Wrestling overcomes injuries to beat Wesleyan

The Williams Wrestling team has been hit hard by injuries in the past few weeks. They have been without co-captains Rob Quan ’00 and Glenn Prichett ‘00 and 125 lb. starter Mike Reisman ‘02. The battered Ephs lost to Norwich University, Swarthmore, Western New England College, and defeated Wesleyan in recent action.

Against Norwich last Saturday, Kenny Marines ’01 pinned his opponent in 4:54 to notch the Ephs’ only match win. Conan Leary ’02 received a forfeit at 184 lbs., which made the final team score 32-12 in favor of the Cadets.

On February 6, the Ephs hosted Wesleyan, WNEC and Swarthmore. Leading the Ephs were Ken Ojukwu ’01, who finished the day 3-0, and Leary (2-0, one pin). Against Wesleyan, the Ephs began slowly. Michael Kilmurray ’00 lost 10-4, Matt Gunther ’00 received a forfeit, Kenny Marines ’01 was pinned, and John Gogos ’02 lost a close match. First-Year Dave Roberts put the Ephs on the winning track with a 17-5 dismantling of Britton Boyd. Matt Shear ’02 lost 9-5 at 165 lbs., which would prove to be the last loss for Mike Whalen’s squad. Isaac Dietzel ’01 hung on to beat Chris Jeffries 6-5, Leary won 7-4, Ojukwu cruised 5-1, and heavyweight Chris Sweatman ’00 capped off the 25-15 comeback win with a 3:51 pin of Jon Green.

Against a powerful WNEC team currently ranked sixth in New England, the Ephs fell behind early and almost made a miracle comeback. Kilmurray was pinned, and Gunther lost 5-2, which quickly put the Ephs in a 9-0 hole. Marines wrestled the best match of the day, winning 5-3 in overtime and brought the momentum back to the Ephs. Unfortunately,the subsequent wrestlers could not keep the streak going. Roberts, Shear, Gogos, and Dietzel all lost close matches, making the team score 20-3 in favor of WNEC with three matches remaining. Sophomore Dan DiCenzo pinned Chris Banas in 0:47, and the Ephs had a glimmer of hope. Ojukwu brought the large crowd to its feet with his 3:51 pin of Ed Verrochi, and Williams had the chance to steal the meet from WNEC if Sweatman could pin Ken Adams. Wrestling for a fall and not points, Sweatman fell behind and was unable to recover, losing 5-2, which allowed WNEC to escape with a 23-15 win. The Ephs managed to make the meet close despite winning only three of ten matches.

After the close meet against WNEC, the Ephs lost much of their intensity and did not wrestle well against Swarthmore. Williams forfeited at 125 lbs., then Gunther pinned his opponent in a mere 0:25 at 133lbs. Marines was pinned in 1:13, and drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty (loss of one team point), which would later prove to be the difference in the meet. Gogos received a forfeit at 149 lbs., and Roberts won a hard-fought match against Ben Gaines 14-12. Shear lost 4-1, which put the team score at 15-14 Swarthmore. Dietzel was caught on his back and was pinned in 1:49. Leary answered for the Ephs, pinning Keith McManimen in 0:40. Ojukwu received a forfeit, which made the score 26-21 Ephs with one match left. Unfortunately, Sweatman was pinned in 4:54, giving Swarthmore the meet 27-26, and capping off a disappointing day for Williams.

“It wasn’t quite the day I would have liked,” commented Head Coach Mike Whalen. “While we could use the fact that we were missing three starters as an excuse, we certainly had opportunities to win the two meets we lost. One team wanted it a little more than the other today.”

The New England Tournament is this weekend, and Whalen is optimistic.”We will have [co-captain Glenn] Prichett back for New Englands, and [co-captain Rob] Quan might wrestle. We certainly should have some kids get All New-England. There are a lot of guys that could place [in the top six].” Whalen believes Prichett, Ojukwu, Gunther, Marines, Roberts, Leary or Dan DiCenzo’01, and Sweatman have a very good chance to garner All-New England honors. Whalen believes, “if we finish in the top six [of 15] as a team it will be a good year.” The Ephs travel to Rhode Island College in Providence on Saturday and Sunday for the New England Tournament.