In the upcoming season, wrestling hopes to outperform last season’s fifth-place finish at the New England Championships and 24th place finish at the Div. III National Championship. Three Ephs competed in the Div. III National Championship last year: Ces Antista ’13, Tom Foote ’13 and Jorge Lopez ’16. Of the three, Lopez placed highest with a sixth-place finish in the 149-lb weight class. Antista and Lopez both earned All-American honors and Lopez became the only first-year All-American wrestler in the history of the College.
The Ephs’ success at the tournament marked the third top 25 finish in the history of the wrestling program at the College, as well as the third time the team had two All-American finishers in the same year.
The men graduated five seniors last season: Mir Henglin ’13, Scott Sanderson ’13, Kaison Tanabe ’13, Antista and Foote.
“The seniors from last year were a tremendous group, both on the mat and academically,” co-captain Carson Brooks ’14 said. “They set a stellar example for the rest of the team, and it will be a challenge for the new upperclassmen to replicate their good example.”
Foote became involved as an assistant coach in the wrestling program, led by Head Coach Scott Honecker, and has remained an instrumental influence on the team.
“Tom Foote was a great wrestler for us and the kind of person that is impossible to replace,” Brooks said. “I feel very lucky to have him come back for another year on the coaching staff. It will be an especially good opportunity for the heavyweights that get to the chance to wrestle with him every day in practice.”
In the wake of graduating such a talented senior class, this year’s rookies, consisting of Christopher Chorzepa ’17, Gabriel Corrochano ’17, Kevin Hernandez ’17, CJ Levin ’17, Martin Strenk ’17, Ben Wertz ’17 and Austin Wruble ’17, will have to perform well.
“We have a highly talented group of freshmen this year that are all eager to prove themselves here at Williams,” Brooks said. “I look forward to challenging for a New England title once we get them fully integrated into the lineup and accustomed to the higher level of collegiate wrestling.”
The team is looking to maintain last year’s momentum over the course of the upcoming season by staying focused and working hard both in the gym and on the mat.
“The wrestling season is long, including an interruption for winter break, so it is critical to demand a high standard from ourselves day in and day out,” Brooks said. “The best way for the team to do this is to stay focused on what goals we all want to achieve, both individually and as a team, and then practice in a way that will allow us to be successful in those endeavors.”
With a remarkable dedication to the sport and the talent to realize its athletic goals, wrestling is optimistic about the season ahead. The men open the season by hosting Trinity this Saturday at 1 p.m.