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  • Photo: Tony DiMarco

    Photo: Tony DiMarco

    2023 EIWA Championships Recap

    Columbia head coach Zach Tanelli and assistant coach Joe Nord (Photo/Tony DiMarco)

    The 119th edition of the EIWA Championships was completed last weekend. They produced 45 automatic qualifiers and claimed 10 of the remaining 43 at-large bids. Below is a quick weight-by-weight breakdown. Stay tuned for an NCAA preview once brackets are released.

    125 - 6 Automatic Qualifiers
    1st - Pat Glory
    2nd- Brett Ungar
    3rd - Ryan Miller
    4th - Ethan Berginc
    5th - Nick Babin
    6th - Diego Sotelo

    7th - Carter Bailey
    8th - Mason Leiphart

    Pat Glory earned his 3rd EIWA title with a tight 2-0 win over Ungar. Considering this previous matchup was a decision for Glory, Ungar's improvement is noticeable. The top 6 seeds allocated automatic bids, and all 6 seeds qualified. This weight class ended up pretty much chalk from the seeds. Glory is ready to make a run at the NCAA title. I can watch a round-robin of placers 3-6, as they seem to be relatively even across the board. This is the first trip to NCAAs for Ungar, Berginc, Babin, and Sotelo. Bailey was the 10th seed and showed promising skills to eventually earn the trip to NCAAs in the future. F&M's freshman, Leiphart, earned another tech fall over the weekend. As of now, he leads all D1 wrestlers with 13 technical falls. Not too shabby for a true freshman…

    133 - 5 Automatic Qualifiers, 1 At-Large Selection **
    1st - Vito Arujau
    2nd - Michael Colaiocco
    3rd - Angelo Rini
    4th - Brendan Ferretti
    5th - Jack Maida

    6th - Kyle Waterman
    7th - Kurtis Phipps**
    8th - Hunter Adrian
    DNP - Connor McGonagle**

    This was Vito's weight, as he dominated all with two majors and two tech falls. He looks to have separated himself from Colaiocco, which means a lot because Colaiocco is sixth in the nation at the moment. Columbia's Rini had himself a day, knocking off Phipps of Bucknell and majoring Ferretti of Navy. Maida of American won all of the close ones en route to fifth place. After making a similar run last season, but falling just short, he is Coach Borrelli's first NCAA Qualifier as the head coach at American University. I was told Maida had a sudden family tragedy right before the season started, making this season an emotional one for him. It was a special moment for Jack, the coaches, and the American fanbase. Kurt Phipps had a great regular season, which helped him earn an at-large bid. Speaking of, McGonagle of Lehigh went down in the quarters after a (what seemed to be a pretty serious) knee injury. He was forced to MFF the next match. I am hoping he comes back healthy, as he came into the weekend ranked in the top 8. A healthy McGonagle gives the EIWA three legit opportunities for (3) All-American at this weight.

    141 - 5 Automatic Qualifiers
    1st - Vince Cornella
    2nd - Carmen Ferrante
    3rd - Josh Koderhandt
    4th - Malyke Hines
    5th - Matt Kazimir

    6th - Darren Miller
    7th - Justin Hoyle
    8th - Julian Sanchez

    Vince Cornella dominated this bracket, with three pins and a major. He earned the pinner award thanks to his performance. He shot up the rankings from 17th last week, to now filling in at the 9th spot. He has a golden opportunity to end up on the podium. Ferrante was one of my darkhorses that made me look smart, outplacing his sixth seed. Koderhandt, Hines, and Kazimir are returning to NCAAs - hoping to outperform last year's appearance. Ferrante qualified at 125 lbs years ago. This is his first time back to NCAAs since moving up two weights. Unfortunately, this is the second year in a row Miller of Bukcnell missed qualifying for the NCAA tournament. He needed one win Saturday to start the semifinal round. He lost in tiebreakers to Ferrante, then in overtime to Hines, and 3-0 to last year's champ, Kazimir. What a heartbreaking way to end the season, twice in a row.

    149 - 2 Automatic Qualifiers, 1 At-Large Selection **
    1st - Yianni Diakomihalis
    2nd - Dylan Chappell
    3rd - Doug Zapf**

    4th - Trae McDaniel
    5th - Luke Nichter
    6th - Danny Fongaro
    7th - Max Brignola
    8th - Marshall Keller

    Yianni won his 4th EIWA title. He was the 14th wrestler in history to do so. He barely broke a sweat on the mat. One of the biggest stories of the tournament was the emergence of Dylan Chappell. He lost wrestle-offs at 133lbs, and 141lbs before bumping up to 149lbs. He began as the 5 seed, knocking off McDaniel in overtime in the quarters. Sunday morning's semifinal match with Zapf was won by a scramble in the final minute. What an incredible run to witness! Marshall "Made for March" Keller came into Saturday as the 14th seed, nearly repeating his crazy run from last season. To my knowledge, with the exception of Keller, Zapf and Yianni, all returning placers return. With the COVID year, my assessment could be incorrect. Expect to see a lot of talent next season. I think Chappell will surprise some people at NCAAs, and Zapf will be in the mix as a potential All-American threat. Let's not forget, Yianni will attempt to be the 5th person in NCAA history to win four D1 National Championships. Regardless of the outcome, it has been a pleasure to see Yianni compete in this conference the past 5 years.

    157 - 3 Automatic Qualifiers, 1 At-Large Selection **
    1st - Josh Humphreys
    2nd - Anthony Artalona
    3rd - Nathan Lukez

    4th - Trevor Tarsi
    5th - Nick Delp
    6th - Jack Nies
    7th - Ty Whalen
    8th - Tyler Williams
    DNP - Cesar Alvan **

    Lehigh's Josh Humphreys proved why he's ranked #5 in the country. The only decision of his tournament came in the finals. Artalona used a last-second takedown to defeat Lukez in the semis. Lukez is a fascinating story - as he was a 1X PIAA qualifier in high school. In his first year as a starter, he is an NCAA qualifier. I'm a sucker for storylines, and that's a heck of a story! Cesar Alvan did not place this weekend, losing to Tarsi of Harvard in the quarters, and Williams of Drexel in the consi's. His season was scattered with quality wins - helping him earn an at-large bid. Humphreys is one of those "outside shots to be the champ" type of guys. He has yet to make the podium, finishing round of 12 at NCAAs twice. Artalona is in the exact same boat. Both are looking to win that dreaded, all-important, match to become All-Americans.

    165 - 5 Automatic Qualifiers, 1 At-Large Selection **
    1st - Julian Ramirez
    2nd - Quincy Monday
    3rd - Joshua Ogunsanya
    4th - Brevin Cassella
    5th - Josh Kim

    6th - Dalton Harkins
    7th - Lucas Revano
    8th - Evan Barczak**

    Ramirez proved his first win was no fluke, knocking off the returning NCAA runner-up in the finals in an exciting match. Cassella avenged a loss to Barczak in the quarters, then lost to Ramirez in overtime. Keep an eye on him to make some noise at NCAAs. Kim is a first-time qualifier, winning three overtime bouts to earn a bid. He was the ninth seed entering the weekend. Barczak was the fourth seed, but finished in eighth. His season was strong enough to earn a wild card bid. Ramirez and Quincy are good chances to All-American, at an entertaining weight class. I would not exclude any of the qualifiers from finding the podium. This bracket will be busted in Tulsa - the question is by who?

    174 - 4 Automatic Qualifiers, 2 At-Large Selections **
    1st - Chris Foca
    2nd - Benjamin Pasiuk
    3rd - Lennox Wolak
    4th - Philip Conigliaro

    5th - Sammy Starr
    6th - Nick Incontrera**
    7th - Ross McFarland
    8th - Jake Logan
    DNP - Mickey O'Malley**

    This bracket was thrown out of whack from round one when McFarland beat Conigliaro. Pasiuk defeated Incontrera in the semis, who eventually dropped to sixth due to an injured shoulder. He did earn an at-large bid with O'Malley of Drexel, who went 1-2 on the weekend. Last season O'Malley was round of 12 at this weight. Conigliaro was round of 12 at 165 lbs. Expect Foca to be on the podium, as his lone loss is 3-2 to Lewis (former NCAA champ) of Virginia Tech. Wolak makes his first trip to NCAAs. He had three major decisions, after a win over O'Malley. Pasiuk has been to NCAAs twice already, and has had some great losses on the year to help him compete. This weight is well represented in Tulsa.

    184 - 4 Automatic Qualifiers, 1 At-Large Selection **
    1st - Tate Samuelson
    2nd - Jacob Nolan
    3rd - David Key
    4th - Brian Bonino

    5th - Nate Dugan
    6th - Jacob Ferreira**
    7th - James Conway
    8th - Aaron Ayzerov

    Samuelson was the champ in his first EIWA championships. He is making a rare fifth trip to NCAAs, after qualifying 4X for Wyoming. He was steady with three decisions and one major. Making the most of his fifth year too, was Brian Bonino - he's a first-time qualifier at Drexel after spending 4 years at Columbia. Nolan and Key are both returning to NCAAs after previous trips. It was great to see Ferreira get an at-large bid after a great season, hanging around in the rankings near the mid-20s. It will take some upsets at the weight to bring an All-American back to the EIWA conference. Samuleson's experience may give him the best opportunity to do so.

    197 - 5 Automatic Qualifiers, 1 At-Large Selection **
    1st - Jacob Cardenas
    2nd - Michael Beard
    3rd -Luke Stout
    4th - Jacob Koser
    5th - Trey Rogers

    6th - Jack Wehmeyer
    7th - Sean O`Malley
    8th - Daniel Lawrence
    DNP - Cole Urbas**

    Cardenas may have had the upset of the finals, as not many gave him much of a chance to win this one over Beard. Rightfully so, as Beard won the season match-up 6-2. Cardenas looked great in the semis, dominating Stout 8-1. Minus #1 and #2 being flipped, the top 5 wrestled to their seeds. We did see Wehmeyer of Columbia finish in sixth, with an 11th seed. Lawrence of Army came in as 13th seed - ending the tournament in 8th. Cole Urbas had a rough EIWA tournament, but found himself in the NCAA bracket with an at-large bid. He is dangerous, so he may win a match or more. We all assumed Beard was an All-American, and a potential National Champion, threat. We may need to add Cardenas to this list as well. He looked great this weekend. A finish on the podium would enhance Cornell's odds to bring home a team trophy.

    285 - 6 Automatic Qualifiers, 1 At-Large Selection **
    1st - Grady Griess
    2nd - Nathan Taylor
    3rd - Yaraslau Slavikouski
    4th - Ben Goldin
    5th - Cory Day
    6th - Dorian Crosby

    7th - Brendan Furman
    8th - Austin Kohlhofer
    DNP - Travis Stefanik**

    Similar to 197 lbs, many assumed the top seed, Slavikouski, would finish on top. Lehigh's Nathan Taylor beat him in the semifinals to earn a spot in the finals, where he lost to Griess in overtime. For those that like stats, Lehigh has now had an EIWA finalist at heavyweight since 2018. The at-large bid given at this weight class was Princeton's Stefanik, who was the EIWA runner-up at 184lbs last season. It will be fun to see Goldin, Day, and Crosby at NCAAs. After the top-tier guys, this weight class can get pretty wide open for anyone to go on a run.

    Team Race:

    Cornell 165.5 points
    Lehigh 120.5 points
    Penn 106 points
    Columbia 95 points
    Navy 95 points
    Army West Point 82.5 points
    Princeton 81.5 points

    The Big Red ran away with this one after the first day. Having 6 champs will do that. This was the most points by the team champ at EIWAs since Cornell's 170.5 in 2016. The margin from first to second was also the largest since that 2016 season. Many expected this outcome - the biggest discussion was the race for second. Penn was the runner-up last year, falling just short of that this season. The team that many were talking about was Columbia, who finished tied for fourth. Coach Tanelli has done a great job there, having his guys peak at the right time. They are taking 6 to NCAAs, which is the third most in the conference. Penn is bringing 8 to the show, while Cornell is bringing 7. Personally, I love seeing teams like Navy and Army in the top 5 or 6. Tradition of the conference is usually Cornell and Lehigh at the top, which remains the same this year. It is always fascinating to see who filters in behind them. Maybe one day there will be a change in guard at the top, but that day is not today.

    Brackets and Team Results can be found here:

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