BRISTOL, RI – The Williams College wrestling team sent eight representatives to this year's New England Wrestling Association Futures tournament held at Roger Williams University. The tournament featured single elimination matches to determine a champion at each weight category. The Ephs had one competitor at the 133, 149, 165, and 174 divisions, and two competitors at both the 141 and 157 divisions. Action began at 10:00 am and ran throughout the day.
133 – Sophomore Dietrich Hartman began the day with a close loss to the eventual fourth place finisher from Springfield College. However, in the consolation bracket he notched a decisive 16-0 victory over an opponent from Wesleyan University. His day ended with another well fought loss to a Worcester Polytechnic representative.
141 – First year Clayton Mizgerd and Junior Alex Pankhurst both competed for the Ephs. Clayton fell to a difficult opponent in his opening match, but recovered with a bye and a victory over a Castleton University opponent in the consolation bracket. His campaign ended with a defeat in the third round of the bracket.
Alex Pankhurst ended the day with an impressive 4-1 record and a second-place finish in his weight division. His first match of the day pitted him against a Castleton University opponent. After a quick 1:22 pin, Pankhurst moved on the second round where he earned a strong 16-0 victory over a Roger Williams University wrestler. In the third round, Alex earned his second pin of the day in 2:27 against a Springfield College adversary. His continued success moved him into the semifinals where he defeated another Roger Williams University competitor in a 13-3 Major Decision to advance to the finals. In the finals match up, Pankhurst faced his third Roger Williams University opponent in Nicholas Wagner. After a close 6-4 loss, Alex claimed second place in his division.
Eph head coach Scott Honecker commented on Pankhurst's success: "Alex Pankhurst led the way today. He has shown sacrifice and commitment all year long and stormed to the finals. He lost in a narrow barnburner in the finals, but set a great example with his tenacity and competitive spirit."
149 – First year Jack Murphy competed for the Ephs at the 149 weight division. His close 4-2 loss in the first round was followed by a bye and four straight victories in the consolation bracket. Murphy defeated an opponent from Worcester Polytechnic and two opponents from Castleton University with scores of 8-7, 12-6, and 11-1 respectively. His impressive rally was ended in a well fought battle in the fifth round of consolation action.
Brendan Kiernan earned a strong 1:30 pin over a Bridgewater State University opponent in the first round of competition. He continued his success with a 13-3 Major Decision in the second round, before being eliminated by the eventual first place finisher from Worcester Polytechnic Institute.
Dylan Millson was defeated in the first round of the championship bracket, but bounced back with three straight victories over Norwich, Western New England, and Southern Maine adversaries. The Ephs different paths to placing earned them both the sixth-place honor.
165 – Sophomore Nick Anselmi began the day with a bye in the first round. His second-round match pitted him against a Worcester Polytechnic opponent, who Nick defeated with a 9-1 Major Decision. Unfortunately, Anselmi's championship run was ended in the quarter finals by the eventual third place finisher. In the consolation bracket Nick notched a dominant 2:55 pin in his first match, but was edged out in the next round.
174 – Junior Bennet Caplin was defeated in a well fought first round match by the eventual runner up from Johnson and Wales University. He received a bye in the first round of the consolation bracket but was downed in another nail biter in his second match.
Coach Honecker was pleased with his wrestlers' performance amidst difficult competition: "All the guys are learning and demonstrating the skills and professionalism to make lasting impacts on this program. With all eight of these guys returning, the future is bright for them and the team as a whole."
With the regular portion of their season coming to a close, the Williams College Wrestling Team will move into their Post Season next week. The Ephs will travel to Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Massachusetts to compete in the NCAA Northeast Regionals. Action will begin on 9:00 am on February 24th and end in the evening on February 25th.