Wrestling claims 3rd at Div. III NE’s

In the most recent poll, Williams was ranked fifth for Div. III New England wrestling squads. However, in Portland, Maine on Sunday the Ephs exceeded expectations, claiming an impressive third place in the New England Wrestling Association Championships. With strong finishes throughout the line-up, Williams finished the tournament with seven wrestlers earning All-New England honors. On top of these accolades, teammates Ethan Cohen ’09 and Dylan Rittenburg ’10 earned spots at the NCAA tournament in March.

Cohen provided the spark for his teammates, starting strong in the 125-lb. weight class on Saturday. He went 3-0 on the day, beating NESCAC rival Dan Bloom of Wesleyan for the second consecutive time. “My road to the final match was hard-fought,” Cohen said. “I overcame a big obstacle for myself dominating Dan Bloom 7-2, because in the past we have always had close overtime or one-point matches. But I just was on another level this weekend.” With these impressive wins Cohen advanced to Sunday’s championship match.

Cohen entered the finals on Sunday with confidence, after an inspiring pep talk from his coaches. “My coaches kept telling me I was the best kid there, and their motivation kept me going and put me on the next level from anyone else at the tournament,” Cohen said. The motivation worked – Cohen pinned Michael Bastante of Johnson and Wales University in less than six minutes to claim the New England championship.

Along with the championship, NCAA bid and all-New England honors, Cohen was also named the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler. “The best part about winning the tournament and [the] Outstanding Wrestler [award] is that your whole team is behind you and it feels like we are all winning it together,” he said.

The rest of the Ephs followed Cohen’s success, with four of ten wrestlers making the finals. Rookie Corey Paulish ’11 won six straight matches to advance to the finals in the 133-lb. class. He fell in a close and well-fought match to Norwich’s Brian Zane in a 5-3 score by decision. Co-captain Nic Miragliuolo ’08 also fell in the finals, struggling to overcome Bridgewater State’s Frank Camissa.

The final finalist for the Ephs was Rittenburg whose second place finish in the 141-lb. class earned him a bid to the NCAA tournament. “I couldn’t be happier that Dylan will be at nationals with me, and we are both extremely excited to be making the trip,” Cohen said. “It has been a big goal of both of ours throughout or careers.”

With other strong tournament finished from teammates Carl Breitenstein ’10, Doug Washington ’08 and Kyle Ayer ’09 the Ephs were able to score 105.5 total points. With this score Williams took third, with Rhode Island College and Johnson and Wales in first and second, respectively. Concluding most of the wrestlers’ season, Cohen is proud of how the team performed and has high hopes for the future.

“Overall we had a successful season this year, and Dylan and I are hoping to seal the deal by becoming All-Americans in Iowa,” he said. “The coaches and core wrestlers on this team are really turning this program around; I expect we will not be beaten next season.”

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