SPRINGFIELD, MA – The Williams College Wrestling Ephs got an early start this morning for the 2019 edition of the annual Doug Parker Invitational. Now in its 29th year, the invitational has become a staple in DIII Northeast wrestling. Sixteen teams registered to send representatives for the chance at taking the number one spot.
The Ephs entered today on the back of a strong 28-18 win over the Trinity College Bantams last weekend. They looked to keep the momentum going and managed a 9th place spot after a solid showing.
Head Coach Scott Honecker commented on his team's performance: "I was proud of our guys today. Joey was overwhelmingly the best wrestler, but everyone up and down the lineup performed well. Now that we've had a high-volume day of wrestling we can get back in the lab and continue to improve."
At the 125-pound weight division, sophomore David Yeh was the Ephs sole representative. After a Trinity scratch in last week's dual, this was Yeh's first opportunity to compete this season. As the four seed. He began with a bye. His first match of the day featured a tech fall over a New England College opponent. His success pushed him to the quarter finals where he faced off against Wesleyan senior Amir Daouk. A well fought battle ended in Daouk's favor with a score of 4-3 to end Yeh's championship run. In the consolation bracket, Yeh came back hard with a 9-3 decision victory over Bridgewater's Ian Forginato to secure a spot in the 5th place match. A dominant 4:13 pin over Corey Cope from Western New England gave Yeh 5th and a record of 3-1 on the day.
Senior Dietrich Hartman stepped in for Williams at 133 pounds. Like Yeh, Trinity was unable to field a competitor, so he began his season today. Unfortunately, a bye in the first round was followed by two consecutive losses to a Springfield College and Springfield Tech opponents respectively.
Junior Captain Joey Rossetti was the sole Eph wrestler in the 141 division. Ranked one in New England and one at the tournament, he came out to a strong start with a bye and a 9-0 Major Decision victory over a Rhode Island College opponent. In the quarter finals, Rossetti kept the ball rolling with a 1:22 pin over Trevor Engling from Southern Maine University. With a few wins under his belt Joey took on Cameron Bruffy from Centenary University. Another pin, this time in 1:35 pushed Rossetti into the finals against the seventh seed from New England College. In the championship match Rossetti faced Najee Hall, also from New England College. Not to be slowed down, he delivered his third pin of the day in 1:27 to seize the champion spot.
After not wrestling last weekend, first year Albert Xing made his 149-pound debut early in the day. He was downed by Nico Patch from Trinity College in a back and forth 7-2 decision to start. Xing bounced back in the consolation bracket with a 16-1 Tech fall over a Rhode Island College opponent. He went on to record two straight pins in 4:04 and 5:44 respectively, before being edged out in a grueling 9-8 decision loss to Byrce Finnegan out of Springfield College. Xing completed a successful debut with a winning 3-2 record.
Senior Captain Yo Akiyama represented Williams at 157. He looked to keep the ball rolling after his decisive opening win against the Bantams. A number four seeding in the tournament ensured Akiyama had a bye in the first round. His first match of the day was against a Springfield College representative. A dominant 1:49 tech fall sent Yo to the third round against Steve Abusherry of Plymouth State University. Keeping in trend, Akiyama defeated Abusherry with a 16-0 tech fall which was followed by an 8-4 decision victory over the five seed from Coast Guard in the quarter finals. In the semis Akiyama went back and forth with the one seed, and eventual champion, from Western New England University. He was eventually edged out, but turned it back on for the third-place match to earn a win over Samuel Lindblom from Rhode Island College. He finished with an impressive 4-1 on the day in addition to his spot on the podium.
The 165-division featured junior Brendan Kiernan. He started off with a solid 5-2 decision victory over Steven Cerrone from Trinity College. A tough 6-2 decision loss to the two seed sent Kiernan to the consolations where he wrestled back with a 12-4 decision victory in the first round. He continued his success with another win over the eight seed from Southern Maine University, but was felled by the five seed in the next match to end his tournament.
At 174 pounds first year Dante Gutbrod returned to the mat for the Ephs. He received a bye in the first round, but was downed in his second match of the day. Gutbrod returned strong in the consolation bracket to record a 1:13 victory over Plymouth's Sal Rinaldi. His third match ended in a 13-4 loss but gave the first year some solid experience from a strong group of competitors.
At 184, first year Will Smith stepped in for Eph Wrestling. A dominant early pin last weekend had set a solid tone for his season so far. He was overcome in the first round by the second seed from Bridgewater State University, but returned to wrestle back with a 4-2 decision victory over Johnny Andre out of Springfield Tech. His campaign continued with a 12-2 major decision victory over Ryan Errico from Springfield College. In his third match Smith was fully eliminated by the five seed but showed grit throughout the tournament.
Senior Dylan Millson and first year Larry Adyeri anchored the Eph representation. While Adyeri had stepped in at 285 for the most recent dual, multiple entries meant both Millson and Larry would be able to compete at 197. Millson received a bye in the first round, was pinned in the second round, and earned a 11-4 decision victory over a Springield Tech opponent in his first consolation match. In his second match of the day, Millson lost to a New England College representative to end his tournament run. Adyeri also received a bye through the first round and came out firing in the second with an 8-5 victory over George McBurney from Coast Guard. In the third round, Adyeri was downed 4-1 and went on to lose his consolation match as well.
Coach Honecker felt the whole team performed admirably amidst tough competition. He singled out a few who exhibited standout performances: "Yo did a nice job today. He needs to recognize that he can be competitive with anyone in the country. If he starts pulling down points earlier in matches, he will be a hard guy to stop." He continued, "I am really excited for our group of first years. They had some good success today and I am looking forward to see where they go from here."
The Doug Parker Invitational marks the last competition the Ephs will partake in this November. Coach Honecker closed out this portion of the season: "I'm excited for these guys to have break with the holiday coming up. It'll be a good time for them to be able to nurse their bumps and bruises. When we get back we can focus on growing before our return to action at RIT.".
They will return to the mats in December for their first away dual at the Rochester Institute of Technology. This will lead into the final portion of the 2019 season in late December when the team travels to Ft. Lauderdale Florida to partake in the annual Citrus Invitational. A capstone in their season, the Ephs are looking to compete at their best.