The men’s wrestling team has been unapologetically sticking its opponents to the mats these past two weekends with a near sweep at Springfield College on Jan. 28 and a 2-1 record at SUNY Oneonta’s quad meet this past weekend.
After a hefty loss to Springfield for the championship at the Budd Whitehall Duals back in January, Wes was eager for a rematch. The Cards rolled north to Springfield, Mass. with no hints of showing any mercy. The team’s show stopper this season, Devon Carrillo ’18, started off the dual with a 6-0 forfeit victory at 197 pounds. Captain Isaiah Bellamy ’18 mired Carrillo’s match with another forfeit from the Pride at 285 pounds to bring the Cards to a 12-0 lead. Amir Daouk ’20 stepped up next at 125 pounds with a thrilling double overtime win, taking down Tyler Fitzpatrick by decision (7-2, 2 OT).
With a 15-0 head start, Tristan Stetson ’20 went head to head with Springfield first-year Ian Tolotti, who delivered at 9-0 major decision at 133 pounds. Tolotti put Springfield on the board, now trailing 15-4. Powerhouse James Matias ’19 answered with a 7-6 decision win over Derek Bohle at 141 pounds. Keeping the pace, Carter Armendarez ’18 pulled through an overtime win (3-1) at 149 pounds to stretch the Cardinal lead 21-4. Robert Rosenberg ’17 then defeated Kearney Gutierrez by decision (6-3) at 157 pounds while Aaron Cranston ’20 fell to Aarin Feliz (7-20).
Going into the final two matchups, Wes held steady with 16 point advantage. Captain Dominic Pirraglia ’18 and Matt Winchester ’18 put Springfield to rest with a win by decision (7-3) from Pirraglia at 174 pounds and a dominating and silencing pin at 4:36 from Winchester at 184 pounds.
Coasting on the adrenaline of their response to Springfield with a swift, 33-8 victory, the Cards went three hours northwest to Oneonta to face the home team, as well as nationally ranked No. 4 Ithaca College and Williams.
Wes fell 6-37 against Ithaca. Zach Murillo ’19 (125 pounds) faced No. 10 Jimmy Kaishian and lost by major decision (4-12). Dylan Jones ’19 (133 pounds) lost by decision (5-0). Matias (144 pounds) lost by decision to No. 10 Nick Wahba (3-10). Armendarez (149 pounds) was pinned at 1:05 by No. 3 Sam Schneider. Rosenberg (157 pounds) picked up a win over Demitri D’Organeo with a (5-4) decision. Cranston (165 pounds) was pinned at 1:30 by No. 4 Nick Velez. Pirraglia (174 pounds) lost by decision (8-14) to Jaison White. Winchester (184 pounds) was pinned at 2:05 by Jake Ashcroft. In the match’s highlight, Carrillo picked up the second win for the Cards with a 13-11 decision over No. 3 Carlos Toribio.
The loss to a nationally prominent and stacked team held no significance next to a nail-biter victory over SUNY Oneonta and the team’s second win over the Ephs. In the matchup against Oneonta, the two sides wavered back and forth. Daouk (125 pounds) pinned his opponent, but both Stetson (133 pounds) and Matias (141 pounds) lost by decision. Armendarez pushed through for Wes with a win by decision, but Oneonta fired back with a decision win over Rosenberg (157 pounds). Roy Forys ’19 (165 pounds) and Pirraglia (174 pounds) both won by decision while Winchester (184 pounds) was pinned at 2:09. With a Wesleyan forfeit at heavyweight, Carrillo (197 pounds) balanced the score with his pin at a lightening speed of 0:22. All tallied up, Wes scraped by with a 22-21 victory.
Icing on the cake is and always will be a NESCAC walkover. The Cards quieted Williams yet again with a 24-18 win. Williams had four victories with Daouk (125 pounds) getting disqualified, Stetson (133 pounds) losing by decision, Matias (141 pounds) losing by decision, and Winchester (184 pounds) getting pinned at 2:00. The setbacks couldn’t compare to the landslide of wins from Armendarez (149 pounds) with a decision, Rosenberg (157 pounds) with an overtime decision, Forys (165 pounds) with a decision, Pirraglia (174 pounds) with a decision, and commanding pins by both Carrillo (197 pounds) and Bellamy (HWT) at 1:19 and 1:10 respectively.
Armendarez noted the Williams win, its impact on the team’s position in the standings, and the typical obstacles of wrestling tournaments.
“We beat Williams, which was huge,” said Armendarez. “We are number one in the NESCAC, and we beat Oneonta. The only odd thing I am remembering now is that like five guys on our team got a nosebleed in their matches.”
Rosenberg had similar highlights for the weekend and elaborated on the team’s performance at large.
“In both the Williams win and Oneonta win, not everything went perfectly well in the meets,” said Rosenberg. “This shows how far we’ve come as a team and a unit, to be able to still come out on top when our backs are against the wall or someone loses a match. The next-guy-up mentality was impressive.”
It feels as though the team is at a non-stop sprint with yet another quad meet this weekend. Sunday, Feb. 12, the Cards will finally get a crack at some of the competition on home mats. Norwich University, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and No. 19 Centenary College will face off with Wes starting at noon. This is the first and last home event for the wrestling team this season.
Throw on some typical Sunday afternoon Wes sweatpants and post up in the bleachers, ready to go wild when Carrillo tallies yet another pin or a first-year upsets some of the East Coast competition. What is home advantage without a rowdy crowd anyway?