American 174 lber Lucas White (photo courtesy of Sam Janicki; SJanickiPhoto.com)
The dual meet season has come to end, and what a wild season we had! The EIWA still showed some of its parity, but overall, showed how close a lot of these teams were. Team "A" beat Team "B", while Team "B" beat Team "C", but Team "C" beat Team "A". It's the old transitive property of wrestling that does not work out as it does in math class.
This week's outstanding wrestler in the conference was Lucas White of American University. The 174 lb wrestler was 2-1 on the weekend, including a huge win over #19 Nick Incontrera of Penn. Interestingly, he is 11-18 on the year - so this is the right time to get hot! This will be a good momentum heading into March.
The Eagles closed out their dual season with a home match to Binghamton (losing 19-13), and two road matches against Penn (losing 25-9) and Drexel (winning 19-17). American is a tough team with plenty of tough wrestlers. Max Leete (125 lbs) and Jack Maida were 2-1 on the weekend. The standout performance by American came from Lucas White at 174 lbs. He was 2-1 on the weekend with a win over #19 Incontrera of Penn. I have loved Caleb Campos of late at 165 lbs, but ran into 3 NCAA qualifiers this weekend, losing in overtime to Penn's Lucas Revano and by 1 point to Binghamton's Brevin Cassella. Upper weights Connor Bourne (197 lbs) and Will Jarrell performed well at 285 lbs, each going 2-1 on the weekend. The big story of this team is their improvement from only a season ago. Last year, they were 1-12 in duals, 0-5 in the conference. This season, they were 8-12 in duals, while posting a 3-5 record in EIWA competition. I don't believe this staff gets enough credit for the turnaround we've seen from them. Coach Borrelli and company are doing phenomenal things in DC. To make it more impressive, they did this without any ranked wrestlers in the top 33… EIWAs are in two weeks, and they are primed and ready to go. #AmericanMade
The Black Knights hosted Navy to their final dual of the year. Navy won the historic rival 18-13. Starting at 165 lbs, Dalton Harkins had a nice win over EIWA placer, Val Park. Ben Pasiuk (#14 @ 174 lbs) kept his hot streak alive when he beat Sammy Starr by decision. At 125 lbs, Ethan Berginc (#31) earned a major. The final win for Army came at 149lbs. Trae McDaniel (#33) won by decision. The crowd was into this one, but the team fell short of victory. Navy is a tough squad, so pretty much everyone expected a tight match. Army was 6-7 on the year, but had an incredibly tough strength of schedule. With losses to top 10 teams like Nebraska, Iowa, NC State, and Cornell this team did not shy away from competition. This team will compete for a top-five finish at conferences. This team will be ready to compete. #GoArmy
The Bearcats were on the road at American, beating them 19-13. They were then at Maryland, dropping the dual 19-12. It was a big day at American, when Coach Kyle Borshoff was inducted into the American University Sports Hall of Fame for his career as a wrestler. It was a nice homecoming for him. The Bearcats had three wrestlers earn 2-0 records on the weekend. They include Brevin Cassella (#31 @ 165 lbs), Sam DePrez (174 lbs), and Jacob Nolan (#23 @ 184 lbs). This trio has been a nice little murderer's row. Due to the season-ending injury to Lou DePrez at 197 lbs, this row would be five wrestlers long in addition to Cory Day at heavyweight. Speaking of Day (#26 @ 285 lbs), he had a close loss to #24 Jaron Smith of Maryland. This Binghamton team still has some unanswered questions at 133 lbs (Garcia and Sobotker) and 141 lbs (Gannone and Lucier). That will get sorted out shortly before EIWAs. Their 5-13 record may look disappointing, but they lost to 6 top-25-ranked teams, in addition to losing their star athlete in Lou DePrez. Lou's departure was a huge loss, but him being on the staff to finish the year is a nice consolation. This is another team that will be in the battle for the top 5 - as they were 6th a year ago. I am excited to see them perform in two weeks. #EmbraceTheGreen
The Bears were on the road this weekend, with a loss over Harvard (32-10) and a win over Sacred Heart (31-12). Sounding like a broken record, Hunter Adrian (133 lbs) was the star of the team - going 2-0 on the weekend. He had a major and a fall. Topping Adrian with two pins this weekend was Aaron Wolk (197 lbs). Against Sacred Heart, Brown won seven matches with four of them being bonus wins. The team finished 4-10 this season in duals when they were 4-9 a season ago. With the hire of Jordan Leen coming last June, there is more work to be done (as he would admit). Brown has the potential to join the rest of the Ivies, who are raising the league's expectations vastly. Brown seems to be a sleeping giant, and Jordan Leen will make this team better every year. They will have a few guys make some noise at conferences. #EverTrue
The Bison hosted Princeton to a dual. They dropped it 22-12, winning three matches. They saw wins from Kurt Phipps (#26 @ 133 lbs) via decision, Darren Miller (#25 @ 141) by fall, and Nolan Springer at 197 lbs. Dylan Chappell has a one-point loss to Marshall Keller, who was an NCAA qualifier last year. Nick Delp was back into the lineup at 157 lbs. Expect both of them to make a run at EIWAs if healthy. The Bison's record this season was 6-9 after going 12-6 last year. This year's schedule was a little tougher, but losing All-American Zach Hartman was a giant loss to the team. This year's team is not losing much, so expect an improved team next year. This year's conference tournament could be a very good one for Bucknell if the team performs to their ability. #OurWay #rayBucknell
The Lions finished their season with a home win over #29 Maryland. They won 18-16, thanks to winning six of ten matches. They started off hot with a win from Nick Babin (#27 @ 125 lbs) when he knocked off #15 Braxton Brown. EIWA Champ Matt Kazimir (#22 @ 141 lbs) had a win, which was mimicked by #22 Cesar Alvan at 157 lbs. They saw three wins in a row by Josh Ogunsanya (#15 @ 165 lbs), Lennox Wolak (#30 @ 174 lbs), and Aaron Ayzerov at 184 lbs. This made the score 18-9, which ended up being enough to knock off the Terps. Looking at the season, they were 6-7 this year while being 5-3 in EIWA matches. This is improved from last year's 4-10 record, with a similar schedule for comparison. This season, they avenged losses to Lehigh and Princeton from last year. Another point of improvement to mention is when they lost to #14 Pitt 19-18 this year - last year's score was 30-5 while Pitt was ranked 19th. Do not count this team out to be in the top five at EIWAs. They finished 5th last year and will look to improve on that finish this season. #RoarLionRoar #Team120
The Big Red took a trip to Tampa. FL to wrestle Ohio State. Both teams had abbreviated lineups. Ohio State won the match 22-14, thanks to six wins. Cornell had wins from Julian Ramirez (#8 @ 165 lbs), Christian Hansen (174 lbs), and Jacob Cardenas (#15 @ 197 lbs). The match-up of the night was at 133 lbs. Vito Arujau (#3) defeated #8 Jesse Mendez in a 6-1 victory. This match had a lot of potential to be an exciting match-up, but due to being so close to conferences, many starters missed the match to nurse injuries and get healthy to overcome sicknesses. Cornell was the Ivy League Champions this year, repeating from last season. They were 12-3, with losses to #14 Wisconsin, #5 Iowa State, and #6 Ohio State. They will look to repeat as EIWA champions. Currently, Intermat has them ranked as the 4th ranked team in the nation for tournament scoring. A top-five finish would make this one of the best Cornell teams in its rich history. #yellcornell #GOBIGRED
The Dragons were 1-2 on the weekend with a 27-15 win over Cleveland State, and losses to Rider (26-12) and American (19-17). Evan Barczak has been Mr. Reliable for the Dragons. He went 3-0 this weekend, making his record 24-3 on the season (and 92-38 in his career). Mickey O'Malley (#18 # 174 lbs) went 2-0 on Saturday. Brian Bonino (#26 @ 184 lbs) saw action in one match, where he won in tiebreakers. At 149 lbs, Luke Nichter went 2-1 with a lone loss to #22 Quinn Kinner of Rider. With three duals on the weekend, the Dragons used a lot of reserves to keep the team fresh for EIWAs. They finished the year 10-8, which is better than last season's 6-8 record. Experienced vets will carry this team in hopes of a top 5 finish. Expect them to improve their 10th-place finish a season ago, with only 4 placers.
Franklin & Marshall
The Diplomats were off this weekend. They finished the season 8-5 in duals, with freshman Mason Liephart being near the top in all of D1 for most technical falls this season. The team is a little young, but they are scrappy. Expect to see some guys on the podium at EIWAs.
The Crimson hosted Brown on Senior Night. They took the dual 32-10 in dominant fashion. They ran the table from 141lbs through 157lbs thanks to wins by Joe Cangro, Jack Crook, and Trevor Tarsi. The streak continued at the next three weights with wins from Josh Kim (165lbs), Alex Whitworth (174lbs), and Leo Tarantino (184lbs). Yara Slavikouski (#7 @ 285lbs) was a winner by fall. They were 4-4 on the year, which included wins over tough Columbia and Princeton teams. You can expect guys like Yara and Conigliaro (#20 @ 174 lbs) to perform well. But, this team has some young firepower with Sotelo climbing the rankings. Keep an eye out for young talent like Cangro, Crook, and others. I like this team, but a top 5 finish at conferences is a tall order for a team without extensive balance. But, obviously, anything can happen. It will be fun to see them compete at EIWAs. #GoCrimson #OneCrimson
The Pride celebrated their seniors with a win over Cal Baptist 21-15. The dual started at 157 lbs, where Joe McGinty earned a decision win. Also having wins via decision were Ross McFarland (174 lbs) and Jacob Moon (125 lbs). Hofstra scored majors from Trey Rogers (#28 @ 197 lbs), Zachary Knighton-Ward (285 lbs) and Justin Hoyle (141 lbs). Overall, very nice win for Hofstra - even missing 26th ranked Jacob Ferreira (184 lbs). The team ended the year with a 5-6 record, but ended with a two-match win streak. This team has talent. I expect Knighton-Ward to really turn it up at conferences, along with Ferreira and Rogers - who have been ranked all year. Hoyle made the podium last year at 141 lbs. This team could potentially shock some people. If a few guys can "overperform" they will have a satisfactory tournament. #PrideOfLI
The Mountain Hawks were not competing this weekend. They ended their injury-plagued season 9-9, matching their record from a year ago. A majority of these losses came to top-10 teams, which is the status quo for Lehigh in terms of wrestling a tough schedule during the season. This team will fight tooth and nail to bring back the EIWA trophy to Bethlehem. I am always impressed with how well this team peaks in March. I expect nothing less this year. They have a lot of talent that can match up to Cornell at some weights. It will be a very tight team race.
The Sharks spoiled Senior Night, earning an away victory over Sacred Heart 32-9. This was quite the contrast from the previous meeting in November, where LIU won 18-17. With 3 wins this year, the team had more wins than the two previous years combined. This team is better than what is shown on paper. We've seen improvement in the middle of the line-up. Guys like Devin Matthews (141l bs), Drew Witham (149 lbs), Rhise Royster (157 lbs), and Blake Bahna (165 lbs) seem to get better every week. I was always high on Robbie Sagaris at 125 lbs. This team will definitely outperform last year's EIWA results, where they only won a handful of matches as a team. We may see a Shark or two end up on the podium. I am excited to see what the team looks like in five years.
The Midshipmen finished the year 5-6, after this week's vital win over Army 18-13. They were 4-1 in EIWA competition, only losing to Lehigh. The highlight matchup ended the dual at 157 lbs. Andrew Cerniglia defeated Lukez, in a match-up of borderline-ranked guys. Navy is a very solid squad, with five guys ranked in the nation. If healthy, they will be in that battle for a top 5 finish I keep bringing up. Josh Koderhandt (#24 @ 141 lbs) and Cerniglia are both returning EIWA runners-up, while David Key (#30 @ 184 lbs) and Jake Koser (#27 @ 197 lbs) have previous NCAA appearances. #GoNavy #WinTheBattle
The Quakers ended their dual season with a 25-9 win over American. This included the team being down a few starters. Penn's 8-1 record in the EIWA was good for second place in Ivy League Competition, behind Cornell. Their 9-5 record on the season included losses from Iowa, Rutgers, Wisconsin, and Cornell. This team has nine returning NCAA qualifiers, which is the most in the conference. They gave Cornell a run for their money last season at EIWAs. They will host the conference championships, hoping they can use the crowd to their advantage. This team looks to score a ton of points, turn guys on top, and push the pace. They are a very good, team with high mat awareness and IQ. Seeing them compete is always fun. I am looking forward to them at EIWAs. #TheMovement #FightOnPenn
The Tigers defeated Bucknell on the road 22-12 to close out the season. We saw Nick Kayal at 125 lbs earn a win. In the middle of the lineup had nice wins - Marshall Keller (149 lbs) beat a red-hot Dylan Chappell and Ty Whalen beat a tough Delp at 157 lbs. Princeton's 4-11 record this year, including 1-4 in conference matches, was a bit surprising this season. Their high point of the year was beating #8 Arizona State. This team is built for the postseason, with heavy hitters in Glory and Monday - who were both NCAA finalists last season. The rest of the lineup (for the most part) is younger, but very capable. This team is very capable of winning the EIWA crown but will more likely be in the battle for the top 3. The future for this team is very exciting, which is on par with the remainder of the conference. #RaiseTheStakes
The Pioneers closed out the season with a loss to Brown and LIU. Ryan Bolletino had one win at 174 lbs. Andrew Fallon had a win at 133 lbs, and a loss at 141 lbs on the weekend. At 165 lbs, Aidan Zarrella earned a win over Brown. Nick Palumbo was back into the lineup again, winning both of his duals. He will be the guy