Wrestling pins down three opponents in big home victory

Last Saturday, Williams wrestling hosted MIT, third-ranked WPI and eighth-ranked Trinity. The day began well, as the Ephs, ranked sixth in New England Division III, dispatched MIT 39-15. The Ephs then beat WPI in convincing fashion 29-12 and followed that with a 29-15 romp over the Trinity Bantams.

Against MIT, the Ephs began by taking a forfeit at 165 lbs. The first match of the day pitted Miguel Payano ’03 against MIT’s Bayen Miller at 174 lbs. Payano wrestled well in the first period, notching a takedown and two nearfall points. In the second period, Payano was taken down to fall behind 6-4. He fought back in the third period but could not score any nearfall points and lost 6-5. At 184 lbs., Sophomore Mike Gioiello was pinned in 1:51. Bob Sherwood put the Ephs in the win column with a strong 8-2 win over Michael Hawrlychak. Sherwood amassed 2:40 of riding time in the seven-minute match. Heavyweight Chris Ripley ’01 was next and took a mere 1:37 to pin MIT’s Samuel Davies. Ripley also demonstrated his vocal talents on Saturday, singing the national anthem with Eph assistant coach Ray Jones. Ripley’s win put the Ephs up 15-9 in the team score, a lead they never relinquished. MIT forfeited 125 lbs., and Stu Warshawer ’03 showed his conditioning in the second half of his match, powering to a 6-2 win at 133 lbs. MIT forfeited 141 lbs. and 157 lbs. and the Ephs began the day with a 39-15 victory.

Senior tri-captain Glenn Prichett began the meet against WPI by fighting one of their best wrestlers, Sean Nelligan, who is ranked third in New England. The match was characterized by skilled technical wrestling, but Prichett came up a bit short, falling 6-4. Junior tri-captain Dan DiCenzo then wrestled a strong match and beat WPI’s Chris Newton 4-1 at 174 lbs.

The 184-pound match featuring Eph standout Conan Leary ’02 and WPI’s David Lashmit was the turning point of the meet. Lashmit entered the match as the top-ranked wrestler in New England and number seven in the nation. Leary scored the first takedown of the match, and Lashmit answered, with the first period ending 3-2 in favor of Lashmit. In the second period, Lashmit deferred and Leary chose the neutral position. Leary scored a quick takedown to take the lead 4-3, and Lashmit equalized the score at four with an escape. Leary scored another takedown at the edge of the mat as time expired, which made the score 6-4 and brought the crowd in Lasell Gymnasium to its feet. The third period saw a flurry of action. Lashmit began in the down position and escaped. Leary brought the crowd to its feet again when he took Lashmit down and to his back, scoring two nearfall points and making the score 10-5. Lashmit escaped and counterattacked with a low single and was awarded a dubious takedown with 20 seconds remaining. Leary received a warning for stalling, but held on to win 10-9.

At 197 lbs., Ken Ojukwu ’01 used his trademark powerful upper body throws to easily defeat William Welsh 5-2. Fourth-ranked heavyweight Chris Sweatman ’00 continued the Eph winning streak by pinning WPI’s third-ranked Justin Ripley in 2:26. At 125 lbs., Charles Danhof ’03 began the match aggressively, scoring a quick eight points. He never let up, pinning WPI’s Mike Duff in 1:42, which widened the Eph lead to 21-3. Matt Gunther ’00 beat Tatel Patel 4-1 at 133 lbs., which brought up first-year Stu Warshawer. Warshawer’s match had just begun when he dislocated his shoulder and was forced to default to WPI’s Deshawn Fentress. Senior tri-captain Rob Quan resumed the wrestling after Warshawer was taken to the hospital.

He had an easy match, defeating WPI’s Andrew Cook by technical fall, 19-4, in the third period. Sung Lim ’03 was the final wrestler, and he lost 14-7 to WPI’s Matt McCarthy, which made the final team score 29-12 Williams.

Prichett led off against Trinity and posted a convincing 7-3 win over Ted Govola. DiCenzo followed with a 12-2 major decision over Thomas Chew at 174 lbs. Leary and Ojukwu received forfeits, and heavyweight Sweatman beat Trinity’s Pete Marino 9-2, which made the team score 22-0 Ephs. Danhof was leading 8-3 when he was pinned by Anthony Marcucio in 3:55. Gunther lost to Michael Marcucio 4-2 in a very close and hard-fought match. Williams forfeited 141 lbs., and Quan outlasted Mark Foresi 14-11 to clinch the win for the Ephs. The final match of the day pitted Augustine Whyte ’03 against Matthew Banas at 157 lbs. Whyte cruised 8-0, which made the final team score 29-15 Ephs.

When asked about defeating the top-ranked wrestler in New England, Leary commented, “I wanted to wrestle safe and just get the win. Our sweep helps us get back on track and will be a big help for our seeding at New Englands, and a win against WPI is huge.”

Head Coach Mike Whalen added, “Today went very, very well, with the exception of the injury to Stu [Warshawer]. I told the team last week that the fact that we went to Florida and wrestled some of the top teams in the country, and then wrestled tough Rockport, Plymouth State and SUNY Oneonta teams last week, will make us better off than WPI, who had their entire winter break off.

“We were better prepared today and dictated the tempo of the matches, especially against WPI. Our guys came up pretty big today. Conan [Leary] was out for five weeks and came up with a huge win today, that’s the kind of kid he is. I was just hoping he would keep it close and lose a three-point decision, but he just finds ways to win.”

“Conan [Leary’s] match was the key match for us against WPI, and Sweatman’s pin was also huge. In wrestling you can get on a roll, and that’s what happened to us today. It was also nice to see everybody get involved today; kids who have been working hard in the [wrestling] room every day finally had an opportunity to compete. If we stay healthy and get in better shape, we will hopefully peak at New Englands. I don’t think we’ve wrestled our best match yet”

Williams faces Bridgewater State and the Coast Guard Academy today at Coast Guard and has a major New England dual meet tournament at Springfield College on Saturday.