HERSHEY, Pa., March 12 -- Six wrestlers with Connecticut ties will be participating in the NCAA Division III national championships this weekend in Hershey, Pa. Wrestling begins Saturday for 180 participants.
Coast Guard’s Nate Giorgio (133) and Mike Shermot (174) will compete along with Wesleyan’s Ryan Sblendorio (174). Madison’s Jake Savoca (141) and Newington’s Chris Chorzepa (184) will be representing Williams College while Somers’ Kyle Foster (285) will be representing Roger Williams.
Giorgio, a senior, is the No. 1 ranked wrestler at 133 with a 38-0 record. He is a two-time All-American competing in his fourth NCAA tournament. He was eighth at 133 a year ago and fourth as a freshman at 125. His teammate Mike Shermot is a junior (21-4) and is making his first NCAA tournament appearance.
Chorzepa, a sophomore, is seeded fourth at 184 with a record of 38-1. He is one of four Williams wrestlers competing in the NCAA tournament.
"It's great to bring a large delegation to the national championships," said Williams coach Scott Honecker. "There are some real hidden advantages to having multiple guys going. We saw it last year when Chorzepa and (teammate Jorge) Lopez both caught fire last year at the NCAAs. They were really challenging one another to take their wrestling to the next level and the results spoke for themselves.”
Chorzepa earned All-American honors a year ago finishing third at 184. This year, he won 36 consecutive matches before being upset in the NCAA Northeast Regional semifinals. He has been ranked as high as No. 2 in the nation this season and is among the Division III leaders in falls and tech falls. Chorzepa is seeded fourth.
“The bracket at the NCAAs has nothing but tough guys,” Honecker said. “They need to enter every match on a mission to win and win decisively. For now, they all need to head into each match like it's the most important one of the weekend. They are poised for success, but we have to keep them focused on wrestling their best every match."
Savoca began the year at 149 pounds but dropped to 141 to make room for junior Tim Garripoli, who also qualified for the NCAA tournament. Savoca was 23-7 at 149 and is 9-1 at 141 for an overall record of 33-8. He is unseeded.
“The guy who can really benefit from this is Jake Savoca as a freshman in his first trip to the NCAAs,” Honecker said. “If he can follow the lead of the veterans, he has the talent to really break out this weekend.”
Roger Williams’ sophomore Kyle Foster, who is from Somers, brings a 30-5 record into the competition at 285 pounds. Foster is one of five wrestlers from Roger Williams in the tournament. He qualified with a third place finish at the recent NCAA Northeast Regional.
Wesleyan’s Ryan Sblendorio (175) is making his first NCAA Division III appearance. He is 18-7 on the year.
Three Connecticut wrestlers qualify for the NCAA Div. 1 tournament
PITTSBURGH, Pa., March 8 – North Carolina State freshman Kevin Jack of Danbury won two matches in Sunday’s Atlantic Coast Conference tournament to qualify for the NCAA Division I wrestling tournament on March 19-21 in St. Louis.
Jack took fourth in the ACC Tournament at 141 pounds . He won his quarterfinal bout over Pitt’s Ben Ross in 3:21 before losing to North Carolina’s Joseph Ward in the semifinals, 6-1. Jack beat Duke’s Evan Botwin by tech fall, 15-0, in the consolation semifinal. In the consolation final, Jack lost to Virginia’s Joseph Spisak, 9-7.
North Carolina State finished sixth in the ACC Tournament. Virginia won the ACC title with 85 ½ points with Pittsburgh (71), Virginia Tech (59.5) and North Carolina (42) rounding out the top four teams.
Malone qualifies for NCAA Tournament
COLUMBUS, Ohio, March 7 – Junior Dominick Malone (Granby) went 2-2 and finished 11th at the Big Ten tournament this weekend as Northwestern University was ninth. Malone (22-17) has clinched one of the Big 10’s 12 automatic bids to the NCAA Division I wrestling championships.
McKeever qualifies for NCAA tournament
BETHLEHEM, Pa., March 7 – Brookfield’s Jack McKeever, a junior at Binghamton University at 184 pounds, went 3-3 and finished sixth at the EIWA championships. It was enough to earn an invitation to the NCAA Division I tournament.
McKeever (23-14) won two of his first three matches. A consolation round bout with Columbia’s Zach Hernandez loomed as the pivotal match with the winner getting a berth to the NCAA tournament. McKeever grabbed a 1-0 lead at the end of the first period. Hernandez escaped to open the second period, tying the match. In the third period, McKeever posting a takedown in the final minute to take the lead and he prevailed, 3-2. He held off a late charge by Hernandez to secure the win.
McKeever then fell, 8-0, to Penn's Lorenzo Thomas in the consolation semifinals. In his fifth-place contest with Tom Sleigh of Bucknell, McKeever battled, but dropped a 1-0 decision to settle for sixth.
Gillen takes fourth
PITTSBURGH, March 8 -- Junior Patrick Gillen (285) of Shelton went 2-2 and finished fourth at 285 pounds to help No. 18 Virginia win the Atlantic Coast Conference championship Sunday. Gillen lost in the consolation final to Ty Walz of Virginia Tech, 12-6. Gillen beat North Carolina’s Frank Abbondanza, 9-1 and topped Duke’s Brendan Walsh in the consolation semifinals, 6-1.Gillen finished the season with a 15-12 record.
Schuster takes sixth at EIWA
BETHLEHEM, Pa., March 7 – Sacred Heart’s Conan Schuster took sixth at 174 pounds at the EIWA (Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association) championships at Lehigh. Schuster was 3-3 at the tournament, beating two seeded wrestlers. He beat No. 5 Bradley Wukie of Pennsylvania, 5-3 and No. 8 Richard McDonald of Brown by pin in 2:54. "Conan wrestled his heart out all tournament," said head coach Andy Lausier. "This is a huge step in his career and for our program as well."
Sacred Heart finished 15th in the field of 16 teams and did receive the EIWA Sportsmanship Award, as decided by the league officials. Cornell with 176 points won the 111th annual tournament followed by host Lehigh with 145 and Bucknell with 90 points.