Wrestling (13-5, 3-0 in the NESCAC), ranked third in New England, finished the dual match portion of its schedule in Springfield, Mass., taking on WPI, ranked sixth in New England, and Springfield College, ranked seventh in the region.
The men were edged out by WPI 18-16 in their first match of the day when they were docked with a stall call in the final bout of the match and an unsportmanlike penalty point, resulting in the WPI win.
Against WPI, the Ephs lost two sudden victory matches and two major decision bouts, competing without three-time All-American co-captain Jorge Lopez ’16.
Williams opened up a 9-3 lead over WPI after wins by Jake Savoca ’18 at 149 and Gabe Corrochano ’17 at 141, but then WPI took control of the match. WPI won the next three bouts, which included two major decision victories.
The Ephs attempted to rally behind a technical fall win by co-captain Chris Chorzepa ’17 at 184 and a decision by co-captain Anthony Brooks ’16 at 197. Chorzepa’s win at 184 raised his season record to 34-0.
Martin Strenk ’17 wrestled up in weight to compete in the heavyweight bout, and he was trailing 3-1 when he was called for a stall late in the match. Head Coach Scott Honecker questioned the stall call and was assessed a mis-conduct penalty of one point, a penalty that would prove pivotal in the final score of the match.
In the nightcap versus host Springfield, Williams won 22-19, an impressive victory over a top-ranked opponent.
The men trailed 17-10 with three bouts remaining, but Williams won all three to claim the victory. Co-captain Tim Garripoli ’16 at 165 triumphed in a tight 2-1 decision. Corrochano at 141 provided a decisive win to help keep the Ephs in the meet.
Chorzepa at 184 won by forfeit, raising his season record to 35-0 and narrowing the Springfield lead to one at 17-16. Brooks at 197 gave the men a 19-17 lead when he won an 8-3 decision over Seve Burgos. The strong wrestling of Matt Morris ’18 would prove pivotal in both matches at 125, as he took two wins by decision against quality opponents.
Strenk then sealed the win in the heavyweight bout. He opened the year competing at 184 but as of late has been wrestling up. He edged Springfield’s Irakli Kakauridze 3-2, giving Williams the 22-19 win.
“This is the best time of year,” Head Coach Scott Honecker said. “We competed well this past weekend, got a good win and took a tough loss. With the season coming to an end, we can’t reflect for too long. We can’t let the season wind down; we have to sprint to the finish with excitement and enthusiasm.”
With the win over Springfield, Honecker moved into second place all-time in NCAA Division III wrestling wins for a coach at the College with 54, moving past Roger Caron’s 53. Honecker in four years has an overall record of 54-26 (.675).
Mike Whalen, the current athletic director at Wesleyan and a former assistant football and head football coach and wrestling coach at Williams, is the all-time leader with 83 wins. Whalen finished at 83-86-1.
Next weekend, the younger Eph team members will compete in the Futures Tournament. The tournament will be hosted by Roger Williams University in Bristol, R.I. on Sunday at 10 a.m.
On February 27-28, the top Williams competitors will head back to Springfield College to compete in the NCAA Northeast Regional in search of securing a berth in the NCAA Championships at 9 a.m.
The top three finishers at the NCAA Northeast Regional in each weight class advance to the NCAA Championships, which will be held in Cedar Rapids, IA on March 11-12 at 9 a.m.