Competing against 17 other teams last weekend at the NCAA Div. III Northeast Regionals, wrestling (18-2) continued its strong record of success this season. The Ephs secured a third-place finish at Regionals with 101 points, placing only behind Ithaca College, who scored 128.5 points, and Johnson and Wales (JWU), who scored 106. Four Ephs– Jake Savoca ’18, Tim Garripoli ’16, Chris Chorzepa ’17 and tri-captain Jorge Lopez ’16 – qualified for NCAA Championships in Hershey, Penn. by placing in the top three for their respective weight classes, with Lopez returning to the Purple Valley as the regional champion in his weight class.
In the 125-lb. weight class, Matt Morris ’18, No. 5 for the tournament, competed in his first round matchup against the nationally 10th-ranked wrestler in his weight class before falling by decision, 9-3. Morris triumphed over his SUNY Oneonta opponent, whom he pinned in 4:10 to secure third place. Morris ultimately ended his season with a loss by decision, 9-5, and an impressive 28-11 individual record in his first year wrestling with the Ephs.
Competing in the 133-lb. weight class, No. 8 tri-captain Dan Evangelakos ’15 fell in his first match of the tournament before redeeming himself with two wins. Evangelakos subsequently faced the No. 4 wrestler in his weight class from JWU. Though he competed valiantly until the end of the match, Evangelakos did succumb to his opponent by decision, 7-3. He finished his career as an Eph with a 17-14 record on the season.
Jake Savoca ’18 exhibited a strong performance in the 141-lb. weight class. Though Savoca had to concede his first semifinals match due to an injury, he fought hard in the wrestle back to win by technical fall.
Wrestling in the 149-lb. weight class, Tim Garripoli ’16 suffered his first loss in this weight class all season in his opening semifinal bout but came back strong in the wrestle back with a win by decision to secure his place in the battle for third place. Facing off against an opponent from JWU, Garripoli earned his ticket to his first-ever NCAA Championships with a win by decision, 4-2.
In the 157-lb. weight class, Lopez achieved a 24-1 season record. He became the first Eph ever to ever qualify for three NCAA tournaments in his first three years at the College and to earn All-American honors each year, as well as the lone Eph ever to repeat as a regional champion. Lopez won on Sunday by major decision,10-2, before heading into the championship match against a grappler from Ithaca College. Lopez reclaimed his regional title with a 5-2 win.
Chris Chorzepa ’17 wrestled in the 184-lb. weight class, entering the day of competition with an undefeated record. However, a closely contested match against a Cortland State opponent ended in 6-5 loss by decision. However, Chorzepa put up a strong showing in the wrestle back, as he won his first consolation bout with a major decision, 8-0, before earning third place in a subsequent win by decision, 10-3. Chorpeza returns for NCAA Championships.
In the 197-lb. weight class, Anthony Brooks ’16 came back after a loss on Saturday to win, earning his chance to compete on Sunday. Facing off against an opponent from Southern Maine, Brooks ultimately conceding the bout by decision, 2-1. Brooks concluded his season with a 20-16 record.
Head Coach Scott Honecker strongly approved of his team’s performance, saying, “The team really brought the heat this weekend at the regional. Our guys wrestled as well as they have all season and for the most part took the results they deserved. We need to tune up because for the four we have still going they now have a whole new goal structure.”
The four Ephs competing at NCAA Championships will prepare for the next two weeks before heading to Hershey, Penn. on March 14 where the nation’s best wrestlers will compete to end the season the strongest.