Bridgewater, MA --- The WPI wrestling team rallied for five wins in the last six bouts to defeat Western New England 29-16 Sunday afternoon at the NEWA Dual Meet Championships and in the process earned the program's 500th all-time victory. The win was the first collegiate coaching triumph for head coach Steve Hall and helped the Engineers finish 13th at the event hosted by Bridgewater State.
Trailing 13-6 after four matches, the Crimson and Gray turned the tide at 157 pounds when senior captain Tyler Howe (Danbury, CT) tallied his second first period pin of the day to shave the deficit to 13-12. After a Western New England win at 165, Alex Freilich (Worcester, MA) answered right back with a 4-2 victory at 174. WPI grabbed the lead for good one bout later when David Cardenas (Framingham, MA) scored a technical fall (17-2 - 7:00) at 184 and added a cushion with a 9-5 win by Joe Vanni (Hamilton, MA) at 197 and an Anthony Corbo (Port Washington, NY) forfeit at heavyweight.
The Engineers received key points early in the march with a first period pin by Mike Perruccio (Pelham, NH) at 133 pounds. The victory avenged a 33-10 loss to the Golden Bears just eight days ago in Springfield.
WPI nearly had the historic victory one match earlier. The Engineers raced out to a 24-12 advantage on Trinity, powered by first period pins by Perruccio, Howe and Freilich and a forfeit win from Brian Jennings (Danbury, CT) at 125, only to see the Bantams rally for victories in the final three bouts to deal the Crimson and Gray a 25-24 defeat.
The Engineers opened the day with a 31-15 loss to Johnson & Wales. Jennings started things off on a good note with a 9-0 major decision at 125 while Howe recorded a technical fall (17-0 - 4:24) at 157 and Tom Lacroix (Salem, NH) and Cardenas collected wins by decision at 165 and 184 respectively.
WPI is back in action next Sunday, traveling to Gorham, ME for a tri-meet with Southern Maine and Plymouth State.
NEWA Dual Meet Recap From Bridgewater State Sports Information
Wesleyan University captured the New England Wrestling Association "Headlock for Hunger" Dual Meet Championship on Sunday afternoon as the second-seeded Cardinals knocked off number five seed Plymouth State University, 24-12, in the title match.
Wesleyan won the tournament for the first time in the 11-year history of the event. Following Wesleyan and Plymouth in the standings were Springfield College in third place, Williams College in fourth and Rhode Island College in fifth. Host Bridgewater State University rounded out the top six teams.
Wesleyan went 3-0 after receiving a first round bye. The Cardinals defeated Coast Guard Academy, 37-6, in the quarterfinals and third-seeded Williams College, 28-7, in the semifinals to advance to the championship match.
The 14 Division III New England wrestling teams that competed in the tournament also held a food drive to help support three local area food pantries; the Bridgewater Food Pantry, Father Bill's and MainSpring House in Brockton and My Brother's Keeper in Easton.
(#1) Springfield College - Bye
(#2) Wesleyan University - Bye
(#3) Williams College 44, (#14) Norwich University 0
(#4) Johnson & Wales University 31, (#13) WPI 15
(#5) Plymouth State University 24, (#12) Trinity College 15
(#6) Bridgewater State University 34, (#11) Western New England College 3
(#7) U.S. Coast Guard Academy 23, (#10) Roger Williams University 21
(#8) Rhode Island College 33, (#9) University of Southern Maine 15
Second Round Matches (12:00 PM)
Championship Bracket Quarterfinals
Springfield College 22, Rhode Island College 16
Wesleyan University 37, U.S. Coast Guard Academy 6
Williams College 21, Bridgewater State University 19
Plymouth State University 20, Johnson & Wales University 18
Consolation Bracket Quarterfinals
University of Southern Maine - Bye
Roger Williams University - Bye
Norwich University 28, Western New England College 15
Trinity College 25, WPI 24
Third Round Matches (2:00 PM)
Championship Bracket Semifinals
Plymouth State University 24, Springfield College 16
Wesleyan University 28, Williams College 7
Semifinals for Fifth Place
Rhode Island College 24, Johnson & Wales University 12
Bridgewater State University 28, U.S. Coast Guard Academy 15
Consolation Bracket Semifinals
Trinity College 29, University of Southern Maine 12
Roger Williams University 34, Norwich University
Thirteenth Place Match
WPI 29, Western New England College 16
Fourth Round Matches (4:00 PM)
Wesleyan University 24, Plymouth State University 12
Third Place Match
Springfield College 21, Williams College 19
Fifth Place Match
Rhode Island College 30, Bridgewater State University 13
Seventh Place Match
Johnson & Wales University 30, U.S. Coast Guard Academy 21
Ninth Place Match
Roger Williams University 27, Trinity College 15
Eleventh Place Match
University of Southern Maine 31, Norwich University 18