Wrestling grappled to a 1-2 finish at home Saturday in a quad meet against Wesleyan, Oneonta State and Plymouth. The men were hindered by several key injuries that forced them to forfeit matches in the 149 lb and 157 lb weight classes against Oneonta and Wesleyan. The quad meet followed a 2-1 performance at the Metro/New England Duals on Jan. 29 as the men surged past Hunter 26-22, handling NYU 28-16 and ultimately falling to 14th-ranked TCNJ. The week before the Metro/NE Duals the Ephs competed in the New England Wrestling Association (NEWA) Duals, where they finished with a 2-2 record overall. The men also hosted Springfield Jan. 19, losing a close meet by a score of 19-15.
Tom Foote ’13 and tri-captain Ryan Malo ’11 won their opening matches against Oneonta in the heavyweight division, with Malo earning a pin of his opponent just one minute into the second period. Tri-captain Josh Mattana ’11 and Kaison Tanabe ’13 claimed decisive victories over their opponents in the 125 lb and 133 lb weight classes, respectively, but Oneonta would take the next three matches, two of which arose from injury forfeits. Kyle Martin ’12 sought to put the Ephs back on track as he grappled to a victory in the 165 lb weight class and tied the score at 19. With the score knotted, the match was decided in the 174 lb weight class, where the Ephs tapped Zeb Levine ’11 to wrestle up from his typical 165 lb weight class. Despite a close match, Levine was unable to defeat his Oneonta counterpart, and the men fell by a score of 22-19.
The men next took on their conference rivals from Wesleyan. Mike Lomio ’14 won the first match out of the 184 lb class by one point to give the Ephs the initial lead. Malo continued his dominant season by downing Wesleyan’s Luke Ericson in the 197 lb class. “Malo is wrestling at a different level than anyone in our conference. He’s wrestled a lot of Div. I kids in the Midlands and at Simpson, and those matches are paying dividends now,” said Head Coach Rich Hasenfus. Nikola Mirkovic ’12 wrestled a tight match in the 285 lb weight class to claim the team’s final victory of the match. The men went on to lose seven straight matches, three by forfeit, on the way to a 30-10 defeat at the hands of the Cardinals.
Williams’ final match of the meet came against the squad from Plymouth. The Ephs claimed a 26-18 victory with a team effort that relied on the squad’s depth. Malo stepped up to provide his third victory of the day, pinning his opponent in the first minute. The Ephs also received contributions from Taylor Treadgold ’14 in the 125 lb weight class, Mattana, who was wrestling up at 133, Tanabe in the 141 lb weight class and Carson Brooks ’14 at 149.
“[This weekend] was the first time all year that we’ve had to forfeit matches … If just one of our injured guys wrestled, we could have won two of the three meets, and with all three, we could have won all three meets,” said Hasenfus.
The team ground to a 26-22 victory over Hunter in the Metro/NE Duals. The match was tied at 10 at the halfway point, but Hunter soon captured three straight matches to take a 22-10 lead. The Ephs were not finished yet, however, as their three heavyweights, Lomio, Malo and Foote, all claimed victories to earn the team 16 points and push past the Hawks 26-22.
“We’re really fortunate to have three good heavyweights that are all highly competitive. Most teams don’t have three heavyweights. I can put any of them in the lineup and feel confident,” said Hasenfus.
The men then claimed victory over NYU. In the same weight class, tri-captain Corey Paulish ’11 defeated Dan Gorman – the sixth-ranked wrestler in his weight class for the Metro Region – in an easy 12-3 effort. Williams’ heavyweight squad brought three more wins home, as Lomio, Malo and Foote disposed of their opponents to score the Ephs a 28-16 victory.
Williams’ final match at the Metro/NE Duals pitted the men against 14th-ranked TCNJ; Williams entered the match ranked 30th nationally. Mattana earned his third victory of the day with a major decision out of the 125 lb weight class in the first match, and Malo and Foote finished their days with wins. However, the Ephs were unable to master their opponents in the middle-weight classes, and fell 36-13.
The men split their matches at the NEWA Duals on Jan. 23 at Bridgewater State. Williams cruised to a 44-0 victory over Norwich, earning pins from Mattana, Brooks and Martin.
In the second round, the men took on the squad from Bridgewater State. Mattana defeated the top-ranked wrestler in New England, while Paulish scored a technical fall at 3:23 to put the Ephs up early. The Bears rebounded, claiming five of the next six matches to pull ahead 19-18. Foote wrestled in the final and decisive match of the day and brought home a 5-2 victory to put Williams back on top with a final score of 21-19.
The grapplers then took on Wesleyan, the second-ranked squad in New England entering the day, in the semi-finals. While Ces Antista ’13 and Malo were able to defeat their opponents, victories were scarce for the Ephs: They fell to the Cardinals 28-7.
Williams took on Springfield in the third-place match. The Ephs’ heavyweights turned in more impressive performances: Lomio claimed his third victory of the day and Malo pinned his opponent in the second round. Tanabe also contributed to the Ephs’ effort with a second-round pin of his own. The Springfield squad proved too deep, however, and the men lost by a score of 21-19 to earn fourth place in the tournament.
Williams’ loss to Springfield was their second of the week, as the men lost a close match to the team 15-19 at home on Jan. 19. The Williams squad entered the day at a disadvantage: Antista and Malo, both ranked first in their weight classes in New England, were injured and unavailable for competition. .
The men will compete against Norwich and the University of Southern Maine at Norwich on Saturday.