Last Sunday, Wesleyan sent off five wrestlers to battle on the mats at the New England Wrestling Association (NEWA) Futures Tournament in Bristol, R.I. against Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), Western New England University, Johnson and Wales University, Roger Williams University, Coast Guard Academy, Norwich University, Springfield College, Bridgewater State University, Williams, and Trinity.
One of the three first-years to take the trek to Roger Williams University was Shane Ross (133-lbs). Ross lost by decision, 8-4, in the first round to the weight class bracket winner Stephen Jendritz from WPI. Ross then lost by decision, 6-2, to a wrestler from Johnson and Wales in the consolation bracket.
In the 141 pound weight class, Jonathan Oh ’19 lost in the first round to Johnson and Wales wrestler Dj Tirelli with a fall at 38 seconds. Oh fired back in the consolation bracket, beating his first opponent from WPI with a pin at 4:06. The Cardinal won again with another pin at 2:25 against his next opponent from Springfield. Oh’s streak ended against Norwich wrestler, Pj Testino, with a technical fall, 16-1.
Nick Taylor ’19 (149-lbs) lost in the first round to Williams wrestler Alex Pankhurst by major decision, 12-3. Taylor then lost in the consolation bracket by decision, 9-2, to Roger Williams wrestlers, Cj Moyer.
Also competing in the 149-lbs weight class was Robert Rosenberg ’17. Starting off strong, Rosenberg won by decision, 2-0, against Springfield. The veteran then won by sudden victory against the second-seeded Coast Guard wrestler. The upset rocketed Rosenberg into the semifinals. He then fell to Springfield with a loss by decision, 8-2. In the consolation bracket, Rosenberg won by decision, 10-7, against the fifth-seeded Johnson and Wales wrestler Jamiel Stapleton. Stapleton had pinned number one seed James Knoeller from Roger Williams earlier in the tournament. In the finals of the consolation bracket, Rosenberg lost to Roger Williams wrestler Thomas Carta by decision, 5-2. Rosenberg’s impressive show at 149-lbs earned him 4th place out of 18 wrestlers.
“It was nice to finish out our regular season strong,” Rosenberg said. “Now it’s time to focus and help get the whole team prepared for the Northeast regionals this weekend, and punch some of our guys’ tickets to the National Championships in Iowa.”
Completing the five person squad was Matt Winchester ’18 (165-lbs), who lost in the first round by major decision, 16-6, to Coast Guard wrestler Holden Takahashi. Winchester then lost in the consolation bracket by major decision, 11-2, to a Johnson and Wales wrestler. Overall, the five representative Cards wrestled admirably against some of the top teams in the country.
This upcoming weekend, beginning on Saturday, Feb. 27, Wes will compete in the NCAA Division III Northeast Regional Championships at Springfield College. Within each weight class, the top-three wrestlers will get a bid to the NCAA Division III National Championships, which will be hosted in Cedar Rapids, Iowa from March 11-12.
The Northeast Regional Championships consist of 18 teams, including nationally-ranked teams like No. 3 Roger Williams, No. 6 SUNY Cortland, No. 9 Ithaca College, No. 12 Johnson and Wales, and No. 16 Williams. None of these teams are foreign to the Cards, and Wes will be rolling into Springfield with a stacked roster.
So far Wesleyan holds a dual-match record of 11-8 and the last time the New England wrestling teams got together, Wes earned 4th among 15 teams. The Cards have a star-studded lineup for this upcoming weekend, including seniors Chris Siracusa (157-lbs) and Taran Carr (174-lbs). Siracusa holds a record of 27-5 for this season and was named NEWA Wrestler of the Week two weeks ago, giving him plenty of confidence going into regionals. Carr holds a similar season record at 27-9.
Following the seniors’ lead are Captain Isaiah Bellamy ’18 (285-lbs) and Devon Carrillo ’18 (197-lbs). Bellamy has a 27-9 record for the season. Along with being a captain in only his second season, Bellamy has recorded the ninth-most falls across Division III. Carrillo has only lost once, giving him an 11-1 record on the season. Amazingly, Carrillo has carried over his excellence from the football field to the wrestling mats without a hitch.
Promising and hungry wrestlers make up the rest of the roster for regionals. They include Dylan Jones ’19 at 125- lbs, Frank Crippen ’17 at 133-lbs, James Matias ’19 at 141-lbs, Carter Armendarez ’18 at 149-lbs, Roy Forys ’19 at 165-lbs, and Dominic Pirraglia ’18 at 184-lbs.
“The preparations for the weekend have been great,” Head Coach Drew Black said on the Wesleyan Wrestling online athletic page. “The team is healthy and excited to compete.”
The season is boiling down to this tournament, and the Cards are more than ready for a flight over to the midwest with the top wrestlers in the country.