Wrestling (19-4-1) closed out their dual meet season with wins on the road in Middleton, Conn. over Oneonta State and Wesleyan. The team defeated Oneonta State by a close margin of 25 to 21 and dispatched Little Three rival Wesleyan 24-13. The Ephs have amassed 19 wins so far – a school record for a single season – against some of the toughest opponents that they have ever faced, which stands as a testament to the skill and work ethic of this year’s wrestlers.
“It was a strong end of the dual meet season for our team with two wins over two very good teams,” said co-Head Coach Dan DiCenzo.
The Ephs first faced the Red Dragons in what was expected to be a heated match. Corey Paulish ’11, co-captain Dylan Rittenburg ’10 and Carl Breitenstein ’10 earned crucial wins by large margins at 141, 149 and 157, respectively. “Corey, Dylan and Carl were very impressive today outscoring their six opponents in the two duals by a score of 64-9,” DiCenzo said. “They were very sharp this past weekend.”
Jon Foster ’11 also fought hard in his match at 165 against Jimmy Neal. The match seesawed back and forth between the two men until Foster managed to wrestle Neal to the mat and earn the pin at 6:45. Ryan Malo ’11 continued his impressive season performance with an 11-1 decision at 197. His match was followed by another Williams victory earned by Tim Kiely ’11 at 285 over skilled opponent James Lamonica. The collective efforts of the Ephs were enough to earn the win over a feisty Oneonta team.
The men then had their hands full in the second match facing a Wesleyan squad riddled with some of the top wrestlers in the nation. At 125, co-captain Ethan Cohen ’09 stepped on the mat ranked second in New England according to the NEWA. He then overcame the top-ranked wrestler in his weight class, Dan Bloom, by a 7-2 major decision. Even while feeling under the weather, Cohen displayed both grit and leadership qualities in his impressive win. Paulish, Rittenburg, Breitenstein and Malo also played their parts by earning comfortable wins in their respective weight classes. Rittenburg faced a very difficult opponent in Dave Bachy, the third-ranked wrestler in New England, but ultimately handed the skilled Cardinal a tough loss.
Despite the extremely difficult schedule that the team has faced, many of its members have achieved incredible records. Breitenstein is 34-12 while his classmate Rittenburg is 34-9. These two men tied the single season record for most wins that Cohen set last year. Cohen is not doing too badly himself, as he and Paulish have both amassed records of 32-7. Perhaps the most impressive achievement has come from Malo, who came in from Boston College this year and has gone 31-1. He has collected 20 pins this year, another single-season record and one of the highest totals in the entire nation.
After key wins in the last few weeks over Springfield and NYU, among others, the team is now ranked second in the highly competitive New England region. The men look to carry this momentum with them in practice the next two weeks as they gear up for the end of the season. “We challenged ourselves to have a very tough and demanding schedule,” DiCenzo said. “Our next step is to continue to get better and to get ready for the conference championship in two weeks.”
After a junior varsity tournament at Springfield on Sunday, the team will compete in the NECCWA Conference Championship on Feb. 21 and 22, also at Springfield. The team will surely bring high expectations into the tournament with the goal of making the most out of its already record-setting season.