WILLIAMSTOWN, MA – The Williams College Wrestling Team hosted the Castleton University Sparty's for the sole home dual meet of the season. The two teams had previously met at the Williams Open back in early January. That tournament did not track team scores, so this was their first opportunity to compete as coordinated teams.
In addition to being the final home match of the season, it was also senior night at the historic Chandler Gymnasium. The members of the senior class included Bennet Caplin, Sebastian Dziadkiewicz, Ben Morton, Alex Pankhurst, and Brendon Seyfried. The five seniors have devoted four years of grit and hard work to the Williams College Wrestling Program on and off the mat. They were honored before and after the completion of the dual.
Head Coach Scott Honecker spoke about tonight's performance: "It was nice to have a good team in Castleton and an exciting environment in our last home match for these seniors. We learned an important lesson tonight, because we had about a bad ten minutes and that swung the momentum, and the points, all in the opposite direction. we need to make sure when we face adversity that our focus narrows and we rely on our training and execution."
Action kicked off at 7pm sharp after the singing of the national anthem by a Williams acapella group. One of three captains for Williams, Brendon Seyfried, took on first year Cooper Fleming of Castleton at 157 pounds in the first match. After a series of even exchanges, Seyfried ran away with the match to earn an 11-3 major decision victory. His efforts put Williams up 4-0 to start.
Junior Yo Akiyama represented Williams in the second match of the night. He faced off against senior Cameron Milliken. The duo has previously wrestled one another this season in the finals of the 165 weight division at the Williams Open. In that match, Akiyama came out on top. The same result occurred tonight with Akiyama taking the match 4-1.
Moving into the 174 pound match, the score stood at 7-0 in favor of Williams College. In a battle of the first years, Nasir Grissom represented Williams and Chance LaPier represented Castleton. After a well fought back and forth, Lapier downed Grissom and put Castleton on the board at 7-6.
The 174 pound match set the tone for the next three matches. At 184 pounds, Eph junior Nick Anselmi wrestled first year Jason Hoffman. Hoffman managed to pin Anselmi to move the score to 7-13. Likewise, at 197 pounds, the Sparty's Mitchell LaFlam defeated the Eph's Dziadkiewicz.
The lack of a Williams heavy weight representation meant they were forced to forfeit the match, bringing the score to 7-24 in Castleton's favor.
At 125 pounds, Williams fired back with first year David Yeh. He faced off against Castleton University's Nick Camacho. A strong performance by Yeh earned him a 4-1 decision victory. The win moved the match score to 10-24.
The 133 pounders faced off in the eighth match of the dual. Ben Morton attacked strong out of the gate, but was eventually defeated by Michael Gonyea. Moving into the following round, Castleton had extended the score to 30-10.
Sophomore Joey Rossetti came back strong for the Ephs at 141 pounds. His dominant 2:42 pin over Sparty's sophomore Jason Ashline cut the match lead to fourteen at 30-16.
Sophomore Jack Murphy made his full match debut after suffering an injury earlier this season. A string of successful exhibition matches last weekend put him in a good position to battle Castleton 149 pounder Max Tempei. Unfortunately, a well-matched battle ended in a decision victory for Tempei and completed the dual.
The final dual score was 34-16 in favor of the Spartys.
After completion of the scored part of the dual, there were four exhibition matches wrestled.
Castleton Universities' Frank Darawiek downed Eph junior Dietrich Hartman at 133 pounds. Similarly, Sparty's Reese Millington defeated Williams' sophomore Brendan Kiernan. Williams Wrestling first year Stephen Willis managed an impressive 20-3 tech fall victory over Ryan Haff which set the tone for the final exhibition. Junior Dylan Millson pinned Castleton's Anthony Altomer to end the night on a good note.
Coach Honecker knows the last few weeks of the season should be the only focus now. He stated: "Fortunately, the 2018-2019 season will not be defined by a Friday night dual with Castleton. We are lucky to have identified some immediate growth opportunities, as we are two weeks out from the national qualifier. The good news is these guys train hard and they have been doing the right things all year long. We are 100% in position to meet our goal of being the best version of ourselves in the postseason. "
The Williams College Wrestling Team will have their next chance to compete in eight days' time at the NEWA Futures tournament.