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Ithaca repeats as Northeast Regional champion

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- The nationally-ranked Ithaca College wrestling team had its sights set on winning an NCAA Northeast Regional championship, and the Bombers walked away from Sunday's competition as two-time defending regional champions after six student-athletes qualified for the NCAA championships.

Ithaca, ranked fifth in the country by D3wrestle.com and eighth in the country by the National Wrestling Coaches' Association (NWCA) scored 144 points to edge Roger Williams by 7.5 points for the team title.

A wrestler needed to place in the top three in the weight class to qualify for the NCAA championships, and the following Bombers will make the trip to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, March 11 and 12 for the Division III championships: junior Nick Velez (won the 165-pound weight class), sophomore Bryan Israel (second at 133), junior Carlos Toribio (second at 184), senior Dan Glinko (second at 285), junior Jimmy Kaishian (third at 125), and junior Nick Wahba (third at 141).

Longtime Bomber head coach Marty Nichols was honored as the Coach of the Year, and assistant coach Seth Ecker earned Assistant Coach of the Year honors.

On day two of the Northeast Regionals, hosted by Springfield College, the Bombers capped their strong showing with 10 regional place winners on their way to the championship.

Sophomore Jaison White (174) and freshman Jake Ashcraft (197) placed fifth in their weight classes, while seniors Dan Pak (149) and Eamonn Gaffney (157) placed sixth.

Velez beat out Roger Williams' Alec Golner by a 4-0 decision to earn the title at 165. The junior won against Justin Marsh from Worcester Polytechnic 10-2 in the semifinals to earn his spot at the national tournament. It is Velez' second straight trip to the NCAA tournament.

Israel secured his first NCAA appearance at Ithaca thanks to a 10-2 major decision win over Joseph Ferinde (Johnson & Wales). He fought hard in the championship bout against Tyler Keane (Springfield) before falling 4-3.

Toribio handed Joe Albina (Roger Williams) an 8-0 major decision setback in the semifinals but dropped a 9-2 decision to No. 1 Christop Chorzepa in the finals. This will be Toribio's first trip to the NCAA championships.

Glinko will also be making his first trip to the NCAA championships thanks to a 5-1 victory over Martin Strenk (Williams) in the semifinals. Glink lost to Jake Benedict (Springfield) 6-3 in the championship bout.

For the third straight year, Kaishian will be heading to the NCAA tournament, but it wasn't easy for Ithaca's co-captain. After losing his first match Saturday, Kaishian had to wrestle his way through the consolation bracket to have a shot at a repeat NCAA appearance. Kaishian won all five of his matches, including a 7-3 decision over Matt Morris (Williams) to cement his third straight NCAA appearance.

Wahba suffered an 8-3 loss in the semifinals, but bounced back with a 4-2 decision of Richard Dennison (Oneonta) and a 6-4 win over Derak Heyman (Cortland) to place third and earn his first-ever trip to the NCAA championships.

The Bombers have competed in the Division III national championships 33 straight years, claiming championships in 1989, 1990, and 1994.

Two individuals earned All-American honors at NCAA's in 2015 as Ithaca has produced 20 All-Americans since 2010, and 107 in the proud history of Ithaca wrestling.

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