Wrestling (10-3-1) fought hard this week, earning a 38-9 win on the road on Wednesday over American International (AIC) and a third place finish on Sunday at the New England Wrestling Association (NEWA) dual meet tournament. At the tournament, the men defeated Southern Maine in the quarterfinals, lost to Rhode Island in the semis and then bounced back in the bronze medal match to handily defeat Springfield.
The team rode the momentum of five consecutive victories coming into the AIC match, which allowed the Ephs to bury the Yellow Jackets by a 29 point margin. Co-captain Dylan Rittenburg ’10 battled in the 149 lb. weight class for a 5-3 victory, and Carl Breitenstein ’10 also continued his impressive performance with a 6-0 shutout in the 157 lb. weight class. Rittenburg and Breitenstein came into the match as two of the eight Ephs who hold rankings in their respective NEWA weight classes.
The team came into the NEWA tournament with high expectations as the top seed. After a bye in the first round, Williams met ninth seed Southern Maine. Nearly all of the Ephs faced regionally ranked opponents, but they still managed to come out on top. Co-captain Ethan Cohen ’09 (125) earned a victory over third-ranked Billy Cole, and top-ranked transfer Ryan Malo ’11 (197) defeated third-ranked Justin Fitzsimmons.
“In the Southern Maine dual meet James McCarthy ’11 and Drew Gatewood ’10 came up huge,” co-Head Coach Dan DiCenzo said. “Each wrestler bumped up a weight class and was able to come out with a win to ice the dual meet.”
The loss the team suffered to Rhode Island was disappointing, but several well-fought matchups still lent the team pride. Corey Paulish ’11 (141), Jon Foster ’11 (165), co-captain Kyle Ayer ’09 (197) and Colin Curzi ’12 (285) all notched victories in the semifinal match.
Williams entered the third place match fired up and manhandled Springfield by a 36 to 7 margin. Eight of the 10 Ephs won their matches and fought to place the team in the tournament. Paulish ’11 earned his third victory of the day over a ranked opponent in the 141 lb. weight class.
“I think it is a great day for our wrestling program when we finish third at our conference dual meet tournament, which ties our best finish ever, and myself and our team are disappointed,” DiCenzo said. “It is gratifying to see all of the hard work our student-athletes have put in start to pay off with a 10-3-1 record, but collectively as a team we know there is still work to be done to reach our goals in the next month.”
The team’s focus remains firmly fixed on the next match and the future, and the men are working hard to improve and realize their full potential. “We need to continue to get better every day as our conference is as strong as it has been in years. The next month of the season should be very exciting,” DiCenzo said.
The men will wrestle Springfield, a rematch of Sunday’s third place battle, in their only home meet of the season today at 7 p.m.