SPRINGFIELD, MA – Head Coach Scott Honecker's Williams College wrestling team began their 2018-2019 season at Springfield's annual Doug Parker Invitational on Saturday. This year's tournament featured wrestlers from seventeen different schools. The Ephs' started their season off right with an impressive seventh place finish amidst difficult competition.
Coach Honecker commented on the team's performance: "We finished a little better in team rankings than I thought we would, but it didn't happen in the way I would've expected. While Seyfried, Rossetti, and Pankhurst did a great job we really didn't breakthrough on the top end. This time it was a balanced effort up and down the lineup.
The Ephs balanced effort featured sixteen competitors across nine different weight classes. Of those sixteen, three were able to secure top six finishes. The remaining thirteen had strong performances which provide a strong base for Coach Honecker to improve upon.
At the 125-pound weight class, first year David Yeh from Massachusetts was Williams' sole representative. After a bye in the first round, David's first match as an Eph ended in a well fought loss to the eventual runner up from the University of Maine. In the consolation bracket Yeh rallied well with a dominant 2:00 pin over a Johns Hopkins University competitor before being knocked out in the next round.
In the 133 division, Senior Ben Morton and Junior Dietrich Hartman began their seasons. Morton advanced through the first round with a bye, but was unfortunately edged out by an East Stroudsberg opponent in the second. He returned strong in his next match to notch a convincing 1:36 pin against a New England College representative. Dietrich, likewise, fought through a tough match but was not able to advance past the first round.
Sophomore Joey Rossetti was William's only competitor in the 141-weight division. He started the tournament strong with two decisive victories. In the first match, Rosetti defeated a Springfield College opponent in a dominant 12-3 major decision. In his second match, Joey improved further with a quick 1:05 pin over another Springfield College competitor. Unfortunately, his run for the championship ended in the third round. Despite the setback, Joey returned with three straight victories in the consolation bracket to earn 5th place in the division. A 15-0 Technical fall victory was followed by a major decision and a strong 9-3 decision to earn the rank.
At 149 pounds, Senior Alex Pankhurst and Sophomore Jack Murphy stepped up. Neither were able to advance in the first round, but Pankhurst proved his grit with a long string of victories to seize 6th place. Two straight pins in 2:30 and 0:38 respectively rolled into two consecutive 14-3 major decision victories. In his final match of the day, Pankhurst fell to a host team representative, but his efforts assured a podium finish.
Senior Brendon Seyfried and Sophomore Clayton Mizgerd stepped in at the 157 weight class. Mizgerd was unable to advance in the championship bracket, but had a solid victory in the consolation bracket to bounce back. His first-round bye was followed by a 5:49 pin over a New England College opponent before falling in the second round. Seyfried led the day for the Ephs with an impressive fourth place finish. His first two matches ended in progressively dominant 1:41 and 1:17 pins over American International College and Trinity College opponents. He continued his success with a 6-2 decision victory in the quarter finals. Unfortunately, Seyfried was edged out by the eventual champion from Trinity College.
The 165 weight division featured the greatest number of representatives from Williams College. Juniors Nick Anselmi and Dylan Millison, Sophomore Brendan Kiernan, and First Year Stephen Willis all took on tough competitors. Anselmi, Kiernan, and Willis all advanced through the first round. Anselmi notched an impressive 19-3 Technical Fall over his opponent from Plymouth state, but was edged out in the second round. Likewise, Kiernan earned a dominant 1:13 pin over his competitor but was defeated in his next match. Willis had a successful outing in his first for Williams College with a well fought 10-6 decision victory, but was also felled by his next combatant. Kiernan and Anselmi rallied well in the consolation bracket to put a couple more wins on the board. Kiernan earned an impressive 15-5 Major Decision before he was fully knocked out. Anselmi went on a strong two match win streak to end his tournament with 6-4 and 11-6 decision victories respectively.
First year Nasir Grissom and Luke Anselmi, the other half of the dominant duo, represented the Ephs at 174 pounds. Grissom fell in his first match, but returned with an impressive run in the consolation bracket. After a first round bye, he scored two strong major decision victories over opponents from American International College and Rhode Island College. He completed a successful day with a 5-2 victory over a Centenary University opponent before being eliminated in the next round. Seemingly in synch with his twin, Luke notched a strong 16-4 major decision victory in his first match of the day. While he was edged out in the next round, Anselmi rebounded with a strong showing in his next three matches. A dominant 2:11 pin was followed by 8-4 and 18-7 victories over Trinity College and Centenary University opponents respectively. A loss in the next round to the eventual 5th place wrestler ended a successful campaign.
At the 184 weight class, first year Ian Darling stepped up. He received a bye in the first round, but was unfortunately eliminated in the second round. Another bye in the consolation bracket was followed by a well fought loss to a Cortland University opponent to end Darling's day.
Senior Sebastian Dziadkiewicz anchored the day for the Ephs at 197 pounds. His experience showed in his two consecutive wins to start the day. Sebastian's first win featured an 8-2 decision victory. He came into his own with a 3:25 pin in the second round, but was unable to advance past the quarter finals.
Coach Honecker was impressed with each of his wrestlers' efforts. He particularly singled out a few for further praise: "Joey and Alex were dominant, going five and one today. Brendon obviously saw the toughest competition but persevered to make the semifinal. We also got a great performance from one of our first year's, Grissom. Further, the Anselmi brothers really made huge strides today to kick off their Junior season."
The Eph's action at Springfield will be their last for the month of November. Their next chance to see competition will not be until December first. In the intervening time Coach Honecker concludes: "I am glad we have our first competition under our belt and now we can really start the developmental process of correcting errors and adding to our arsenal."
Williams College wrestling will next travel to Rochester Institute of Technology to compete in their invitational.