Wrestling dominates at National Championships

Wrestling (18-2, 4-0 in the NESCAC) concluded its 2014-15 season with a strong showing at NCAA Div. III Wrestling Championships last weekend in Hershey, Penn. The Ephs placed 10th in the national tournament with tri-captain Jorge Lopez ’16 placing third in the 157-lb. weight class and Chris Chorzepa ’17 earning fourth place in the 184-lb. weight class. This is the second year in a row in which Lopez and Chorzepa both earned All-American honors. Lopez is only the fourth Eph ever to achieve this distinction three times.tim

Competition began for the men with the first match for Jake Savoca ’18 in the 141-lb. weight class. Savoca got on the scoreboard first with a takedown in the middle of the first period. Unfortunately, Savoca subsequently lost his first match in the wrestle back by decision, 11-7, to conclude his first season as an Eph with an impressive 32-10 record.

Tim Garripoli ’16 began his Nationals appearance with a first round bout. However, Garripoli ultimately lost by decision, 7-1. Garripoli entered the wrestle back and gave up his first match by decision, 9-4. Garripoli ended his season on the team with a 30-10 record, his strongest season record in his career as an Eph.

Chorzepa entered his first bout against an opponent from Heidelberg College. Chorzepa fought valiantly throughout the entire match. Unfortunately, his opponent produced two takedowns and a near fall in the final minutes to take the victory by decision, 15-12, and send Chorzepa into the wrestle back. However, the consolation rounds proved a strong showing for Chorzepa. The wrestler secured a victor by major decision, 8-0, earning his right to compete on the second day of competition with a subsequent win by major decision, 8-0. This match also ensured Chorzepa of his second All-American honor.

In his first match on Saturday, Chorzepa decimated his opponent, pinning him in a blisteringly fast 1:14. Chorzepa entered his next match, ultimately winning the rematch by decision, 12-6, to advance into the bout for the bronze medal. Chorzepa trailed by the end of the first period 10-5 before coming back strong in the second to narrow his opponent’s lead to 10-8 before entering the third. Chorzepa ultimately conceded this match by decision, 13-11. Chorzepa finished fourth in the nation with an incredible season record of 42-3.

Seeded No. 3 for the tournament, Lopez easily advanced past his first opponent with a win by major decision, 12-4, that guaranteed him All-American honors. In his quarterfinals match, Lopez concluded the match rapidly, pinning his opponent in 0:49. In his semi-final match, Lopez lost by decision, 3-1. In the consolation battle to earn the right to fight for the bronze, Lopez concluded the first period with a 2-1 lead. Lopez subsequently decimated his opponent in the rest of the match for third place, pinning his opponent in only 2:24 to earn his second-straight NCAA bronze medal. Lopez ends his season with an amazing 29-2 record.

Overall, with 33 points earned as a team, the team came in 10th in the nation and first for the New England region. Head Coach Scott Honecker is proud of what his team has accomplished this season, commenting on the weekend: “The team was really focused and competed well at NCAAs. A top-10 finish and our all-time points record make for an outstanding weekend.  Still, our guys identified a lot of areas for improvement at NCAAs and, knowing we bring all of our qualifiers back, need to embark on a new path of dedication to wrestling excellence.”

With the end of the season comes the departure of the team’s graduating seniors: Dan Kurnick ’15, tri-captain Dan Evangelakos ’15 and tri-captain Kyle Gaffney ’15.