Bristol, RI --- WPI's Brian Amato (Newington, CT) won a pair of matches Sunday at the NCAA III Division Northeast Wrestling Regional at Roger Williams to earn a spot at the NCAA national championships later this month. The sophomore 125-pounder was one of two all-region performers for the Engineers as teammate Justin Marsh (Upper Black Eddy, PA) also won twice Sunday to earn fifth place at 174 pounds.
Amato began his day with a chance to secure his spot in a semifinal bout with third-seeded Bobby Jordan of Johnson & Wales but dropped a tough 3-0 decision to the freshman. The second-seeded sophomore then used a pair of third period takedowns to defeat Nick Barbaria from Roger Williams before besting Matt Morris of Williams 9-0 in the third place match. When his arm was raised in victory, the sophomore became the second NCAA national qualifier for the Crimson and Gray in the past three years joining Zach Hartzell from 2013.
Marsh entered Sunday needing to win three straight times to reach the national finals in Hershey, PA. The junior started his trek with a 10-3 victory over Joe Cataldo of Cortland State before seeing his national meet aspirations dashed by a pin from Ryan Sblendorio from Wesleyan. Marsh quickly rebounded and knocked off William Burns of Norwich 7-5 to claim fifth place at 174 pounds.
Seniors Tyler Tilbe (Woodbury, CT) and Andy Tanner (Danville, NH) also entered Sunday needing to claim three wins to reach nationals. Tilbe was defeated 8-6 at 141 pounds by Wesleyan's Matthew Pelton while Tanner fell 8-4 to Sean Prell of Johnson & Wales at 165. Tilbe was competing at the the second day of a NCAA regional for the third straight year and it was the fourth consecutive time the senior had reached the second day of the national qualifier (2012 NEWA Championships).
Other winners Saturday for the Engineers included Jack Nigro (Closter, NJ) at 149 pounds and Joe Pizzuto (Liverpool, NY) at 197 pounds. As a team, WPI registered 33.5 points over the two-day tournament to finish 12th. Ithaca collected 128.5 points to claim the team title.
Amato will compete in the NCAA Championships on Friday, March 13th and Saturday, March 14th. The event, hosted by Elizabethtown, will be held at the Giant Center adjacent to Hershey Park.