WILLIAMSTOWN, MA - - The Williams College Wrestling Ephs hosted the annual Williams Open today at the historic Lasell Gym. Representatives for seven different teams arrived ready to compete. Outside of today's action the Ephs are likely to encounter many of the same competitors later again this season.
The Williams Open is an individual event with no team scores recorded. Of the one hundred and twenty-three wrestlers present, the Williams Wrestling team entered fourteen. Seniors Alex Pankhurst, Bennett Caplin, Ben Morton, Brendon Seyfried, and Sebastian Dziadkiewicz completed their fourth and final Williams Open with strong performances. Their final chance to compete at home will be on February 8th in the final dual match of the season against Castleton University.
As one of only two opportunities for Williams Wrestling to compete at home, the Ephs aimed to put their best foot forward early on. Head Coach Scott Honecker commented on today's performance: "Today was the most important day of the season we've had so far. For almost every guy on the roster, we saw things that let us know what we need to do next developmentally. Some guys got what they wanted on the mats today, but just about everybody got exactly what we needed. With Winter Study underway the guys can dedicate more time to their wrestling craft they they did as we approached final exams before the new year. I'm excited and they should be too."
125 – First Year David Yeh started off the day with a bye in the first round. In the second round Yeh kept the ball rolling with a definitive 12-3 major decision victory over a Springfield College opponent to advance to the semifinals. Unfortunately, a close 3-2 defeat at the hands of a Castleton wrestler ended Yeh's run for the championship. His success up to the third round earned Yeh an immediate spot in the consolation semis. He returned to success with an impressive 23-6 tech fall victory to advance to the third-place match. For third place, Yeh matched up against Nicholas DeRosa. An evenly matched battle ended with a 5-0 defeat late in the third round for Yeh. His efforts earned him a fourth-place finish amidst difficult competition.
133 – Ben Morton and Junior Dietrich Hartman competed at 133 pounds. Hartman's first match ended in a close loss to Jake Harry from Springfield College. He returned in the consolation bracket with a bye in the first round, but was defeated in the following round. Ben Morton began his final Williams Open with a bye in the first round. He was also defeated in the following round after a well-matched battle. Not to be kept down, Morton rallied in the consolation bracket with two straight pins. A 3:24 pin of teammate Hartman, and 4:28 pin of Austin Roche of Western New England University moved Morton to the semis of the consolation bracket. In the semis, Morton faced off against Chris DeRoza of New England College. A tough 5-3 decision loss ended his day after an impressive show of grit.
141 – Sophomore Joseph Rosetti started off strong with a dominant 1:58 pin over a Springfield College competitor in his first match. His success advanced him to the quarter finals where he recorded another pin in 4:22 over a Castleton University opponent. Continuing to the trend, Rosetti pinned his semifinal opponent in 2:48 seconds to earn a spot in the championship match. For first place, Rosetti matched up against Max Tempei of Castleton University. Three periods of wrestling ended in a 1-1 tie. An overtime round resulted in Tempei earning a late two points to capture first. Rosetti's impressive 3-1 record on the day resulted in a second-place finish.
149 – Alex Pankhurst and Sophomore Jack Murphy both received byes for the first round. Pankhurst's second match ended quickly when he pinned a Springfield College opponent in 2:00. Advancing to the quarterfinals, Pankhurst was pitted against Ryan Cabezas of Castleton University. A well fought battle ended in a 5-4 decision victory for Pankhurst which earned him entry into the semifinals. Finally, a back and forth semifinal match ended in defeat for Pankhurst. He returned in the consolation bracket with a 3:46 pin over Donald Etheridge of Springfield College to win a spot in the third-place match. Pankhurst' final match of the open ended in a 13-8 defeat, but earned him fourth place on the day. Murphy competed for the first time since sustaining an injury earlier this season. He returned strong with a 3:20 pin over his opponent from Springfield College. Not wanting to risk a potential reinjury, Murphy medically forfeited his remaining matches but will return again later this season.
157 – Brendon Seyfried and Sophomore Brendan Kiernan entered the 157-pound division. Seyfried came in firing with a 2:00 pin over a Springfield Tech opponent. Regrettably, Seyfried's day was cut short in his second match when he sustained an injury. He was forced to medically forfeit his remaining matches. Likewise, Kiernan started off strong with a 10-0 major decision victory over his opponent in the first round. He was defeated in a close 11-8 decision in the next round and was unable to advance further.
165 – Juniors Yo Akiyama and Nick Anselmi, and First Year Stephen Willis competed in a large bracket. All three received a bye in the first round. Akiyama started off the day fresh against Andres Figueroa of Springfield Tech. A dominant 10-1 victory earned him a spot in the quarter finals against a Castleton University opponent. Keeping the momentum going, Akiyama recorded a 53 second pin to advance to the semifinals. In the semis, Akiyama maintained his undefeated streak with a decisive 11-6 decision victory over a Castleton University Opponent. In the finals he faced off against Cam Milliken of Castleton University. A nail-biting 3-2 decision victory gave Yo first place and made him the winner of the day. Nick Anselmi was unable to find success in the second round of the championship bracket. He rallied well in the consolation bracket with another bye in his first match and a 10-4 decision victory to make the fourth round of consolation. Anselmi was unable to advance any further, but managed an impressive consolation campaign. Willis also was not able to advance in the championship bracket. However, following his teammate's lead, he bounced back with a 1:23 pin in his next match. When combined with a bye in the second round of the consolation bracket, Willis advanced to the fourth round of the consolation bracket. In the fourth round Willis found success with a 15-8 decision victory over a Castleton university opponent. Willis' final match of the day was the consolation semis where he was defeated by a SUNY Ulster competitor. His efforts completed a strong showing by the Eph first years.
Coach Honecker singled out Yo's particularly impressive performance: "It was great to see Yo win the event today. He battled some injuries first semester and I'm glad we know for sure he's back to form and better than ever. Now that he has a tournament title I am looking forward to sitting down with him and getting together on what he hopes to accomplish this year and what he needs to do to get there."
174 – Junior Dylan Millison faced off against a small pool of wrestlers. His first match of the day was a quarter final against Chance LaPier from Castleton University. Unfortunately, a well fought match ended in a loss for Millison and sent him to the consolation bracket. In the consolation bracket, MIllison received a bye in the first round. His second match of the day was the consolation semis where Millison managed a 2:00 pin over his opponent from Western New England University. A strong return effort earned Millison a chance for third place with a match against Nick Almonte of Springfield College. He managed to capitalize on the effort with a 7-2 decision victory to round out a successful day.
184 – Bennet Caplin and First year Ian Darling competed at 184 pounds. A tough defeat in the first round sent Caplin to the consolation bracket. He received a bye in the first round before being pitted against teammate Darling in the second. A battle between the two ended with Darling on top. Ian Darling received a bye in the first round of the championship bracket, but lost in the second round to a Springfield Tech opponent. His win in the second round of the consolation bracket advanced him to the third where he sustained a knee injury which forced him to forfeit the match and end his tournament.
After a successfully organized Williams Open, the Wrestling Ephs look to their next bout of competition next week. Coach Honecker concluded the day: "We got medals out of David, Joey, Dylan, and Alex and they all feel like they left a little bit on the table. What we can't do is sit back and hope to get better. We have to identify the adjustments and getting to work on it so hard that we won't be able to do things wrong in the postseason."
Over the course of January 11th and 12th, Williams Wrestling will travel to Williamsport, Pennsylvania to take part in Lycoming College's annual Budd Whitehill Duals. Action kicks off at 9:00 am.