ROTCHESTER, NY – The Williams College Wrestling team traveled to the Rochester Institute of Technology today to take part in the 54th annual RIT Wrestling invitational. This year's tournament attracted representatives from sixteen different schools. Amongst them were the Trinity College Bantams who the Ephs defeated earlier this season with a score of 28-18.
After a strong performance at the Doug Parker invitational two weeks ago in which Williams Wrestling was able to medal three, the Ephs had the opportunity to rest and recuperate during the Thanksgiving Break. They entered this tournament looking to keep that momentum rolling.
Head Coach Scott Honecker commented on his team's performance at the tournament: "The team had a good first semester. We need to stick to the developmental process all the way through the season. We won't peak for anything but the postseason this year. We will work on learning and training all the way so we can be our best-ever product when it matters the most.".
Sophomore David Yeh was the Eph's only competitor at 125 pounds. A fifth-place finish at Doug Parker put Yeh in a good position for his matches today. As the two seed, Yeh received a bye in the first round. In the second round, he came out firing with an impressive 4:52 pin over an Oswego State representative which pushed him to the quarters. In the quarters, Yeh kept the ball rolling with a 17-2 tech fall victory over an Oneonta wrestler. He advanced to the finals with another 10-3 decision victory over Michael Binni out of Penn State Behrend University. The finals featured a matchup between the one seed and two seed with Yeh taking on David Santiago from New England College. A back and forth battle sent the pair to overtime where Santiago was just able to edge Yeh out in the second tie breaker with a score of 4-3. Yeh's 4-1 record on the day earned him second place for the tournament.
Senior Dietrich Hartman took up the mantle at 133 pounds for Williams Wrestling. He began with a bye but was eliminated from championship contention by the two seed from Oneonta. Hartman rebounded in the first round of consolation with a decisive 16-0 Tech fall victory over Matt Freda from Norwich University. Unfortunately, this would be his only success of the day as he was fully eliminated from the tournament in the following match.
In the 141-pound division, junior Joey Rossetti was the sole representative. After backing up his top ranking in New England at Doug Parker with an impressive first place finish, Rossetti came into today's action firing. He recorded a 2:19 pin over Rob Giumarra from Oswego state and went on to cut that time down to a fraction in the next round with an eighteen second pin over a John Carroll university opponent. In the quarters, Joey did not slow down with a 15-0 tech fall to launch him to the semis. A third pin of the day moved Rossetti past Isaiah Ocasio from RIT to land him in the finals. For the championship, Rossetti took on the two seed, Ahken Chu, from Oneonta. A low scoring bout ended in a 2-0 decision victory to make Rossetti the champion once again. An undefeated record for this season so far bodes well for the 141 pounder's prospects moving forward.
At 149 pounds, first year Albert Xing returned to wrestle. A positive record from the Doug Parker dual meant Xing entered competition with some well-earned experience under his belt. Xing advanced past the first round of the championship bracket with a 10-8 decision victory over Benjamin Forsman out of Norwich University. He was eliminated in the second round by the three seed but bounced back in the consolation bracket with two straight victories to send him to the fourth round of consolation. The first victory was a 12-7 decision over a John Carrol University representative. Xing improved upon the score in the next win with a dominant 18-8 major decision victory over a host team competitor. The fifth match of his day put an end to Xing's run, but earned him a 3-2 record on the day once again.
The 157 pound division featured senior captain Yo Akiyama, who returned to the mat to continue a strong this season thus far. A win in the Trinity dual and a third-place finish at Doug Parker set the stage well for his three seed today. Akiyama delivered a dominant 16-0 tech fall over Jack Chipps out of Case Western University in his first match. He followed that success up with a 1:18 pin to send him to the quarters. In the quarters, Yo was edged out by a RIT representative, but he bounced back in the consolations to keep his day going. An 11-7 decision victory over Ian Houck from RIT moved Akiyama to the fifth round of the consolations where he was eventually overcome in a grueling overtime match.
At 165, Williams Wrestling also fielded two competitors. Senior Nick Anselmi and junior Brendan Kiernan entered the tournament eager to improve upon strong starts to their seasons. Anselmi was forced to take the prior tournament off due to injury. He returned today with a bye in the first round of the championship bracket. A close decision loss in the second round sent Nick to the consolation bracket where he bounced back with a strong 52 second pin over Danny Bates from New England College. Unfortunately, injury struck again and forced Anselmi to forfeit his next match and end his tournament preemptively. Similarly, Kiernan received a bye in the first round and was sent to the consolation bracket in the second round. He received another bye in his first consolation match before delivering a decisive 2:48 pin over Kyle Roberts from Case Western University in the following match. Kiernan kept the ball rolling with a hard fought 9-7 decision victory over the University of Pittsburgh Bradford's Nathan Powley in the fourth round of consolation. Unfortunately, Kiernan's streak would end there as he was defeated in the following match by the six seed.
At 174 pounds, first year Dante Gutbrod reprised his role as the starter. He began the tournament with a bye, was overcome in the second round, and was fully eliminated by his next opponent in the consolation bracket. Gutbrod had the unenviable task of wrestling the two seed and the one seed back to back. He put up a strong fight and learned from the experience.
First year Will Smith made up another portion of the heavy first year representation at 184 pounds. Smith was downed in his first championship bracket match. In the consolation bracket he received a bye and an opponent had a medical forfeit to push Smith to the third consolation round. He backed up a string of good luck with a 15-3 major decision victory over Colby Harlin from Oswego State in his second full match of the day. Smith further showed his grit with a 9-8 decision victory over the seven seed from Keystone College. However, his tournament was fully ended in the fifth round of consolation in a back and forth battle.
Once again, the multiple entries for RIT allowed the Ephs to register both first year Larry Adyeri and senior Dylan Millson at 197. Adyeri as a rookie and Millson having just moved to 197 means neither has much experience in the category. Both performed admirably at Doug Parker and continued to do so today. Millson received a bye in the first round and delivered a 5-3 decision victory in his first match to advance to the quarter finals. Unfortunately, MIllson went on to lose his following two matches. Adyeri also began with a bye in the first round and was eliminated by the following two competitors he faced.
Coach Honecker was proud of his team's performance. He felt a few led the way on the mat today: "I was excited to see David make his first tournament final. His progression is steady, and he needs to keep making the adjustments and improvements he's made since he arrived as a freshman. We're on a long journey and we can't slow down now." He continued, "Joey is rock solid. It's time to start to focus on adding to his arsenal of attacks so we can really open up these matches against top competition."
The RIT marks the final chance to compete before one of the Ephs culminating points in the season. The annual Citrus Invitational in Fort Lauderdale, Florida is always a bright spot for Williams Wrestling to match up against some of the best. That multiday tournament will run from December 29th to the 30th. Before then, the team will get another opportunity to head home and enjoy some well-deserved rest before gearing up for the final competition of the calendar year.