Defeating Coast Guard, 37-6 in their first match of the day, then besting Little Three rival Williams, 28-7, in the semi-finals, before downing Plymouth St., 24-12, in the championship match, the Cardinals secured the title in the annual NEWA Duals, hosted by Bridgewater St., Sun., Jan. 23. This is the 11th year of the Duals and first title for the Wesleyan, which was seeded second of the 14 teams in the event. Last year, the Cardinals earned a third-place finish while the team's previous best effort came in 2002 when Wesleyan hosted the Duals and finished second.
Four Cardinals went undefeated on the day as 125-pounder Chris Alvanos '11 (photo insert upper left) stayed unbeaten in dual matches for the year (12-0) with three hard-earned decisions, getting the Cardinals off to a 3-0 start each time. He beat both the third-ranked and fourth-ranked wrestlers in New England. He came into the Duals ranked fifth.
At 133 pounds, Maika Nagata '13 (photo insert upper right) upped his dual record to 10-2 with three wins, including a major decison over his Williams rival, who was ranked sixth. He also posted the team's lone pin in the championship match, giving Wesleyan a 9-0 lead. Nagata is ranked fourth regionally.
Howard Tobochnik '13 (photo insert lower right) posted the biggest win of the Duals for the Cardinals when he defeated the top-ranked wrestler in N.E. at 149 pounds with a decision over Corey Paulish of Williams. He also had a pin vs. Coast Guard and an injury default victory in the title matchup. Tobochnik holds down the #4 spot in the regional rankings.
Rounding out the team's 3-0 performers was heavyweight Dan Conroy '11 (main photo lower left). Ranked second in New England, Conroy pinned his Coast Guard foe while registering decisions in his last two bouts. Conroy is 7-3 in dual matches this year.
In the championship match vs. PSU, Tom Oddo '12 gave the Cardinals a big lift at 165 pounds, upsetting the #4 ranked wrestler in New England. That gave Wesleyan a comfortable 21-3 lead with four bouts remaining.
With nine straight dual wins after an 0-2-1 start, the Cardinals have eclipsed the team mark for consecutive victories of eight, first established during a 13-1 season in 1982-83 and equaled twice, most recently during a 17-2 campaign in 2001-02.
Wesleyan ran its win streak to 10 matches with a cozy 39-6 victory at Western New England, highlighted by first-period pins by Nagata and Tobochnik. Alvanos kept his dual-match record unblemished with a major decision. Jefferson Ajayi '13 and Luke Erickson '13 also had major decisions at 184 and 197, respectively, while Conroy was credited with a forfeit.
Wesleyan, ranked #1 in New England and #26 nationally, will be at Springfield Sat., Jan. 29, facing the Pride, Norwich and RIC in hopes of extending its win mark further. Springfield finished third at the Duals after being seeded first while RIC placed fifth.