PROVIDENCE, RI – The Williams College Wrestling team began their post season campaign today at the NCAA DIII Northeastern Regional tournament hosted at Rhode Island College. This year's tournament featured seventeen teams from across the region. Instead of a dual setup, competition involves team's entering qualifying representatives at each weight class. Those representatives then go head to head in both a championship bracket and a wrestle back bracket which allows competitors who lose once to fight their way back to as high as a third-place finish. The top three placements at each weight division then qualify for the national tournament which will take place in a few week's time.
The Ephs entered ten for the 2019-2020 season. Front runners included captains, senior Yo Akiyama and junior Joey Rossetti who entered the tournament seeded second and third at 157 pounds and 141 pounds respectively. While a tough finishing stretch to the regular season kept sophomore 125 pounder David Yeh out of contention for seeding placement, he also entered this year's tournament with high expectations.
The entirety of the tournament takes place over the course of today and Sunday, but action kicked off this morning at 9:00 am. Some key successes early on and a few setbacks have the Ephs moving into Sunday's wrestling with two representatives left in contention.
Head Coach Scott Honecker had this to say about his team's performance: "Joey is wrestling well and David is on a roll. It was nice to see David get the win over Castleton to place after he lost to that guy two weeks ago. Both are still in the hunt for NCAA qualification and we will have to warm up well and stay focused to make that come true.".
At 125 pounds, Yeh's placement ensured his first bout of the day was a decidedly tough one. Third seed, Joey Manginelli from Springfield College managed to overcome Yeh to send him to the wrestle back bracket. Not to be kept down for long, Yeh bounced back with a dominating 3:53 pin over Brandon Nunez from Rhode Island College which ended Nunez's season and sent Yeh to the next round. Yeh kept the ball rolling with a 4-0 decision victory which moved him to 2-1 on the day and kept him in contention for wrestling tomorrow. His next match will pit him against Amir Daouk from Wesleyan University. The two have faced off before. The prior match up occurred on the Ephs senior night when Daouk managed to edge Yeh out.
At 133 pounds, senior Dietrich Hartman completed his final Regionals performance today. Two strong competitors from Castleton University and Roger Williams University managed to overcome Hartman. While he competed with considerable effort the two losses ensured he would not advance any further.
At 141 pounds, Rossetti lived up to his two seed status with a strong win out of the gate. He managed an early pin in 1:06 over a Bridgewater State representative which pushed Rossetti to the quarter finals. In the quarters, Joey kept the ball rolling with another pin, this time in under a minute, at 59 seconds, over Nick Wagner out of Roger Williams University to punch his ticket to the semis. Rossetti was the only Eph wrestler to go undefeated on the day and his 2-0 record means he will face Max Tempei from Castleton University first thing tomorrow. The duo has already faced off this season at the Castleton dual which occurred two weeks ago. The 3-2 battle ended in Rossetti's favor and he will look to repeat his success to earn a spot in the finals.
First year Albert Xing competed in his first regional tournament at 149 pounds. A high scoring back and forth in the first round ultimately ended in a Norwich University victory which knocked Xing into the wrestle back bracket. Following Yeh's lead, Xing recorded a 20-2 tech fall victory over Gil Santiago out of Bridgewater State which extended his tournament another round. Unfortunately, this would be the last win of Xing's season as he was eliminated in the following match in a grueling back and forth overtime battle.
At 157 pounds, Akiyama began the tournament strong. The three seed faced off against Tyler Barker from Norwich university in the first round of the championship bracket. Akiyama dealt an 8-4 decision victory to push him to the quarter final match. In the quarter finals, a back and forth battle was decided by one point in his opponent's favor. The 6-5 decision loss put him into the consolation matches where he was felled by a Springfield College opponent with a margin of only a few points.
At 165 pounds, senior Nick Anselmi stepped up to compete in his final Regionals tournament. A tough first round loss to the four seed from NYU put Anselmi into the wrestle back bracket where he adjusted admirably with a grueling 6-4 decision victory over Stephen Cerrone from Trinity. The victory ensured Anselmi's final season ended with a partially positive note despite being unable to advance any further.
Junior Brendan Kiernan competed at 174 pounds for the Ephs. A tough first round match ended in a tie through regulation time and required OT wrestling to determine the winner. Unfortunately, Kiernan's Castleton University opponent pulled out the victory and pushed Kiernan to wrestle back against a Southern Maine opponent. Another close battle ended with a loss which fully ended Kiernan's season.
A strong first year representation at regionals this year was continued by 184 pounder Will Smith. Smith came up big in his first match of the day to start the tournament at 1-0 when he pinned Adam Marsh from WPI in 3:27. Despite the strong win to start, Smith would not advance any further in either bracket as he was pushed into wrestle back with a decision loss to a Roger Williams representative and fully eliminated by a Trinity College opponent in the following match.
At 197 pounds, first year Larry Adyeri completed the suite of first years. He faced a difficult opponent in Tyler Riggs from WPI. A back and forth ended in a loss for Adyeri which knocked him out of the bracket. Adyeri bounced back in consolations with a 3-1 decision victory over Noah Giffard from Plymouth State. With some tough competition, Adyeri learned a lot and came out of his first regionals with some success. He notched his second loss of the day in a final 4-3 loss in the next round.
Senior Dylan Millson continued to impress in the heavy weight division. Riding the wave of his dual clinching victory over a Wesleyan University opponent a few weeks ago, Millson began the tournament with a match against the three seed which ended in a loss for the Williams heavyweight. However, he jumped back against Nickolas Fortunata from Plymouth State with a 11-3 major decision victory. Millson kept the ball rolling with a strong 12-6 decision victory over Travis Manic from Rhode Island College. The success pushed him to the second round of consolations where Millson's last regional tournament was decided with a solid 2-2 record.
A solid day of wrestling for the Ephs means there is still some competition to come. Sunday will be the last and final day of the DIII Northeast Regional tournament. For Rossetti his undefeated record today means he are still in the hunt for the championship position. Meanwhile Yeh managed to limit his losses to one on the day which means he can still earn a podium place and punch his ticket to the national tournament. With wrestling kicking off at 9:00 am again tomorrow, a couple Ephs will look to extend their season a few more weeks.