Five Alive: Amato, Four Others Advance to Day Two of NCAA Wrestling Regionals

Brian Amato

Middletown, CT --- Brian Amato (Newington, CT) reached the semifinals by winning a pair of matches Saturday to headline the WPI wrestling team's performance on the opening day of the NCAA Division IIII Northeast Championships hosted by Wesleyan.  Amato and teammates Brian Jennings (Danbury, MA), Tyler Tilbe (Woodbury, CT)  Mike Perruccio (Pelham, NH) and Alex Freilich (Worcester, MA) are still alive in two-day NCAA national qualifier as the Engineers sit in eighth place as team with 29 points. 

Amato, the two seed at 125 pounds, began his day with a rare first period tech fall (15-0) over his opponent from Plymouth State before grinding out a 3-2 win against an Oswego State wrestler.  The rookie can advance to nationals by simply winning his semifinal on Sunday morning and reaching the finals or, if he falls in the semis, by winning a pair of consolation bouts. 

Tilbe (141 pounds), Perruccio (149 pounds) and Freilich (184 pounds) all took similar paths to Sunday.  The trio were all required (by luck of the draw) to wrestle a first round bout.  They all won that match and their following bout before falling in the quarterfinals and staying alive by winning a consolation match. 

Tilbe, seeded fifth, registered a pin against Oswego State and a 4-1 decision before being pinned by the fourth-ranked wrestler from Rhode Island College with 10 seconds left.  He bounced back with a 3-2 decision against Southern Maine. 

Perruccio, also seeded fifth, notched 4-0 and 8-0 (major) victories against Trinity and Norwich before getting pinned by the fourth seeded from Johnson & Wales in the waning seconds of the first period.  The senior co-captain responded with a 1-0 triumph against Wesleyan. 

Sixth-seeded Freilich racked up the points with a pin and a 12-0 major decision over Cortland State and Trinity respectively.   After a 7-3 quarterfinal loss to Johnson & Wales, he rebounded with a 10-5 defeat of his opponent from Rhode Island College. 

Jennings took a different path to reach day two.  The 133-pound senior was vanquished was the sixth ranked wrestler from Wesleyan and then countered with a medical forfeit and a second period pin of the fourth-seeded wrestler from Cortland State.  Jennings, Tilbe, Perruccio and Freilich will have to win three bouts on Sunday to be one of three wrestlers from their weightclass to qualify for nationals in Iowa in two weeks.    

Zachary Rahl (Pittsgrove, NJ) and Torin Zonfrelli (Carver, MA) both won consolations bouts before being eliminated.  Rahl recorded 10-1 major decision at 157 pounds versus Western New England while Zonfreli collected a 4-2 decision over Coast Guard at 165. 

Also wrestling at the championships were 174-pounder Justin Marsh (Upper Black Eddy, PA), Teddy Kostopoulos (Milford, CT) and 197 and heavyweight Peter Salem (Dracut, MA).