ROTCHESTER, NY - - The Williams College Ephs traveled to Rochester, New York this weekend to take part in the 53rd annual RIT Wrestling Invitational. This year's tournament featured sixteen different teams from across the region. Amidst difficult competition, the Ephs managed to improve on last year's performance with a 6th place finish.
Eph head coach Scott Honecker was very impressed by the team's performance: "I'm super proud of this squad. These guys train so hard and have the competitive spirit to match their preparation. Obviously the youth movement led the day. We knew if Joey [Rossetti]and Nasir [Grissom] brought their toughest wrestling they could win the tournament and they did not disappoint. David [Yeh] and Ian [Darling] rounded out the youth movement with David storming to 3rd and Ian making a deep run."
At the 125 pound weight division first year David Yeh stepped in for Williams. After a successful start to his college wrestling career two weeks ago, Yeh returned strong again today. In his first round match Yeh received a bye, but was felled in the second by the eventual runner up from Wesleyan. In a show of his grit, Yeh won his next five matches to finish third in his weight class with a 6-1 record on the day. His first round of the consolation bracket featured a bye. From there, Yeh pinned two out of his first three opponents. In the fifth round of the consolation bracket he recorded a 15-4 major decision victory to send him to the third-place match. For third place he faced off against Kyle Murray from John Carroll University. He recorded a dominant 7-1 major decision victory to complete his tournament.
At 133 pounds, Williams brought senior Ben Morton and junior Dietrich Hartman to compete. Dietrich received a bye in the first round but was pinned in the second round by a home team representative to go to the consolation bracket. After a hard-fought battle in the consolation bracket Dietrich fell to a University of Scranton representative. Morton faced stiff a series of opponents during his run. A couple of well fought decision losses finished the tournament for him in the third round.
At the 141 weight class sophomore Joey Rossetti put on a show for the Ephs. Two quick pins in the first two rounds of competition over RIT and SUNY Oswego opponents moved him into the quarterfinals. Rossetti continued a dominant performance with another win over a Wesleyan opponent, but unfortunately injured his opponent in the process. In the semifinal match, Rossetti recorded his third and final pin of the day in 2:37. In the finals, he matched up against Jarrod Brezovec from John Carroll University. After an evenly matched back and forth, Rossetti defeated Brezovec 7-5 to take the championship position.
Senior Alex Pankhurst stepped in for Williams at 149 pounds. He started the day off with a bye in the first round and a dominant 6:46 pin in the second round. Unfortunately, Pankhurst was edged out in the quarterfinals, but rallied well in the consolation bracket. After an 8-6 decision victory over Tyler Barkley from Norwich University, Pankhurst's day was finally ended with a close decision loss to a John Carroll University wrestler.
At the 157-weight class, senior Brendon Seyfried and sophomore Brendon Kiernan represented Williams. Seyfried repeated the success he found at the Doug Parker Invite with a strong 6th place finish. In the first two rounds, Seyfried recorded a pin and 12-3 major decision victory. His performance moved him to the quarterfinals where he was bested in a 5-2 nail biter. Seyfried returned strong in the consolation bracket to notch two straight wins. His first was a 10-7 victory over a Norwich University opponent. He followed that up with a 7-5 decision win over a Wesleyan competitor but was bested in his final two matches to earn 6th place. Brendan Kiernan faced difficult competition and was unable to move past his first two matches.
Juniors Nick Anselmi and Dylan Millson competed at the 165 weight division. Millson put up a good fight, but was unable to find success in his two matches. Nick Anselmi was also unable to advance in the championship bracket, but stepped up in his consolation matches. After receiving a bye in the first round he recorded a 32 second pin over a Scranton University opponent. However he was unable to advance further but scored three vital points for Williams.
At 174 pounds junior Luke Anselmi and first year Nasir Grissom both had strong performances. Anselmi received a bye in the first round before winning an 8-3 decision victory over a Scranton University opponent. He advanced to the quarter finals but was unable to advance any further in the championship bracket. Not to be kept down for long he returned in the consolation bracket with another decision victory. Unfortunately, his campaign was ended in the next round by a competitor from John Carroll University. First year Nasir Grissom joined his teammate Joey Rossetti with a tone setting performance. Grissom notched 9-4 and 10-3 decision victories respectively to advance to the quarter finals. He continued his dominant run with a 7-4 decision victory to advance to the finals. In the finals, Grissom took on Tyler Wilson from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. A dominant 14-4 major decision victory ensured Grissom captured victory for the day.
Anchoring the team at 184 pounds were first year Ian Darling and senior Bennet Caplin. Ian Darling started off the day strong with a dominant 20-3 technical fall victory. Unfortunately he was bested in the second round, but rallied in his consolation matches. Two major decision victories over New England College and Case Western Reserve University opponents advanced Darling to the fourth round of the consolation bracket. He was beaten out in a close 6-2 match but earned 5.5 points for the team in the process. Bennet competed valiantly but was unable to advance past his first two matches.
Coach Honecker is optimistic about this season's future but knows there is a lot of work to be done: "I love the fight our guys bring. We are going to make the technical adjustments, but when the guys love a fight you really have a chance to be good. We are going to recover, improve, and be full speed ahead for our NESCAC dual against trinity on Friday."
The Ephs next chance at competition comes in six days at Trinity College at 7:30 PM. After a break for exams and the Christmas holiday season, Williams wrestling will have two more opportunities for competition in the calendar year.