FORT LAUDERDALE, FL – The Williams College wrestling team returned for the second and final day of the annual Citrus invitational. This tournament which features particularly strong competition gives the team a chance to test their mettle every season. Unlike most tournaments in which wrestlers are removed from competition after two losses, the Citrus allows wrestlers to continue to go head to head for the chance at placing lower down on the ladder.
A tough day of competing yesterday left only sophomore David Yeh in contention for a medal entering today. The remaining twelve wrestlers will return to the mat looking to record some wins which will benefit them further down the road in the 2020 portion of the season. Head Coach Scott Honecker was happy with the improvement that today brought.
Yeh's 2-1 record from yesterday put him in the fourth round of consolation against Tyler Crew from NYU. An unfortunate medical forfeit for Crew gave Yeh an easy first match to push him to the consolation semis. Yeh was edged out in a back and forth match with a Nathaneal Rankin from the University of the Ozarks who would go on to take fourth in the tournament. The loss sent Yeh to the 5th place match where he squared off against Kyle Murray from John Carroll University. Yeh rallied with a strong 4-2 decision victory to lead the Ephs' efforts by capturing 5th place at the 125 pound weight division.
Senior 133 pounder Dietrich Hartman was able to record a Major Decision victory yesterday, but he was bested in his other two matches. His first match of today's wrestling pitted him against Keegan Schulstik from Cornell College. Schulstik was able to edge out Hartman which pushed him to the 15th place match where Hartman delivered with a dominant 1:41 pin over Hanting Wang out of Johns Hopkins University. The victory ended Hartman's final Citrus Invitational on a strong note.
At 141 pounds, junior captain Joey Rossetti posted a respectable 2-2 record yesterday amidst a strong field of competitors. A grueling 7-5 decision loss knocked him out of the hunt for 3rd place, but Rossetti returned strong today with a dominant 1:24 pin over Matt Muller from Washington & Lee. Rossetti continued his run to take the 9th place spot with another pin, this time in 4:24 over Cameron Lee from Cornell College. Rossetti finished this year's tournament with a strong 5-2 record.
First year Albert Xing came into today's wrestling with a 3-2 record from the prior day. He was unable to record any wins in his two matches today, but his success from the prior five matches put him in a good position for a final placing. After the two days of grueling competition Xing earned a respectable 12th place in a large field of experienced opponents.
Senior captain Yo Akiyama returned after a close decision loss just knocked him out of contention for third place. The Eph 165 pounder displayed considerable resilience with two straight victories today to make his tournament record 4-2. In his first match of the day, Akiyama dominated his opponent with a 10-5 decision victory. The success ensured he had the opportunity to take on Nicholas Sbrocco for the 13th place finish. Akiyama remained consistent with a 3-2 decision victory to complete his fourth and final Citrus Invitational on a strong note.
Senior Nick Anselmi also added another win to his ledger in his final day of competition at the Citrus Invitational. A 2-2 record yesterday set the stage for a medical forfeit in Nick's first match of the day against Andrew Burgette from Liberty University. Nick went on to be edged out by his final competitor of the day, but he earned 14th in a difficult field of 165 pounders. Junior Brendan Kiernan followed a similar path at 165 pounds. An impressive three match victory streak yesterday put him on track for a slightly higher finish than his teammate. Kiernan was unable to overcome his first competitor of the day and his defeat sent him to the 11th place match against Kevin Kelly from Baldwin Wallace. Another medical forfeit ensured he seized the 11th place standing.
First year Will Smith managed to post a victory yesterday against a Keiser University opponent. While he was eliminated from contention for the third-place spot following the victory, Smith returned today with a 6:09 pin over fellow 184 pounder Ethan Fragoso from Ferrum University. A final loss ended his tournament, but he came out of the weekend with two wins under his belt and a 14th place finish.
At 197 pounds, first year Larry Adyeri entered today with a 1:58 pin from yesterday. His 1-2 tournament record was improved in his first match of the day when Daniel Sblendorio from Rhode Island College had a medical forfeit. The victory would be Adyeri's last of the Invitational as he was overcome in the following match to give him the 10th place position in a small but tough bracket of competitors.
Both senior 197 pounder Dylan Millson and first year 174 pounder Dante Gutbrod were entered into the "warriors bracket" after their performances yesterday. The warriors bracket allows wrestlers who are eliminated from the first two rounds of consolation to wrestle back for the chance to earn 17th place. Depending on entry into the bracket the wrestlers will have to face off against as many as four opponents. Gutbroad took advantage of the opportunity to earn his first win of the tournament. His entrance into the bracket put him right in the quarter finals where he squared off against Gabriel Rodrigues from NYU. Gutbrod handled Rodrigues well with a dominant 0:55 pin. He was unable to advance further, but the success builds confidence heading into the later portions of the season. Millson also stepped up to claim his first win of the tournament in the quarter finals of the warriors bracket. He pinned Darien Wheeler from Cornell College in 2:55 to advance to the semis. Unfortunately, MIllson was not able to defeat his next opponent and his day ended shortly after. A large jump this season to a much bigger 197 division has been difficult, but Millson has continued to improve with more experience.
With the Citrus Invitational completed, the Ephs finish their competition for the 2019 calendar year. The 2020 portion of the season brings the bulk of the tournaments and duals along with the culminating New England's and beyond. Williams Wrestling's next chance to compete will follow shortly after New Year's Day. The Ephs will host their highly anticipated annual Williams Open on Sunday, January 5th. The day long tournament will feature championship and consolation brackets at all weight classes.