2013 EIWA Pre-Seeds

2013 EIWA Pre-Seeds, Courtesy of Wrestling Report

1. Nahshon Garrett, Cornell
2. Mark Rappo, Penn
3. Joe Langel, Rutgers
4. David Terao, American
5. Jeffrey Ott, Harvard
6. Billy Watterson, Brown
7. Alex Abreu, Lehigh
8. Patrick Prada, Navy
9. Penn Gottfried, Columbia

1. Vinny Dellefave, Rutgers
2. Randy Cruz, Lehigh
3. Bricker Dixon, Cornell
4. Colton Rasche, Navy
5. Jordan Thome, Army
6. Paul Petrov, Bucknell
7. Jeff Canfora, Penn
8. Matt Bystol, Columbia
T9. Robert Ruiz, F&M
T9. Shay Warren, Harvard
11. Esteban Gomez-Rivera, American

1. Mike Nevinger, Cornell
2. Steven Keith, Harvard
3. C. J. Cobb, Penn
4. Trevor Melde, Rutgers
5. Richard Durso, F&M
6. Connor Hanafee, Army
7. Joe Locksmith, Navy
8. Anthony Salupo, Lehigh
9. Kevin Moylan, Princeton

1. Steve Santos, Columbia
2. Shane Welsh, Lehigh
3. Daniel Young, Army
4. Chris Villalonga, Cornell
5. Kevin Tao, American
6. Zach Bintliff, Princeton
7. Raymond Borja, Navy
8. Andrew Lenzi, Penn
9. Todd Preston, Harvard

1. Walter Peppelman, Harvard
2. Joey Napoli, Lehigh
3. Bobby Barnhisel, Navy
4. Scott Winston, Rutgers
5. Jake O’Hara, Columbia
6. Jesse Shanaman, Cornell
7. Vincent Favia, Bucknell
8. Troy Hernandez, Penn
9. John Belanger, Army
10. Philip Marano, Brown

1. Kyle Dake, Cornell
2. Corey Lear, Bucknell
3. Casey Kent, Penn
T4. Paul Hancock, Army
T4. Peyton Walsh, Navy
6. Nicholas Visicaro, Rutgers
7. Josh Houldsworth, Columbia
8. Philip Barreiro, American
9. Giuseppe Lanzi, Brown

1. Nate Brown, Lehigh
2. Mat Miller, Navy
3. Greg Zannetti, Rutgers
4. Stephen West, Columbia
5. Ian Korb, Penn
6. Cole Gracey, Army
7. Cameron Croy, Harvard
8. Marshall Peppelman, Cornell
9. Ryan Callahan, Princeton

1. Robert Hamlin, Lehigh
2. Steve Bosak, Cornell
3. Dan Rinaldi, Rutgers
4. Mason Bailey, Navy
5. Canaan Bethea, Penn
6. Ophir Bernstein, Brown
7. Scott Gibbons, Princeton
8. Ryan Tompkins, Army
9. Josh Popple, Harvard
10. Thomas Barreiro, American

1. Micah Burak, Penn
2. James Fox, Harvard
3. Oscar Huntley, Navy
4. Bryce Barnes, Army
5. Jace Bennett, Cornell
6. Sterling Hecox, Brown *
7. John Bolich, Lehigh
8. Tyler Lyster, Bucknell
9. Nick Mills, Columbia

1. Billy Smith, Rutgers
2. Blake Herrin, American
3. Stryker Lane, Cornell
4. Daniel Miller, Navy
5. Joe Stolfi, Bucknell
6. Steven Graziano, Penn
7. Max Wessell, Lehigh
8. David Ng, Harvard
9. Colin Wittmeyer, Army
10. Nicholas Gaijzik, Harvard

*Late withdrawal

Empire State Battles: What to Watch For as Cornell Travels to Hofstra and Columbia

Last weekend, two New York teams faced each other in a dual for the first time in 2013, with Hofstra easing past Columbia, 23-9.

On Saturday, a few more Empire State battles will take place as Cornell visits Long Island and New York City for meetings with Hofstra at 1 p.m. and Columbia at 6.  The Big Red wrestlers defeated the Pride and Lions by a combined score of 52-21 in 2012 and would clinch their 11th consecutive Ivy League championship with a victory against Columbia.

With the season winding toward March and every match important for postseason seeding and qualification, here are some things we’ll be following throughout the day:

Cornell vs. Hofstra

Ranked Rematches

125: Big Red freshman Nahshon Garrett, now ranked sixth in the country, began to receive national attention back in November after his 13-9 victory over Hofstra All-American Steve Bonanno in the finals of the New York State Intercollegiates.

The Cornell 125-pounder has continued his stellar campaign, with a 29-3 overall mark.  Meanwhile, Bonnano has compiled a 13-7 record against a challenging slate in which he’s faced seven of the nation’s top 20.  He has been on a recent six-bout winning streak. Both wrestlers are threats to make the podium.  How similar will the rematch be to the first meeting?

141: Mike Nevinger and Luke Vaith have both been ranked in the top 10 at times during this campaign. Nevinger still sits at #10 and has looked very sharp at times, including during his run to the Southern Scuffle championship.  Last weekend, however, he dropped a pair of matches against ranked opponents.  Vaith has won five of his last six.  When they met in Ithaca in November, the Cornellian came away with a 1-0 decision. Who will take this one?

Other Postseason Implications

There are a number of weights that feature grapplers fighting for NCAA consideration, with 157, 174 and 285 certainly fitting into that category.

Shanaman, Photo by BV

157: Jesse Shanaman was 30th in the first Coaches’ Panel Rankings. (Those rankings, which include the top 33 in the country, are one of the key components of the NCAA tournament selection criteria).  The former Blair Academy standout will face the Pride’s Tyler Banks, who has recently returned from an injury. Banks is looking to state his case for postseason consideration, a process he began last Sunday when he earned his third straight win by edging Columbia’s Jake O’Hara, a returning qualifier who has spent some of the campaign in the top 20.

285: Both the Pride’s Paul Snyder and the Big Red’s Stryker Lane made the cut in the first Coaches’ Panel Rankings at #25 and #27, respectively.  Both have solid records, which would be bolstered with a victory in the dual meet.  The two squared off in Hempstead in 2011, with Lane taking a 4-0 decision.

174: Jermaine John has started to turn some heads with his recent performances for Hofstra.  He defeated Rider’s James Brundage, who was in the first Coaches’ Panel Rankings, in mid January, and proceeded to win his next five contests.  That included an 8-1 victory over Columbia’s Stephen West, a wrestler who not only was ranked in the top 20 for a portion of the campaign, but who defeated John 6-0 early in the season.  On the Big Red side, the starting nod has gone back and forth between Marshall Peppelman and Duke Pickett.  Peppelman manned the weight two weeks ago while Pickett took over last weekend and notched a major decision against Oregon State.  With the season winding down, one will look to take control and work his way into the postseason picture.  With John trying to do the same, it should be an intriguing match.

Cornell had representatives in the Coaches’ Panel Rankings in all but two weights – the previously discussed 174, and 133.  The latter should be of interest in the dual as Hofstra’s Jamie Franco, a 2012 NCAA qualifier, is looking for a return trip.  He was 8-11 at the end of December but has begun to pick things up, with three consecutive triumphs.  A year ago, he got his hand raised against Cornell and he’ll look to keep his winning streak alive.


Cornell vs. Columbia

Villalonga, Photo by BV

Cornell’s quest for an 11th straight Ivy title is a major story here.  But beyond that, we’re looking forward to perhaps the marquee match between Steve Santos and Chris Villalonga at 149.  The two split a pair of close bouts last year, with the Columbia wrestler winning 2-0 in the dual meet and Villalonga responding with a 4-3 decision in the third place bout at the EIWAs.

Santos went on to make the Round of 12 at the NCAAs and has continued on a hot streak that has him ranked eighth in the Coaches’ Panel Rankings (Villalonga is 15th). There will also be implications for EIWA seeding, as Santos currently sits first in the conference while Villalonga is third.

Santos is one of the captains of the Lions this year.  His fellow team leaders, 157 pounder Jake O’Hara and 174 pounder Stephen West will also wrestle compelling matches on Saturday.

O'Hara, Photo by BV

157: As mentioned above, O’Hara was upset against Hofstra and looks to get back on track against Shanaman, another wrestler coming off a tough loss (against Oregon State’s RJ Pena last Sunday).

174: West’s setback against Hofstra’s Jermaine John snapped a five-match winning streak, but the California native still has a 17-5 record for the year and is on track for his first trip to the NCAAs.  Earlier in the year, West topped Peppelman 6-1.  How will he fare against Cornell this time around?

197: In the finals of the New York State Intercollegiates, Jace Bennett dominated Nick Mills on the way to an 8-0 victory.  In a prior round of that tournament, Mills defeated Cornell’s Billy George, 5-3.  It will be interesting to see either of those rematches.  Bennett appeared in the first Coaches’ Panel Rankings in the 24th spot, but it was George who represented the Big Red at this weight last weekend against Penn and Oregon State.  (Bennett did take the mat, but at heavyweight).

And finally . . .

Fans haven’t seen much of Kyle Dake during the conference schedule this year as he has pinned all four opponents with only one match going past the first period.  No matter how long he’s on the mat on Saturday, it will be a treat for spectators to watch one of the best ever in the sport compete in his last Ivy League dual before gearing up for his run at a fourth NCAA championship.


Head Coach Carl Fronhofer Previews the 2012-13 Columbia Lions

In 2011-12, Carl Fronhofer’s first season as head coach, Columbia took third place in the Ivy League (losing a 19-18 nailbiter against second place Penn) and sixth at the EIWA tournament.  The Lions sent three wrestlers to the NCAA tournament, where Steve Santos came within one win of becoming an All-American at 149 and 157-pounder Jake O’Hara and now graduated heavyweight Kevin Lester each won a pair of matches.

What’s next for the Ivy League squad in 2012-13?  Fronhofer gave New York Wrestling News a preview of what to expect in the upcoming campaign, beginning with a weight-by-weight look at the team.

125 Pounds – Former Section 1 standout Penn Gottfried returns after taking last season off with a shoulder injury.  He’ll be in a battle with Robert Dyar, who won 16 matches last year, for the starting role in 2012-13.  Adding depth is California state champion Johnson Mai.

Coach Fronhofer: “Penn and Dyar are pretty competitive in the room and at this point, it’s hard to tell what will happen.  Penn’s rehab went great and his arm is strong.  But, he’s only been back on the mat for a couple of weeks.  I think it’s close enough between those two guys that I’ll remove myself from that situation and see how it plays out. As for Johnson Mai, he’s a tremendous athlete who is very skilled.  He’s good enough to find ways to win.  But he’s probably at least a year away from getting big enough to compete nationally.  It’s similar to Dyar when he first came in – he needed time to grow enough to compete at 125 pounds.”

133 Pounds – The departure of starter Kyle Gilchrist, who went 27-15 a year ago, leaves a spot that several wrestlers are hoping to grab.

Coach Fronhofer: “It’s definitely wide open. We have Andrew Grabfelder, who was a starter earlier in his career.  He took a year off, was injured when he came back and is a senior now.  If he can stay healthy and keep it together, he can do well.  We also have some young guys from Ohio – Ryan Murdock and Angelo Amenta who are pretty talented kids who work hard.  Also add in California freshman Joe Moita.  This is the most wide open race for a starting spot in our lineup this year.”

141 Pounds – Last season, Matt Bystol, Ryan Ponte and Elijah Sullivan all manned the 141-pound spot at times, until Bystol earned the nod down the stretch.  He and Ponte will be back, with Sullivan taking the year off. But it may be a three-way race again as Top 100 recruit Alec Mooradian, a Michigan native, will also look for time.

Coach Fronhofer: “We had several wrestleoffs last year at 141 and it went in circles. When the dust settled, it was Bystol who won the job.  He was really steady and consistent and that’s why he found himself in the lineup at the end of the year.  Ponte will battle with him again and so will Mooradian.  [Mooradian] was a four-time state finalist and a three-time champion and lost only a few matches in his entire high school career.   He’s tough and he’ll be fighting for the spot too.”

149 Pounds – Unlike the first three weights, 149 isn’t up for grabs.  Four-year starter Steve Santos will be back a year after making the Round of 12 at the NCAA tournament.  Santos has racked up several impressive victories during his career, including wins over Mario Mason, Donnie Vinson and Edinboro’s David Habat.  In 2011-12, he compiled a 26-11 record and took fourth at the EIWA tournament before winning three bouts at nationals.

Coach Fronhofer: “Last year, Steve was solid.  When he was a freshman and sophomore, he was a little inconsistent. He took some bad losses here and there.  But if he continues to be consistent, he’s a top 10 guy in the country and is capable of more than that.  I wouldn’t be surprised if he took top four at NCAAs this year.  He has what it takes to be an All-American.”

157 Pounds – Like Santos, fellow senior Jake O’Hara got his hand raised at nationals in 2012.  The Pennsylvania native won two matches in St. Louis to cap off a 30-victory campaign.  According to Fronhofer, he and Santos will be the team captains and are the leaders of the squad who “take care of business inside and outside the room and do everything right”.

Coach Fronhofer: “Jake made a big leap last year.  I think the difference between Jake as a sophomore and as a junior was pretty astronomical.  It’s a credit to him.  He works very hard – he stays the course and gets better every day.  I think having [assistant coach] Adam Hall [an All-American at Boise State] to work with was very beneficial.  Without question, Jake’s goal is to be on the podium in March.  There’s no doubt in my mind that he can do it.  The middle weights are always loaded but you have to show up and wrestle.  He’s capable of placing at the NCAAs.”

165 Pounds – NCAA qualifier Eren Civan graduated and a number of young wrestlers are lining up to take his spot.  Michigan native Josh Houldsworth, who started at 141 as a freshman in 2010-11, is moving up a few weights while 2012 spot starter Adam Fondale is in the mix with sophomore Eric Fajardo.

Coach Fronhofer: “Josh Houldsworth is pretty tall and we always thought he could grow. We’ve gotten such consistent work out of Steve [Santos] and Jake [O’Hara] that we asked Josh to move up and he’s making that move. Fondale won about 20 matches last year, wrestling in duals, opens and all over the place. Fajardo is a super talented kid who did a lot of judo growing up.  He didn’t have the pure wrestling experience of a lot of other guys, but he’s a great athlete who has developed well.  He took second at the FILA Junior Nationals this spring in Greco and has made some big gains in a short time.”

174 PoundsStephen West joined the lineup as soon as he arrived at Columbia and is ready to enter his fourth year as a starter.   Despite 33 wins last season, he didn’t receive a bid to the NCAA tournament and looks to qualify for nationals and more in his final season in a Lions singlet.

Coach Fronhofer: “It was almost unbelievable that [West] wasn’t at the tournament last year. It was shocking to me after he qualified a spot for our conference and placed only one spot out [of automatic qualifying]. He had the most wins at the weight in the country.   He was completely devastated – we all were.  But he has the right attitude about the sport and life and he snapped out of it pretty quickly and went back to work in the spring and summer.  He has the right focus.  I assume that in March he’ll be competing at a pretty high level nationally.  He’s shooting to be an All-American. He has the experience, the athleticism and the skill set that makes it possible.”

184 PoundsShane Hughes came in as a freshman and racked up 22 wins.  He was an exciting wrestler to watch, recording 11 pins and going for big moves at 184 pounds.  Several other freshmen, such as Zack Hernandez, Austin Coniker and Chris Loew are also listed at the weight.

Coach Fronhofer: “Shane is definitely very dangerous in certain positions.  To make a jump this year, he’ll have to be more consistent and tighten up his game a little bit.  You can’t put the reins on guys like him because part of why he’s good is that he’s so open.  But he’ll have to improve a little on fundamentals and managing matches to take the next step.”

197 Pounds – In 2011, Nick Mills made Second Team All-Ivy at 184 pounds and took fifth at EIWAs.  He began last season at the same weight and then transitioned to 197, going 12-15 overall.

Coach Fronhofer: “Nick had a rough year last year. He puts a lot of pressure on himself and was trying to figure out how to compete that way.  If he does that, he’ll be back in a position to get to the NCAA tournament. He’s a great athlete and physically can compete with anyone.  Chris Manna and Matt Idelson are two other guys who will be at that weight.  They haven’t figured out a way to beat Mills yet, though.”

285 PoundsWyatt Baker notched a 13-5 record in his first year with the Lions while backing up NCAA qualifier Kevin Lester.  He was busy in the spring and summer competing in the international styles.  Baker represented the United States at 120 kg in Greco Roman at the Junior World Championships in Thailand, taking 10th place.  The native Californian is looking to make his mark in the EIWA and nationally in his initial campaign as a starter.

Coach Fronhofer: “Wyatt has made a huge leap.  He’s a kid that comes from Servite, a major football factory and he was a big time football player.  He only wrestled a few months of the year.  He has a tremendous attitude – he’s a happy kid that gets the most out of every situation.  I think it’s really hard to start right out of the blocks at heavyweight, so he was in a good position last year to come in and develop with Kevin Lester here.  Having that year of development plus the great summer he earned by making the World Team really benefitted him and we expect him to compete at a high level right away.”

A Few More Questions . . . 

What do you feel were the biggest things you took away from your first year as the head coach?

Coach Fronhofer:  I think I learned about managing the guys.  It’s a bit of a balancing act.  A guy like Stephen West probably wrestled too many matches last year.  He’s just so tough and so consistent, you can lose sight of the fact that he could use some time off.  I think you learn as a head coach when to put the hammer down and when to pull back a little bit; how to manage individuals and keep the team’s best interest in mind.  The decision making process is constantly evolving.

I also got to see that as a head coach you manage to wear a lot of hats at once.  You have responsibilities to the team, the administration, the parents, recruiting, alumni and so on.  You’re constantly learning on the job as you go through different experiences.

What goals have you set for the team for 2012-13?

Coach Fronhofer: I think we’ve done some great work in the offseason.  You saw our guys wrestling a lot of freestyle and Greco.  Our attitude is that if there’s a wrestling tournament, we’re going.  We’re passionate about the Olympic movement in our country and we’re going to wrestle as much as we can.

I think our goal as a team at the EIWA tournament is to finish top 3.  After that, I think we’re capable of sending six-plus wrestlers to the NCAAs.  We have a few guys with very high level individual goals.  They expect to become All-Americans and their goals are to win national titles.  We can achieve some big things this year. I’m always excited in the fall, preparing for what’s coming next.  We’re really looking forward to getting started.

Army Releases 2012-13 Schedule

Courtesy of goarmysports.com

WEST POINT, N.Y. – Army wrestling head coach Joe Heskett released the program’s 2012-13 schedule on Monday. The slate, which features a home dual meet versus arch-rival Navy in late February, concludes at the EIWA Championships.

“Our schedule provides an excellent mix of elite tournament action and dual meet competitions,” said Heskett. “The Cliff Keen Invitational and Southern Scuffle are two of the best tournaments in the country, while the Virginia Duals and Northeast Duals are arguably the best dual meet tournaments in the nation outside of the National Duals. Our slate is diversified and focused on continual progress, setting us up for postseason success.”

Army opens its 2012-13 campaign on Nov. 3 when the Black Knights travel to Buffalo, N.Y., for the Buffalo Open. The Black Knights’ New York road trip continues through the month of November as the team travels to the Oklahoma-Gold Classic (Nov. 10) in Brockport, the New York State Championships (Nov. 17) in Ithaca and the Northeast Duals (Nov. 24) in Troy.

After traveling to Las Vegas for the Cliff Keen Invitational on Dec. 1, Army lifts the lid on the home portion of its schedule with a dual meet versus Drexel on Dec. 8.

After taking a break for term-end exams and the holidays, Army returns to action on Jan. 1, when the Black Knights travel to Chattanooga, Tenn., for the Southern Scuffle. Army’s southern swing then stops in Charlottesville, Va., for the Virginia Duals on Jan. 11-12.

Road duals versus Bucknell (Jan. 19) and Rider (Jan. 23) cap Army’s road slate and lead into a busy four-week stretch of home competitions for the Black Knights. Army welcomes Brown to West Point for a dual meet on Jan. 27, before hosting the All-Academy Championships on Feb. 2. Then, after facing both Boston University and American University on Feb. 10, the Black Knights have two weeks to prepare for the annual Star meet opposite Navy (Feb. 24).

Less than two weeks later, Army will take part in the 109th annual EIWA Championships March 8-9. The NCAA Championships are schedule for March 21-23 in Des Moines, Iowa.

To see the schedule, please go to http://www.goarmysports.com/sports/m-wrestl/sched/army-m-wrestl-sched.html