This past weekend, Head Coach Drew Black got a glimpse of Wesleyan wrestling’s future. The NEWA Futures Tournament, held at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island, was a chance for the team to see what its non-regulars could do. The group of wrestlers who attended did an outstanding job, taking fifth place out of 12 teams. Roger Williams, the hosts, finished in first place with 165.5 team points. Johnson Wales University finished in a close second, with 148 points. Springfield College and Coast Guard finished in a close third and fourth followed by Wesleyan with 72 team points. Although the NESCAC does not have a wrestling division, fellow conference foe Williams took eighth place at the event.
Among the standout performers of the day, Taran Carr ’16 took first place in the 174-pound weight class after compiling a 4-0 record in competition. Joe Koshakow ’17 finished third among the 12 wrestlers after posting a 4-1 match record. First-year wrestler Dominic Pirraglia ’18 received fourth place in the 184-pound weight class, ending the day with a 3-2 record. Keonmin Hwang ’16 earned three wins before the day concluded, but was unable to place due to a deep 165-pound weight class. Despite not placing, many additional wrestlers were able produce two wins during the event. Robert Rosenberg ’17, Zach Bloom ’18, and Carter Armendarez ’18 all were victorious twice on the day. Needless to say, the future of Wesleyan wrestling looks bright after last weekend’s performance.
Although he didn’t wrestle this past weekend, Isaiah Bellamy ’18 has been a big contributor to the team this season. Bellamy, a Bozrah, Conn. resident who attended Massachusetts’ Lawrence Academy, has been wrestling his way to an outstanding season on the mats. Prior to this past weekend, Bellamy’s record on the season stood at 19-4, including a 9-1 mark in dual matches. The Argus took some time to catch up with Bellamy.
The Argus: How has your first year as a college wrestler been?
Isaiah Bellamy: My first year has been great. I’ve learned a lot and was able to develop my skill set thanks to everyone in the room.
A: What is it like being a key member of the team, yet only being in your first year?
IB: I wouldn’t say I’ve proven myself as a key member of the team yet. I think I’m part of a young group that’s going to accomplish some bigger things in the future and the success we have seen so far is proof of that.
A: How will you build on your experiences this year in order to contribute the next three years, and how do you hope to improve as both a wrestler and a teammate?
IB: It’s hard not to get better in the Wesleyan wrestling room. I think a lot of guys will pick up on that pretty quickly and as long as I can do my part in pushing everyone and spreading a hunger to win, we will improve individually and as a team.
A: How have captains like Ryan Sblendorio ’15 and James Hamilton ’16, as well as coach Drew Black, impacted you as a teammate and a wrestler?
IB: Coach Black has been everything I could ask for in a college coach, and the same goes for all of our upperclassmen. Like I said, I learned a lot and they’ve shown me what it means to be a good teammate and a Wesleyan wrestler.
A: What must you and the team do in order to make a deep postseason run?
IB: Postseason is when wrestling starts. It’s the toughest part of the season and everyone’s got bumps and bruises they are working through, but it’s also the most important time of the year. We just had a few guys place in the Futures Tournament and I trust those guys to help push everyone through until the end. Everyone wants to win, and more importantly, we all want each other to do great.
The Cardinals will travel to Roger Williams again this coming weekend to participate in the Northeast Regional Championship.