The wrestling team started its season off with the Roger Williams Tournament in Bristol, R.I. last week on Saturday, Nov. 14. Wes competed against some of the top nationally-ranked teams and wrestlers. The Cards themselves have finished off the last four seasons with a top-thirty DIII ranking. As a team, Wes came in seventh out of 11 teams at the tourney in Rhode Island. Roger Williams won the tournament, pushing its national ranking up to second and sending Messiah down to third and SUNY Cortland down to fourth. Messiah took second in the tournament and SUNY Cortland snagged third. Following these top nationally-ranked DIII teams was Johnson and Wales, Ohio Northern, Coast Guard, Wesleyan, Worchester Polytechnic (WPI), Norwich, Bridgewater, and MIT, respectively.
Zack Murillo ’19 represented Wes at 125 pounds. He went zero for two in his debut tournament with the Cards, but shows lots of promise. As a high school senior, Murillo helped win his school the New England Wrestling Championship title in 2015 and went 44-3 that season.
Frank Crippen ’17 competed at 133 pounds, losing his first round match and going two for three in the consolation bracket. He lost in the consolation bracket to the fourth place wrestler his weight class. As a sophomore, Crippen finished last season with a 23-10 record.
Shane Ross ’19 joined Crippen at 133, losing his first round match and winning one match in the consolation bracket. During his high school career, Ross came in fifth and second at the Texas State Championships, qualified for states three times, was named district champion three times, and was a regional finalist twice. Like Murillo, Ross has immense potential and will give the Cards an edge going forward in the season.
Another first-year, Jonathan Oh, wrestled at 141. Oh mirrored his fellow first-years and fell to two opponents, first in the championship bracket and then in the consolation bracket. Oh finished his high school career with a 32-4 record in his senior year and a Connecticut state championship title. Oh’s credentials add to the strength of the class of 2019.
At 149 pounds, Carter Armendarez ’18 finished fifth out of 30 wrestlers. Armendarez placed in the top twelve in California twice in his high school career. As a first-year, Armendarez finished with a 10-10 record in the 157 pound weight class, which pushed him up to 165 for the end of last season.
James Matias ’19 joined Armendarez at 149, but fell to both opponents in the championship and consolation bracket. Exactly like his first-year teammates, Matias has an all-star high school record as a three time league finalist, three time All-Suffolk County, and New York State Championships qualifier.
Nick Taylor, another new face, also competed at 149, losing in the first round to the eventual third place finisher. Taylor won one match in the consolation bracket. In high school, he placed fourth in the New Jersey District 17 tournament, third in the Caldwell New Jersey Tournament, and second in the Red Devil Classic Tournament.
Oldest out of the Cards competing was Robert Rosenberg ’17 at 149, who won his first round match but lost in his second round matchup and then again in the consolation bracket. Rosenberg went 12-12 last season and is looking to make an impact as an upperclassmen this year.
Captain Chris Siracusa ’16 battled at 157, making it to the semifinals of the championship bracket. Siracusa finished sixth overall out of 26 wrestlers. Last season as a junior, Siracusa went 22-14.
Zachary Bloom ’18 joined Siracusa at 157, falling to both opponents in the championship and then consolation bracket. Bloom finished last season with an 8-8 record and his year of experience should serve him well this year.
Keonmin Hwang ’16 was the only Card to compete at 165, going one for two in the championship bracket and three for four in the consolation bracket. Hwang is looking to close out his Wesleyan wrestling career with a bang and was off to a good start against nationally ranked competitors.
Captain and senior Taran Carr wrestled at 174, finishing fourth out of twenty-two opponents. Carr ended his 2014 season in the top eight in the region.
Dominic Pirraglia ’18 represented the Cards at 184, winning two matches in the consolation bracket. Pirraglia had an impressive first-year record of 18-10 and can only get better from there with more experience.
Closing out the Cards was Isaiah Bellamy ’18 at 197. Bellamy finished fifth out of twenty-three wrestlers. As a first-year last season, Bellamy had an incredible 22-6 record and just missed a trip to Nationals. He’s coming back in full force as a sophomore, and proved his potential among the other wrestlers at Roger Williams’ tournament.
The squad went after it again this weekend at Springfield College for the Doug Parker Invitational, finishing fifth out of 18 teams. Stevens Institute of Technology, ranked 12th nationally, and Williams College, ranked 18th nationally, finished first and second respectively. Rounding out the top five were Springfield College, East Stroudsburg University, and Wesleyan, in turn.
Murillo won two matches in the championship bracket at 125, Crippen finished sixth out of 19 wrestlers at 133. Ross won two out of three in the championship bracket and one of two matches in the consolation bracket, also at 133.
Matias won two out of three matches in the championship bracket and Oh ’19 fell to both opponents in the championship and consolation bracket of the 141 weight class.
Armendarez finished 4th out of thirty-three wrestlers to lead the cards in the 149 weight class. Rosenberg won one match in the championship bracket but fell in the consolation, and Taylor fell to both opponents in each bracket of the 149 weight class. Siracusa won twice at 157; Hwang won three out of four in the consolation bracket matches at 165.
Carr finished at an impressive third place out of twenty-one wrestlers at 174. Pirraglia also came in third at 184 out of nineteen competitors. Bellamy lost in the first round, only to sweep through the consolation bracket to end up with a 4th place finish out of twenty-one wrestlers in the 197 weight class.
Over the past few weeks the Cards have been putting in work, giving some outstanding first-years a taste of college level competition, and testing the will of the returning wrestlers. The guys have shown some grit and drive these past two weekends, and have measured up well to some of the best wrestlers in the country. After Thanksgiving break, the Cards return for the Rochester Institute of Technology Invitational on Dec. 5. Their first home match will be on Dec. 12 and it won’t be one to miss.
“These first two tournaments of the season show that we have a talented team, but also that there is a lot of room for improvement moving forward,” Siracusa said. “We had some real stand-out performances that we are looking to build upon throughout the year.”