PROVIDENCE, RI – The Williams College Wrestling team completed their second and final day of the NCAA DIII Northeastern Regionals tournament today. With seventeen of the top teams in the region present, the competition over the course of the past two days has been considerable. Final matches completed today determined which representatives had differentiated themselves enough to earn the chance to advance further. Per rules, the top three in each weight class will compete against the standouts from each region at nationals in a week's time.
After a grueling day of competition on Saturday, only two of the ten Eph representatives remained alive to compete today. The head to head battles allowed competitors to be eliminated from the championship bracket and wrestle back to achieve as high as third place. After two losses competitors' season are officially ended. Junior captain Joey Rossetti and sophomore David Yeh managed to leave Saturday with less than two defeats to have a chance to wrestle again today.
Amidst a tough pool Yeh grabbed eighth place and Rossetti took the second. As the only wrestler to finish top three, Rossetti will reprise his role as the sole Eph wrestling program representative at the National tournament coming up.
Head Coach Scott Honecker starting by praising both Yeh and Rossetti: "Joey wrestled well in the semis and finals, and we will spend some time working on opening his offense up before we head to Iowa next week. David competed well and has plans on improving on his 8th place finish in the coming years. Making the podium as an unseeded wrestler speaks to his dedication and improvement throughout the season.".
Coach went on to talk about the impact of the core group of five seniors who completed their final collegiate wrestling season this weekend: "The main thing I want to focus on is the four outstanding seniors whose careers came to an end this weekend. I can't express how much I will miss Yo, Nick, Dietrich, and Dylan. They all made a positive impact on the program and have represented Williams with class for the last four years. Along with Nick's brother Luke, who lost this season due to injury, these five men leave a void that the remaining and incoming men will have to strive to fill.".
At 125 pounds, Yeh came into today's match up with a tournament record of 2-1. His first match of the tournament eliminated him from the championship bracket, but Yeh battled back in the following two with a pin and decision victory respectively. Yeh's first match of Sunday put him in the third round of consolation against a strong competitor from Wesleyan. Yeh and Amir Daouk went tied at 2-2 for three full rounds of action. An OT period ensued to determine the winner of the match up which ended up being Daouk after a well fought battle on both sides. The loss sent Yeh to the 7th place match where faced another difficult opponent in Diego Santiago from New England College. Santiago had the benefit of a much shorter match earlier in the day and he overcame Yeh in a close back and forth. While Yeh was unable to notch any wins in his second day at Regionals he competed admirably and came away with a lot of good experience.
At 141 pounds, Joey entered Sunday's wrestling on the back of a solid 2-0 record. Back to back pins in around a minute put Rossetti into the semifinals match against Max Tempei from Castleton University. Rossetti had defeated Tempei for the first time a few weeks ago and he repeated past history in the semis with a grueling 2-0 decision victory. The match kept Rossetti undefeated at the tournament, clinched a ticket to nationals, and put him contention for the Regional championship. The first-place matchup pitted Rossetti's two seed against Jordan Robinson from Johnson and Wales University's one seed. The two were well matched, but Robinson managed to just edge Rossetti out in an 8-5 victory. Rossetti took an impressive second place and will look to potentially compete against Robinson again at Nationals.
With the Northeastern regional tournament wrapped up, most of the Williams Wrestling have completed their 2019-2020 season. While Rossetti will be the only member of the fifteen-man roster to have the chance to compete at the next level, the entirety of the program finishes the season having left it all out there on the mat. Despite an undersized roster due to a string of injuries and extenuated circumstances, Ephs wrestling strung together an impressive record and much of that is owed to the tireless efforts of their coach and senior leadership.
The National tournament will involve a significant trip to Iowa in a week and Coach Honecker and Joey Rossetti are looking forward to the final test of their mettle on the National stage.