Wrestling is living up to the expectations set by its No. 1 New England ranking. The team finished fifth at the Spartan Invitational against a large group of teams from across the East Coast on Saturday, and won the Doug Parker Invitational at Springfield College on Nov. 21 in their season opener.
At the Spartan Invitational, the Ephs had eight wrestlers place in the top six in their respective weight classes. Williams had strong performances from Josh Mattana ’11 and Nate Shippee ’11, who had a fourth place finish in the 125 lb. and 184 lb. weight class, respectively. Kaison Tanabe ’13 also showed well, finishing in fifth place in the 133 lb. weight class. Rookies Ces Antista ’13 and Tom Foote ’13 battled for fourth place finishes as well. Co-captain Dylan Rittenburg ’10 had a strong showing as well, finishing second in 141 lb. weight class.
Both Corey Paulish ’11, wrestling at 149, and co-captain Carl Breitenstein ’10, wrestling at 157, finished second as well. “Both competed very hard against national level competition . . . and I was very excited to see them step up to the challenge,” said Head Coach Dan DiCenzo. “They are both tireless workers that enjoy wrestling great competition. They both need to continue to improve, and I know they will push each other and their teammates to get better.” Breiteinstein was also named Conference Player of the Week for his impressive efforts last weekend.
The Ephs finished well even without Ryan Malo ’11, who was wrestling against Div. I competition at the Penn State Open. Although he did not place, Malo was able to go 4-2 on the weekend.
The Ephs’ first-place finish at Doug Parker before Thanksgiving was the highest they have ever placed in the tournament. Williams’ victory was a “total team effort,” according to DiCenzo. “Coach Hektoen and I were very pleased with our teams performance … our goal is to be one of the best teams in the country.”
The Ephs relied on strong showings in all weight classes, including second place finishes by Tanabe and Shippee. Rittenburg and Malo won their respective weight classes, while Breitenstein finished third. DiCenzo was “very pleased with the style, confidenc and aggressiveness that Rittenburg and MaloÂ executed,” and he felt that Breitenstein “battled … extremely well” in his matches. Key contributors also included Paulish, Mattana, and Antista.
The Eph grapplers’ next opportunity to demonstrate their prowess and improvement will be Saturday at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.