Trinity College Hosts New England Wrestling Championships This Weekend
Hartford, Conn., February 24, 2011– Trinity College will host the 33rd Annual New England Wrestling Association (NEWA) Championship Saturday, February 26 and Sunday, February 27 in Ray Oosting Gymnasium. There will be four rounds Saturday beginning at 10:30 a.m. and continuing into the evening. Competition starts at 9:30 a.m. Sunday with the final round scheduled for 5:30 p.m. The 10 individual champions in their respective weight classes and fivewild-card selections will advance to the NCAA Division III Championship March 11-12 at the LaCrosse Center in LaCrosse, Wisc.
Two-time, defending champion Williams, 2011 New England Duals Champion Wesleyan, ranked No.1 in the final NEWA Rankings, and Springfield, ranked No. 2 in New England and No. 25 nationally, head the list of 14 schools competing in the tournament. Final NEWA Rankings: 1. Wesleyan (16-3-1), 2. Springfield (12-6), 3, Johnson and Wales (14-6-1), 4. Williams (10-8-1), 5. Plymouth State (8-6), 6. Bridgewater State (10-8-1), 7. Rhode Island College (11-10), 8. Roger Williams (8-12), 9. Trinity (Conn.) (8-7), 10. Coast Guard (1-15). Also participating are Norwich, Southern Maine, Western New England College, and WPI.
There are three 2010 champions, Springfield sophomore Joseph Grippi (Bedford Hills, N.Y.) at 133 pounds, Johnson & Wales senior Brennan Ward (Waterford, Conn.) at 184 pounds, and Williams senior Ryan Malo (Georgetown, Mass.) at 197 pounds, defending their titles this weekend. Ward and Malo each finished second in his respective weight classes at the NCAA Division III Championship to earn All-American recognition. Ward and Malo are ranked first again this year in the final NEWA individual rankings. The other top-ranked performers are Bridgewater State junior Kenny Francis (New Bedford, Mass.) at 125 pounds, Springfield senior Eddie Giron (Bethpage, N.Y.) at 133 pounds, Williams sophomore Cesare Antista (Matawan, N.J.) at 141 pounds, Rhode Island College senior Kevin Sutherland (Dauphin, Pa.) at 149 pounds, Plymouth State junior Michael Willey (Tewksbury, Mass.) at 157 pounds, Springfield senior John Archambeau (Ludlow, Mass.) at 165 pounds, Bridgewater State senior Zack Bates (Leyden, Mass.) at 174 pounds, and Roger Williams senior Nick Cambi (Cohasset, Mass.) at 285 pounds.
Trinity enters the tournament, which it last hosted in 1994, with five wrestlers ranked among the top eight in New England, led by junior heavyweight Greg Vaughan (Hingham, Mass.) at No. 5. Freshman 197-pounder Petros Hologitas (Rockland, Mass.) is ranked No. 6, while sophomore William Youngblood (Bernardsville, N.J.) and senior captain Ben Speicher (Boston, Mass.) are ranked No. 7 at 184 pounds and 165 pounds, respectively, and rookie Jeremy Rees (Framingham, Mass.) is ranked No. 8 at 141 pounds. Vaughan finished third last season and fourth as a freshman in 2009. Vaughan is 19-4 this winter with eight pins, while Hologitas is 15-5 with one pin, Youngblood is 16-7 with five pins, sophomore 149-pounder Daniel Lofrese (Stewart Manor, N.Y.) is 14-7 with three pins, and Speicher is 12-11 with one pin.
The Bantams closed the regular season with a win at Rhode Island College on February 13 to clinch their first winning dual-match season since 2004. Youngblood won the final and deciding match by fall in the 22-19 victory against the Rhode Island College Anchormen, but Trinity finished the day with a 33-6 loss to Bridgewater State. Trailing, 19-16, Youngblood scored a takedown and then was awarded the pin with just 16 seconds left in the final period to shock the Anchormen. The Bantams took an early, 9-0, lead with a decision by Hologitas and a pin by Vaughan. Speicher's 8-3 victory at 165 lbs. set the stage for the late contest fireworks. Youngblood prevented a shutout against the Bridgewater State Bears by ending match with an injury default victory at 184 lbs.