Wrestling grapples for 7th in IIAC

On Saturday, wrestling placed seventh at the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tournament following wins over Simpson and Luther on Friday. The Ephs have come a long way since their first match at the Doug Parker Invitational. “The change in performance has been dramatic since our first match. We’ve made big strides,” Head Coach Rich Hasenfus said.

The Ephs witnessed a powerful performance from Cesare Antista ’13 on Saturday. At 141 pounds, Antista won five successive matches for first.

“For Antista to win that tournament is a real big deal,” Hasenfus said. “That’s going to launch him confidence-wise and I think put him in the right step moving forward this year.”

Tri-captain Josh Mattana ’11 entered the IIAC tournament as the fourth seed in the 125-pound weight class. Mattana fell 5-1 in his first match, won his second but was then dropped by Coe College’s Jack O’Brien.

Corey Paulish ’11, wrestling at 149, opened his day by routing Buena Vista University’s Nick Marcus 11-0. Paulish lost his next match 3-2 and was forced to leave the meet after a medical forfeit in his third match.

Darius Charles ’14 entered the IIAC tournament seeded eighth and pinned his first opponent. Another win and a loss preceded the rookie’s medical forfeit later in the day.

Tri-captain Ryan Malo ’11 finished second in the 197-pound weight class. He pinned three opponents before facing Wartburg’s Byron Tate in the championship, who dropped Malo 6-4.

Colin Curzi ’12 and Nikola Mirkovic ’12 competed in the heavyweight division on Saturday. Curzi began the day as the seven seed and went 2-2, while Mirkovic finished in sixth.

The Ephs finished in seventh with 45.5 points. Wartburg took first.

The day before, the Ephs took home two impressive victories against Simpson and Luther. Kaison Tanabe ’13 came up big with a hard-fought victory in the 133-pound weight class over national No. 6 Jayson Swanson. Tanabe then came out victorious over his Simpson opponent 6-4.

Antista managed a crucial escape for a 7-0 victory. He then finished the day by pinning Simpson’s Derek Entz. Paulish also proved impressive against Luther with a decisive 13-2 victory. Paulish dominated against Simpson with an 8-0 major decision win.

Malo cruised to a win in the third round and pinned Simpson’s Jared Bevins early in the second round. Williams beat Luther 23-16 and defeated Simpson 34-10.

The Ephs also competed at the Doug Parker Invitational at Springfield College on Nov. 20. Due to injuries, the squad finished eighth. Antista and Malo finished second in their weight classes, while Paulish finished third.

Williams will compete on Saturday at Oneonta. The team will then wrestle in the Wilkes Open on Dec. 27 before facing Midlands on Dec. 28.