Diego Sotelo on the Midlands podium (photo courtesy of Sam Janicki; SJanickiPhoto.com)
We are getting into the juicy dual meet part of the season. This week's highlights include American earning 3 one-point wins on Sunday to win the Chippewa Challenge, after going 0-3 at the same event a year ago. Binghamton's Lou DePrez (#9 @ 197lbs) is officially out for the season and was added to the coaching staff. This was his last year of eligibility, so we may expect him to stick around for a few years. This is very unfortunate, as we had high hopes for Lou earning All-American honors. Speaking of coaching changes, Harvard added Uzbekistan's Bekzod Abdurakhmonov to the staff as a volunteer assistant. He is currently ranked fourth in the world at 70kgs, already adding an Olympic bronze to his resume in Toyko. His brother, Muzaffar, is an assistant at Harvard.
This week's outstanding performance is Harvard's 125lber, Diego Sotelo. He had a great weekend, knocking off a former NCAA Qualifier in Micah Roes of Binghamton. After that, he defeated #13 Brett Ungar of Cornell, who has been having a phenomenal year thus far. After these wins, plus splitting matches with Ryan Miller of Penn, he finds himself in the conversation for a top 3 finish at conferences. Congratulations to this week's outstanding wrestler, Diego Sotelo!
The Eagles wrestled in the Chippewa Challenge, including duals against Central Michigan, Cal State Bakersfield, and Campbell. American walked away with the trophy, winning all three bouts by a single point. What a remarkable effort by the team to achieve this. Just a season ago, American wrestled the same three teams and won six total matches in 3 dual meets. The results this year are a complete 180, avenging each loss. We saw Max Leete go 2-1 on the day with another pin, his 10th on the season. Caleb Campos (165 lbs) has been 9-1 since the start of December. He went 3-0 on the weekend, including two majors. At 197 lbs, Connor Bourne went 2-0 in his two matches on the day. American used a bunch of other wrestlers to help keep the line-up fresh. It was a total team effort, in both the bouts won and lost. An example is when Devon Capato (149 lbs) chipped half his tooth and continued to wrestle. A forfeit would have been a loss for the team in these tightly contested bouts. Following a long day of wrestling, the Eagles will be off this weekend.
The Black Knights were off this weekend. They have two conference home matches this week in Cornell and Bucknell.
The Bearcats defeated Harvard in EIWA action 19-13 at Harvard. Ivan Garcia (133 lbs) and Michael Zarif (149 lbs) each earned decision. Brevin Cassella (165 lbs) had a pivotal win over Joshua Kim. At 174 lbs, Sam DePrez earned a major in his return back to action, followed up by a decision by Jacob Nolan (#19 @ 184 lbs). Filling in at 197 lbs for the injured Lou DePrez, Dimitri Gamkrelidze earned the deciding overtime win to give Binghamton the team a win. This team has some big shoes to fill after Lou's season-ending injury. We'll see Hofstra at Binghamton on Thursday. Binghamton will travel to Navy on Sunday.
The Bears lost to the EIWA powerhouse Cornell 35-6 last weekend. In order to avoid the shutout, two Brown wrestlers had nice wins. Hunter Adrian (133 lbs) has been wrestling very well lately, beating Ethan Fernandez 4-2. His strong second-semester start is continuing. In overtime at 157 lbs, Sam McMonagle earned a win over Cole Handlovic. It's good to see Sam up from 141 lbs a year ago having success in his new weight. This was a tough out for Brown, as Cornell is the cream of the crop in the conference. But, this week they'll have three opportunities for some EIWA wins when they face off against Penn, Drexel, and Princeton Friday and Saturday.
The Bison hosted the Drexel Dragons on Sunday, dropping the dual 23-13. The match started at 285 lbs, where Dorian Crosby wrestled to a major decision. He has been on fire lately for Bucknell. The two ranked wrestlers Kurt Phipps (#22 @ 133 lbs) and Darren Miller (#20 @ 141 lbs) each earned a close decision to keep Bucknell in the lead. The last win came from Nolan Springer at 197 lbs. The young, inexperienced team wrestled well. As mentioned in the past, there are a ton of true freshmen in the starting lineup. They are wrestling tough, but the team will need some time to develop. I am excited for the future of this team. This upcoming week, they will face LIU, Rider, and Army in a weekend full of wrestling.
Columbia split duals this weekend with their Ivy League foes, Princeton and Penn. They used three pins in Friday's dual to defeat Princeton 27-13. Aaron Ayzerov had a pin over Nate Dugan at 184 lbs, Nick Babin (#26 @ 125 lbs) secured one, and finally, Matt Kazimir (#24 @ 141 lbs) earned a fall for the Lions. The other three wins came by a one-score decision for Columbia. Lennox Wolak (#33 @ 174 lbs) and Cesar Alvin (#26 @ 157 lbs) each won, while Danny Fongaro defeated returning NCAA qualifier, Marshall Keller.
The Penn dual was a battle lost by the Lions, 25-9. Matt Kazimir beat Carmen Ferrante 1-0. Josh Ogunsanya (#17 @ 165 lbs) had an overtime win over #32 Lucas Revano. The big upset of the match came at 157 lbs when Alvan defeated #12 Anthony Artalona in overtime. This team's improvement is on notice. Last year, they lost to an identical Princeton team 27-12. They've turned the tables this season. This weekend, they will have the perennial EIWA top dogs Lehigh and Cornell at home.
The Big Red were on an Ivy League road trip, beating Brown 35-6 and Harvard 27-12. Battling some injuries, we saw Ethan Fernandez wrestle for Vito at 133 lbs. He went 1-1 on the day. Evan Canoyer was in at 174 lbs, earning two wins. At 285 lbs, Brendan Furman was 1-1 on the day filling in for the injured and ranked Lewis Fernandes. The usual suspects for Cornell had a typical (winning) day at the office - including Yianni (#1 @ 149 lbs), Cornella (#16 @ 141 lbs), Julian Ramirez (#7 @ 165lbs), and Jacob Cardenas (#17 @ 197 lbs). It was great to see Cornell's returning All-American back at 184 lbs. Jon Loew earned two pins. This week, the Big Red will stay in state, but travel to Army and Columbia for EIWA duals.
The Dragons defeated a young Bucknell team 23-13, winning six of ten matches. Freshman Gabe Giampietro started the match off at 125 lbs with a pin. He can still utilize his redshirt, as Antonio Mininno will be back from injury soon The Nichter brothers each won by decision over the Bower brothers of Bucknell - Luke (#27 @ 149 lbs) wrestled Braden Bower and Tate (157 lbs) defeated Riley Bower. Following up after was Evan Barczak (#18 @ 165 lbs) with a major. Cody Walsh was next up at 174 lbs, also earning a major. 25th-ranked Brian Bonino continued his winning ways with a 3-2 win. Sometimes, a close loss is not a bad thing to mention. Kyle Waterman (133 lbs) lost a tight 2-0 match to #22 Kurt Phipps. The same goes for freshman, Jordan Soriano at 141 lbs - losing 4-2 to #20 Darren Miller. This Saturday, the Dragons will host Brown for a dual.
Franklin & Marshall
Franklin and Marshall hosted Gettysburg College to a mid-week dual on Wednesday. They won 36-6, only losing two bouts. On Saturday, they split duals with LIU (29-11) and Hofstra (12-21). Mason Leiphart (125lbs) earned another tech fall on the day, also winning by decision. At 133lbs, Pat Phillips was 2-0 on the day. A gang of wrestlers were 1-1 on the day. John Crawford dropped a tough one to #31 Trey Rogers of Hofstra at 197 lbs. James Conway (184lbs) did have a pin on the day. We've mentioned the youth on this team. They will continue to improve. One thing you'll notice about F&M wrestlers is their records. Most of the starters have over 30 matches this season and quickly approaching 40. This is much higher than the average across the nation. Getting the young team mat time will pay off in the end. This week's meeting against Sacred Heart will be held at F&M on Sunday.
The Crimson had two duals with Binghamton and Cornell. Losing both duals (19-13 to BU and 27-12 to Cornell), we saw some great performances. Diego Sotelo has been on a tear lately, as he defeated 2021 NCAA Qualifier Micah Roes of Binghamton and #13 Brett Ungar of Cornell. Also 2-0 on the day was Yara Slavikouski (#9 @ 285 lbs), including a win over #21 Cory Day of Binghamton. We saw two wrestlers win at 157 lbs - Evan Gleason had a win over Binghamton while Tarsi pinned previously ranked Colton Yapoujian of Cornell. With the emergence of Sotelo, this team has lots of talent. We haven't seen 12th-ranked Conigliaro at 174 lbs in some time. Once he returns, this squad can make some noise at EIWAs in a tournament-scoring scenario. This weekend, they will be on the road at Princeton and Penn.
The Pride were victorious over the young, scrappy F&M team 21-12. They started in great position, winning the first four bouts by decision - starting with Ross McFarland at 174 lbs, #24 Jacob Ferreira at 184 lbs, Trey Rogers (#31 @ 197 lbs), and Zachary Knighton-Ward at heavyweight. Last year's EIWA placer at 141 lbs, Justin Hoyle earned a win. Ending the match at 157 lbs and 165 lbs, Joe McGinty and Eric Shindel each won via decisions. Coach Papadatos has been very high on Shindel's improvement. He's done more winning than losing as of late. This team has a lot of talent up top. Once they start to click in March, expect to see a lot of Pride wrestlers on the podium at EIWAs. This week's matches will be at Binghamton on Thursday and at Navy on Saturday.
Lehigh has been bitten by the injury bug, forcing them to utilize their depth and bump up wrestlers to higher weights to fill a competitive lineup. They came away with three wins in a 23-11 loss to Penn, but came back the next day beating Navy 21-16. Malyke Hines (#28 @ 141 lbs) had an impressive weekend with wins over Carmen Ferrante and EIWA runner-up Josh Koderhandt. Newly acquired Mountain Hawks Tate Samuelson (#20 @ 184 lbs) went 2-0 on the weekend, as did #3 at 197 lbs, Michael Beard - earning two tech falls. Manzona Bryant saw one match at 149 lbs, winning by decision. Carter Bailey (125 lbs) and Jake Logan (174 lbs) were each 1-1 on the weekend. If the forfeit at 133 lbs against Navy isn't a sign of this team's injury issues, I'm not sure what is. We have not seen #6 Conner McGonagle or Ryan Crookham at 133 lbs in a few weeks. Josh Humphreys (#4 @ 157 lbs) has been injured since the Christmas break. Once healed up, this team will be a threat to claim top honors in the conference. This weekend's action includes an away dual at Columbia on Friday and a home meet with #19 Arizona State Saturday night.
The Sharks had a single dual this weekend, hosting Franklin and Marshall. They lost the dual 29-11 but won three bouts in the event. They ended the dual strong with two majors from Drew Witham (149 lbs) and Rhise Royster (157 lbs). This was followed up by Blake Bahna at 165 lbs, earning a decision to close out the dual. Every week, the guys in the middle of this line-up seem to be on the up and up. It is hard to not give credit to new coach Jesse Dellavecchia, who was an NCAA finalist a few years back at 157lbs. The work is showing itself in the results. In another few years, a school like LIU will be right in the mix of the EIWA. With a rich history of wrestling right in its backyard, one would assume things will start to happen quickly. This weekend, you can find LIU at Bloomsburg with a dual against them and Bucknell.
The Midshipmen came out on the short end of a battle with Lehigh by a score of 21-16. The team's first win came at 157 lbs where Andrew Cerniglia defeated Max Brignola (#26 @ 149 lbs). Val Park earned another win, defeating Luca Frinzi at 165 lbs. #20 at heavyweight, Grady Griess, beat Taylor (#31) by major decision. The final win came at 133 lbs, where Brenden Ferretti won by forfeit. This was a complex match-up for Navy, as their best aligned with Lehigh's best. They saw David Key (#33 @ 184 lbs) lose to #19 Tate Samuelson and Jacob Koser (#30 @ 197 lbs) lose to 3rd-ranked Michael Beard. Koderhandt was off to a hot start, and hitting a bit of a slump lately. I am not concerned, as I'm confident he will be back for conferences - he was a runner-up last year at 133 lbs as a freshman. Coach Kolat and staff will have this team ready in no time! This weekend's matchup will include conference home duals with Hofstra and Binghamton.
The Quakers posted two dominant victories over EIWA competition this weekend. Friday night's victory over Lehigh was by a 23-11 score, and Columbia's score ended up being 25-9. Ryan Miller (#28 @ 125lbs) used a pair of third-period rideouts to beat a tough Carter Bailey of Lehigh and #32-ranked Nick Babin of Columbia. At 133 lbs, Michael Colaiocco (#9) earned a major and fall during the weekend. Doug Zapf (#11 @ 149 lbs) defeated #26 Max Brignola of Lehigh and a tough Danny Fongaro of Columbia. At 174 lbs, #17 Nick Incontrera had a nice weekend with a win over NCAA QualifierJake Logan of Lehigh, followed by a major over #26 Lennox Wolak of Columbia. Last, and certainly not least, going 2-0 for Penn was Ben Goldin (#32 @ 285 lbs). Cole Spencer was in the lineup at 157 lbs for Penn on Friday night. He earned a reversal with short time to get the win for the home crowd. This team is primed and ready to make a repeat run at challenging Cornell for the top spot in the conference. This week's challenge will include home duals against Brown and Harvard, in a battle of the Ivies.
The Tigers were 0-2 on the weekend, for the first time in awhile. The 27-13 loss to an underrated Columbia team may have been a little surprising to most. The match against Rider came down to near-fall criteria, where Rider ended up winning - earning the point in the 19-18 victory. Quincy Monday was 2-0 on the weekend with a win over #17 Josh Ogunsanya of Columbia. Travis Stefanik was the man at 285 lbs, winning twice - including a win over David Szuba of Rider. The Tigers had Patrick Glory (#2 @ 125 lbs) up at 133 lbs, where he earned two decisions over great opponents. Luke Stout (#20 @ 197 lbs) was 1-1 on the weekend, dropping a match to #10 Ethan Laird of Rider. Nate Dugan (184 lbs) and Ty Whalen (157 lbs) each earned one win on the weekend. The Tigers are coming off an all-time high after an upset win over #10 Arizona State just to be sent back a little closer to Earth this weekend. Expect them to get back on track this weekend with duals at home against Harvard and Brown Friday and Saturday, respectively.
The Pioneers were off this past weekend. They travel to Lancaster, PA for a dual against F&M in an EIWA matchup.