The wrestling team kicked off its late season slate of home bouts with a quad-match this past weekend. NESCAC foe Williams, along with the University of Southern Maine and SUNY Oneonta, visited Middletown over the weekend, and the Cardinals fell by narrow margins to each squad.
Against Williams, Wesleyan split the 10 matches, but without a competitor at 125 pounds, the Cardinals fell prey again to the Ephs.
Captain Ryan Sblendorio ’15 got the Cardinals off to a fast start with a pin at 174 pounds. Ed Pierce ’17 added a technical fall in the 149-pound weight class, while standout Isaiah Bellamy ’18 picked up a win at 197 pounds, along with John San Filippo ’16 at 285 pounds, and Frank Crippen ’17 at 133 pounds.
The Cardinals fell to the Ephs 22-20, with the forfeit providing the difference in the final outcome.
Against the Huskies of Southern Maine, Wes only mustered four victories. However, Matt Pelton ’17 and Keonmin Hwang ’16 controlled their matches and won by fall at 141 pounds and 165 pounds, respectively. Crippen picked up a forfeit victory at 133 pounds, and Sblendorio added a technical fall for the Cardinals.
The Huskies edged the Cards by a final margin of 24-23, by way of three decisions: a major, a technical fall, and a forfeit victory at 125 pounds. Following a recent trend, a forfeit paved the way to defeat for the Cardinals.
Wesleyan started out its third match of the day with a bang, jumping out to a 15-0 lead against SUNY Oneonta. Sblendorio again got the Cardinals off to the start they were looking for, picking up a 4-0 decision at 174 pounds. Pins from Bellamy at 197 pounds and Simon Levin ’16 at 184 pounds added up to 15 team points for Wesleyan. However, Oneonta took the next four matches and totaled 18 team points, giving them a three-point lead.
Pierce halted the Red Dragons’ momentum briefly with a win by decision, but Oneonta took the final two bouts to ensure a 27-18 victory on the day.
Levin, who continued an individual hot streak with a pin on the day, reflected on his season so far and the team’s performance.
“I would say my season is going pretty well so far,” Levin said. “I’ve had some gaps in concentration that have cost me some matches, but if I can keep focused, I should continue to do well [the rest of the season].”
Levin spoke to how his junior season has compared to his sophomore campaign.
“I’ve improved as a wrestler by having better conditioning and better focus during matches,” he said. “As a teammate, I’ve attempted to become more vocal in support of other wrestlers.”
Levin offered some thoughts on what it might take for the Cardinals to have a deep run this postseason.
“To advance far, [the team] can’t have any lapses in mental toughness,” he said. “[We] need to stay the course, train hard, and just wrestle.”
As many other wrestlers have, Levin offered high praise for standout first-year wrestler Bellamy.
“Bellamy’s made great contributions to the team as a [first-year wrestler],” he said. “He’s an animal on the mat and has a competitive drive that pushes the pace in matches and in practice.”
Although the Cardinals were 0-3 on the weekend, the narrow margin of defeat is an encouraging sign for the coming weeks. Next up on the schedule for Wesleyan is another home quad-match this Sunday, when Johnson & Wales, SUNY Oswego, and Hunter College come to town.