190 lbs. in New England.

Heavyweight Sweatman ended the meet in dominant fashion with his second of three pins on the day. The sophomore transfer pinned third-ranked Peter Marino in 2:14.

“We knew Trinity would be tough up top [in the higher weight classes],” commented Whalen, “but we got on a roll early. I was a little shocked at our margin of victory, but our guys know they’ve worked hard. We’re going out expecting to win.”

Earlier in the week the wrestling team beat Bridgewater State College 41-0. The Ephs dominated the match so resoundingly that only five Bridgewater State wrestlers managed to score. “I thought it would be closer,” Whalen said, “but our kids were fired up to wrestle at home.”

The meet began with West collecting a forfeit. Gunther then ran up a 15-0 technical fall on Ben Houston. The Ephs’ Wayne Wight ’00 then demonstrated the team’s superior conditioning when he fell behind 5-0 to Kevin Willard, but managed to come back for a 12-10 victory.

After Wight’s match, Bridgewater State would not score another takedown. Quan collected a forfeit at 142 lbs and Kay blanked Jim Warren 12-0. DiCenzo almost pinned Christopher Farnkoff and won 10-1. Prichett went on to win 7-0 over Bridgewater State’s co-captain Brett Murray and Bethe prevailed 3-1 in a defensive struggle over Bill Rivera. Other than Bethe’s second period escape, the scoring was limited to penalty points for stalling.

Ojukwu then squared off against Bridgewater State’s returning All-New England senior co-captain Bill Jeserski. Ojukwu was up 2-1 after the first period, but Jeserski escaped in the second to knot the match at two. In the third period, Ojukwu came back and overwhelmed the senior standout, notching an 8-3 win.

“Coach [Whalen] told me that [Jeserski] comes out pretty tough and physical, pushing and shoving a lot,” commented Ojukwu. “I tried not to get caught up in the early part of the match because I know I’m in better shape. I wanted to keep control of the match and take over at the end.” The fifth-ranked freshman is a perfect 11-0 at 190 lbs.

In the heavyweight match, Sweatman prevailed 9-4 over Dave Pinette to seal the shutout for the Ephs.

Coach Whalen was proud of his teams spectacular play this last week, but said “we will find out Wednesday where we’re truly at.” The Ephs’ next opponent is top-ranked Springfield College, whom they will face this Wednesday night in Springfield. Looking ahead, Whalen had only two words, “we’re ready.”