2015 New England Wrestling Association, week 1
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Johnson & Wales, Roger Williams win tournament titles
New England Wrestling Association
MIDDLETOWN, Nov. 12 -- The season changes but the results don’t for the Johnson & Wales wrestling team.

After a great end to last season that saw the Wildcats finish highest in the region for a New England Wrestling Association (NEWA) team (third at the NCAA Division III Northeast Regional) and eighth nationally, Johnson & Wales came out the first weekend of the college wrestling season and won the Ithaca Invitational in a great field of teams.

The Wildcats edged out perennial national power and host Ithaca College by 7.5 points. JWU had 25 pins over the weekend to help secure the championship. On top of Michael Ferinde (141) and Bobby Jordan (125), JWU had some top level performances from a bunch of their guys. JWU placed 12 wrestlers top six of their respective weight classes.

Ken Dougherty (174) went 3-1 and finished second. Joey Gaccione came back after a semifinal loss and took third place, going 5-1 on the day. Sophomore Mike Stewart (141) took third going 4-1. Sophomore Matt Caracappa (157) was fourth with three pins, including 21 second pin which was the fastest pin of the day.

Not to be outdone, Roger Williams, the top ranked team in New England, went down to the Monarch invite at King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, Pa, earlier this month and won the team championship. With 144 points, the Hawks outlasted York with 120 and finished ahead of defending NCAA Northeast Regional champion Cortland State, Wilkes and Lycoming.

RWU had great performances at 125 from Matt Elias and Nicholas Barbaria and from Francisco Colom at 165. Justin Cochran (141) went 7-1, he lost his second match and then won six in a row avenging his only loss and added 4 pins to his day to come back and take 3rd place.  Ty Herzog (157) went 5-1 to finish third. He lost a close match in the semifinals but came back with two good wins over Adam Kritzer of York 7-4 and Ian Evan 9-7 of Scranton. Herzog is one of those wrestlers that got a large number of matches for the Hawks last year in and out of the starting lineup and should be able to make that immediate jump to the regional podium this season.

Dan Ressler (174) was 3-1 and took 2nd place. Ressler beat Tori Cain of RIT 7-2 in the semifinals. Joe Albina (184) made a name for himself coming in unseeded he finished 5-1 and took third. Albina won 11-0 in the consolation semifinals  over Nickolas Bellanza of Cortland and then won 9-4 over James McNally of Wilkes to secure third. All American David Welch took 2nd place making the move up to 197. He lost 3-2 in the finals to All American Joey Giaramita of Cortland. This could be a preview of many more matches between these two All Americans who are trying to win an NCAA championship.

Kyle Foster finished out the lineup and was one of 12 Hawks that placed top six at the Monarch invite. Foster was 4-1 and took 3rd place.

Roger Williams beat Bridgewater State 37-6 in a dual meet last Friday. The Hawks had 3 pins led by Ressler, Albina, and Foster, as well as an injury default win by Welch dominating the upperweights. At 141, Paul Sughrue beat a tough Justin Cochran 5-3 to get BSU on the board. Elias at 125 also had a good win over Gauthier of BSU 4-0. The Bears wrestled hard and their lineup looks much improved from last year.

Norwich University had a good showing up at Ithaca. The Cadets were led by standout Will Burns who won the tournament at 174. Mike Burkeen went 3-3 at 141 to take 6th, and Saetyre McDowell went 3-3 at 197 to take 6th as well. The Cadets look good on the opening weekend and people are definitely taking notice of Will Burns.

Western New England University went down to the Ursinus Fall Brawl.  They did not have any wrestlers place but got good performances from Devon MarcAurele at 165 who went 4-2 with 4 pins. Brian Donovan was 3-2 at 197 and Greg McCrystal was 2-0 at 141 before getting pulled for being under the weather. The Golden Bears are back in action this weekend with a quad at Springfield Tech.

Coast Guard, Southern Maine, and Daniel Webster competed in a tri-meet over the weekend. Coard Guard made short work of Daniel Webster, 51-3 and beat USM, 34-10. Mike Giorgio looked great at 149 winning by tech fall 16-0 over talented freshman Colin Sevigney of USM. Steve Kidwell beat Dan Del Gallo at 157, 5-3.

USM’s NCAA regional champion Jon Deupree went 2-0 on the day including an 11-3 major decision win over Marc Wagner of Coast Guard. Daniel Webster was led by their 285 pounder Steven Dwight who went 2-0 including a pin and a 5-3 win over Mark Howard of Coast Guard. The Bears looked strong going 2-0 in their opening weekend and giving new head coach Kevin Bratland a great start to his coaching career at Coast Guard.

Springfield College placed eight wrestlers at the Ithaca tournament. The Pride looked strong getting championships at three weights from Zach Joseph at 149, Dylan Foley at 165, and Hunter Ayen at 197.

The other interesting thing in their lineup is that Eric Hamrick was up at 165 and Jacob Strohman was up at 149. Both wrestlers placed fourth and fifth, respectively but they are expected to drop down a weight class as the season continues and one might assume it could be at the Doug Parker Tournament on Nov. 22 in Springfield.

Springfield also got a great performance from Irakli Kakaurdze at 285 who took 2nd place. Irakli was up and down last season but had some big weekends. More consistency at 285 can definitely be a big help to the Pride.
Coaches poll, week 1
Johnson & Wales tops New England poll
New England Division III college wrestling poll for week 1, ending Nov. 11. First place votes in parentheses. Record is final dual meet record from a year ago and last year is the final poll ranking.
Nov. 11, 2014
Team                   Rec    Pts   L Yr
1. Roger Williams (14)   19-1   149    1
2. Johnson & Wales  (1) 18-5   135    t2
3. Springfield      10-7   114   t4
4. Williams          11-8   104   t4
5. Rhode Island Coll      16-4     94   t2
6. WPI                  12-11   69    6
7. Coast Guard     7-10     63   7
8. Wesleyan         7-12    42   8
9. Norwich University        5-7     30  10
10. Southern Maine       13-7     23   9
Others receiving votes: WNEU

NEWA Wrestler of Week
Zach Joseph, sophomore, Springfield College (149 pounds), Clifton Park, N.Y.
Joseph was seeded 7th and won the Ithaca Invitational, going 5-0. Zach had two tech falls and won a weight class that included returning national qualifier Joey Gaccione of Johnson & Wales. Joseph beat Dan Pak of Ithaca in the finals 10-8 after Pak beat Gaccione in the semifinals. He helped lead Springfield College to a 4th place team finish.

NEWA Rookie Wrestler of Week
D.J. Tirelli, freshman, Johnson & Wales University (133 pounds), Oradell, N.J.
Tirelli went 5-1 on the day to take 3rd place in his first college tournament. Tirelli helped lead JWU to the championship at the Itacha Invitational. Tirelli had 4 falls in 6 minutes and 4 seconds which earned him the most falls in the least time award. His fastest fall came in just 0:22 seconds. In the 3rd place match, Tirelli pinned Tyler Keane of Springfield in 2:17. Keane was a regional placer last year.

Honorable mention
Wrestler of the Week
Michael Ferinde (141), Johnson & Wales: Went 4-0 on his way to winning the Ithaca Invitational. Ferinde had two falls and looked like he picked up where he left off last year at the NCAA’s.
Dylan Foley (165), Springfield: Went 5-0 this past weekend on his way to winning the Ithaca Invitational. Foley who is used to being in tight matches won 4-2 in the finals vs Nick Velez of Ithaca
Will Burns (174), Norwich University: Burns was a surprise to some after his 4th place finish at the region last year. Those that saw him throughout the year knew he had great talent and ability. Burns looked great this weekend winning Ithaca going 4-0 with 2 major decision wins. Burns was scoring over the weekend as he scored at least 13 points in all 4 of his matches.
Hunter Ayen (197), Springfield: Hunter went 4-0 to win his weight class at the Ithaca Invitational. Ayen had a pretty easy day with a pin, a tech fall, and an injury default win in the finals. He was tested in the semifinals where he won a 6-5 match over Greg Duvall of Ithaca.
Francisco Colom (165), Roger Williams: Colom went 4-0 and won a tough 165 pound weight class at the Monarch Invite last weekend. He beat Barber of Cortland in the semifinals 3-2 and beat Barger of Lycoming in the finals 7-4. Colom seems to be a good fit up a weight class from last season.

Honorable Mention
Rookie Wrestler of the Week
Bobby Jordan (125), Johnson & Wales: Went 5-1 to take third place at Ithaca this past weekend. He lost his first match and then won 5 in a row including avenging his only loss on the day beating Murray of Stevens 4-2 in overtime after losing to him 9-1 in his first match. Jordan also had 2 first period pins on the day.
Nicholas Barbaria (125), Roger Williams: Went 3-0 to make the finals of the Monarch Invite at King's College. In the semifinal, down by a point, Barbaria split his head open on the cement floor. After getting taped up he came back to win and make the finals. He had to medically forfeit in the finals to go to the emergency room.
Matt Elias (125), Roger Williams:  Went 4-0, he won the Monarch Invite last weekend with a medical forfeit win over his teammate in the finals. Elias a sophomore makes for an interesting weight class for the Hawks that have two very good young wrestlers at the weight. Elias beat the 6, 3, and 2 seeds to make the finals.