Bristol, RI --- For the second straight year, WPI 125-pounder Brian Amato (Newington, CT) reached the semifinals of the NCAA III Division Northeast Regional Wrestling Championship. The sophomore will need to just win once on Sunday to qualify for the NCAA national championships and twice to claim the regional title.
In addition, teammates Tyler Tilbe (Woodbury, CT), Andy Tanner (Danville, NH) and Justin Marsh (Upper Black Eddy, PA) advance to the second day of competition and can reach nationals with three wins at Roger Williams on Sunday.
Amato, who was seeded second in the 13-person bracket, drew a round-of-16 bye before defeating Mat Bradice from Cortland State 6-3 in the quarterfinals. He will face third-seeded Bobby Jordan of Johnson & Wales in the semifinals that also feature top-seeded James Kaishian of Ithaca and fifth-seeded Matt Morris of Williams.
The trio of Tilbe and Marsh blazed similar paths to Sunday, both winning round-of-16 matches, falling in the quarterfinals, then capturing a consolation four bout. Tilbe began his day seeded eighth at 141 pounds and bested Matthew McAllister of Coast Guard 6-2. After being defeated 4-2 in the waning moments by top-seeded Michael Ferinde of Johnson & Wales, the senior reached his third straight regional Sunday with a first period pin of Tristan Leek from Plymouth State.
Marsh, the seventh seed at 174, pinned Taylor Lozier of Plymouth State at 4:25 then was nipped 3-2 by second-seeded Shaun Gillen of Oneonta State. The junior punched his ticket to Sunday in dramatic fashion, defeating Brandon Conrad of Rhode Island College 2-1 on tie-breaker 1.
Tanner, the sixth seed at 165 pounds, got to Sunday the hard way, dropping his round-of-16 match 2-1 to Michael Palomba of Coast Guard before rattling off a pair of victories to stay alive. The senior bested Mitchell Fisher from Oneonta State 8-5 before downing Kyle Gaffney of Williams 5-3 in sudden victory 1.
Jack Nigro (Closter, NJ) and Joe Pizzuto (Liverpool, NY) both notched wins for the Crimson and Gray. Nigro won his first round bout with Ben Swanson of Norwich 4-2 at 149 pounds while Pizzuto claimed a first period pin of Bridgewater State's Shahib Blount in consolation four at 197 pounds. Also competing for WPI at regionals were Stephen Jendritz (Rockford, MI) at 133, Tanner Burke (Derry, NH) at 157, Lucas Muntz (West Hartford, CT) at 184 and Teddy Kostopoulos (Devon, CT) at heavyweight.
On the day WPI amassed 21.5 points and sits in 12th place. Williams enjoys a slight edge in the team race. The Ephs totaled 66.5 points Saturday but have three other teams within 4.5 points or closer.
Action on Sunday begins at 10am.