SPRINGFIELD, MA - - The Williams College wrestling team traveled to Western New England University today to take on the Hunter College Hawks and the Western New England University Golden Bears in a series of duals. Action kicked off at 12:00 pm and ran through the rest of the day.
The wrestling Ephs entered today's competition after a successful prior weekend at the New England Wrestling Association Duals which were cut short due to inclement weather at the time. Of the three matches Williams competed in they managed to find success in two of them. With the post season fast approaching, all remaining matches have heightened importance for both ranked individuals and the team as a whole.
Williams College wrestling won the day with a 2-0 record. Eph head coach Scott Honecker had this to say about today's performance: "The best thing about today was watching these guys perform for one another. Take a look at the bonus points, we got pins in the matches we won and didn't give them up in the matches we lost. That indicates to me how much these guys care about one another. They're not satisfied to go out and do their best. When they're getting the better of it they want to pile on the points and get falls. When they're falling behind they fight to the bitter end and refuse to go away. ".
Williams College took on Hunter College first.
First year David Yeh started Williams off on a strong note with a 2:30 pin to put the Ephs up at 6-0. In the next bout a Hunter Hawk victory at 133 pounds cut the lead to three at 6-3.
Sophomore Joey Rossetti advanced the lead again at 141 pounds with a 2:49 pin to make the score 12-3. Senior Alex Pankhurst continued the trend with a decision victory to make it 15-3. Another Hawk victory at 157 pounds would be the last points scored by the opposition and made the score 15-6.
Junior twins Nick Anselmi and Luke Anselmi both recorded pins against their opponents. First year Nasir Grissom earned a decision victory, sophomore Jack Murphy's opponent forfeited, and senior Bennett Caplin earned a dominant major decision victory.
There were two exhibition matches which Hunter College won but did not count towards the score.
The final score of the match was 40-6 with Williams College on top.
In the second match, Williams wrestling competed against the hosts Western New England University.
The Golden Bears took an early lead at 125 pounds with a 7-5 decision victory to go up 3-0. Not to be kept down for long, Williams wrestling returned strong in the next few weight categories. Senior Ben Morton, Rossetti, and Pankhurst all recorded pins at 133, 141, and 149 pounds respectively. Their success earned them the lead they would not relinquish for the rest of the match.
Moving into the 157 pound category the score was 18-3. A Western New England University competitor earned a win after a well fought 6-5 decision victory to cut the lead to twelve at 18-6. Junior Yo Akiyama returned at 165 pounds to notch an overtime victory over his opponent to make the score 21-6.
First year Tariq Grissom followed his teammates lead with a 7-4 decision victory at 174 pounds to extend the score 24-6. The Golden Bears recorded a major decision victory at 184 pounds to make the score 24-10.
Senior Sebastian Dziadkiewicz fired back in the following match with a 5-3 decision victory to give the Ephs their final points of the match. Even a win at 285 pounds for Western New England University was not enough to overcome the Williams College lead.
The final score of the dual was 27-14 in favor of the Ephs.
Two exhibition matches also occurred after completion of the scored matches. Murphy and first year Stephen Willis both recorded pins over their opponents in 3:55 and 6:29 respectively.
After a successful day of competition today, Williams wrestling has completed their wrestling for the month of January. Their next chance to compete will come a week from now when they travel to Wesleyan University to take part in the quad meet organized there. Beyond fellow NESCAC member Wesleyan, Ithaca College, and SUNY Oneonta will also be present.
Coach Honecker summed up the day and the matches yet to come: "These guys are starting to form a collective identity. When you think about our Williams wrestling teams traditionally I am not sure you think of grit. But these guys are down for a fist fight every time. And I think it is because of how much they care about each other. It was nice to go 2-0 today, but that pales in comparison to our growth as a group. If we are battling every second, the results are virtually irrelevant. We will bring everything we can to each match and will continue to improve and grow as individual wrestlers and as a team."
The Ephs have already encountered Wesleyan wrestling earlier this season. That matchup, at the annual Budd Whitehill duals, ended in a 31-9 victory for the Cardinals. With the second semester starting up coach Honecker and the team are committed to devoting the time necessary to succeed academically and physically. Wrestling kicks off at 11:00 am and runs throughout the day next Saturday in Middletown, Conn.