Three Williams wrestlers traveled to Coe College this past weekend to compete in the NCAA Div. III Tournament. Williams finished 23rd overall, as Ryan Malo ’11 finished second in the 197 pound weight class, while co-captain Carl Breitenstein ’10, at 157 pounds, and Corey Paulish ’11, at 149 pounds, fell early in their respective weight classes.
Malo had a phenomenal season that continued all the way to NCAAs, where he claimed a berth in the finals with the hopes of improving on his second place finish last season. Byron Tate of Wartburg College, who had upset the No. 1 seed in an earlier matchup, snapped Malo’s 38-match winning streak in the championship match, beating the second-time All-American 8-5. The match was Malo’s fifth loss of the season, and his only loss to a Div. III wrestler all year.
This year marked several milestones for Malo, as well as for the Williams wrestling program. Malo set the record for single-season wins, tallying 46 victories on the season, and led both Williams and the NCAA with a single-season record of 38 pins.
“Ryan will be disappointed about this loss, but he truly had a great season, accomplished a lot, and showed great improvement from last season,” Head Coach Dan DiCenzo said. “He is one of the best wrestlers in Div. III history, and he is only a junior. He should be proud of the great weekend he had.”
Despite his fourth place finish at last year’s NCAA tournament, as well as his excellent 38-7 record on the season, Paulish was not awarded a seeded-draw this year in NCAAs. This unfortunate event resulted in a random draw that ultimately pitted him against No. 1 seed Blaine Wozsczah in his first match of the weekend. Paulish fell to Wozsczak 10-6. However, he was able to rally and defeat Kevin Sutherland of Rhode Island College 5-2, allowing him to continue on in the tournament to grapple for a chance at an All-American title. Paulish met conference rival John Marsh of Bridgewater State in what was to be his last match of the season. Although he wrestled well, Paulish ultimately succumbed, losing the match 7-2 as well as the opportunity to claim All-American. Marsh went on to finish fifth in the tournament.
DiCenzo was ultimately quite pleased with Paulish’s effort this weekend and throughout the year. “Corey had a great season and wrestled well out here,” DiCenzo said. “I was very disappointed with the seeding committee not recognizing him for such a strong season.” In addition to making the All-American round, Paulish was named a Scholar All-American for the second consecutive season.
Breitenstein did not fare as well as Paulish, falling early in the event: His showing at NCAAs did not measure up to either his strong collegiate career or his impressive senior season performance.
Breitenstein started the tournament against the seventh-seeded Adam Weber of Wartburg College and was pinned by his opponent in 4:07. Breitenstein’s tournament did not get any easier in next match: The Eph went up against Nick Loughan, the No. 2 seed from Cornell. Loughan defeated Breitenstein, ending the latter’s tournament competition as well as his season. Breitenstein finishes his career as the leader in Williams career wins, a four-time All-Conference Wrestler and a two-time Scholar All-American.
“Carl got a tough draw at the tournament and wrestled well, but was not as sharp as he had been earlier this season,” DiCenzo said.
“[Carl had beaten] two of the wrestlers [from his weight class] that made All-American … earlier in the season, which should attest to the senior’s strong performance this year, despite his disappointing NCAA run,” Dicenzo said. DiCenzo attested this result to stiff post-season competition.
With Malo and Paulish returning next season, flush with hopes of improvement from this year’s result, the future looks bright for the men. Despite the impending loss of five seniors—Breitenstein, Paul Fraulo ’10, Andrew Gatewood ’10, Dylan Rittenberg ’10 and Nathan Shippee ’10—the quad will return 22 grapplers, 10 of them freshmen, for the 2010-11 season.