With seven all-New England honorees and three finalists, including 174-pound champion Kyle Roosa '13 (photo lower left), Wesleyan equaled its effort of 2010 at the New England Wrestling Association Championships by placing third. Last year Wesleyan shared third place with Johnson & Wales while this season, it was the Cardinals alone. Springfield won the team title, followed by Williams.
Earning spots in the title bouts were 125-pounder Chris Alvanos '11 (top photo) and 184-pounder Jefferson Ajayi '13 (photo lower right) along with Roosa. Roosa carried an undefeated mark into the finals but fell for the first time to top-seeded Zach Bates of Bridgewater St., 10-8. He had defeated Bates, 7-4, in a semi-final matchup. In the rubber match, Roosa controlled the outcome, posting a solid 6-1 win for the crown and an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Championships at Wisconsin-La Crosse March 11/12. To watch the bulk of Roosa's victory over Bates on YouTube (Wesleyan Athletics), click < here >.
Alvanos reached the winner's final, only to lose a tough 10-8 decision to top-seeded Brandon Gauthier of RIC. Alvanos then pinned his next opponent to earn another shot at Gauthier, this time forging a 7-4 victory, and forcing and third and decisive meeting. Gauthier posted a third-period pin to take the crown.
Ajayi lost twice during the tournament, both times to top-seeded and nationally ranked Brennan Ward of Johnson & Wales. After falling by first-period pin in the winner's final, Ajayi knocked off the consolation champ, 5-1, to get a second shot at Ward. This time, Ajayi made quite a battle of it, but lost by a tight 4-2 count.
Joining Roosa, Alavanos and Ajayi with a top-six finish, good for all-NEWA laurels, were 149-pounder Howard Tobochnik '13 (5th), 157-pounder Troy Sampson '14 (6th), 197-pounder Luke Erickson '12 (5th) and heavyweight Dan Conroy '11 (5th). The Cardinals, named the NEWA Sportsmanship Award winner as well as tying for the top team GPA in the conference, matched last year's output of seven all-conference wrestlers. With Roosa's title, Wesleyan has had at least one NEWA champion in each of the last three years and five of the last six seasons.
Competing in his first NCAA Championships, Roosa posted a 1-2 record, dropping a match to fifth-seeded Matt Pfarr of St. John's (Minn.), 10-2, before running up against Bates of BSU again. Roosa prevailed for the third time in their four recent meetings, this time, 6-2. Roosa was knocked out of the tournament by Frank Savegnago of Elmhurst, 9-3. Savegnago placed eighth in the tournament while Pfarr placed seventh.
Following the season, Wesleyan claimed fourth placed nationally among Division III colleges for team GPA with a stellar 3.505 mark. In addition, Alvanos, Conroy and Tobochnik all received Scholar All-America accolades from the National Wrestling Coaches Assoociation as they met the criteria of a minimum 3.2 cumulative GPA and either qualified for NCAAs, placed in the NCAA regional qualifier (each did) or won 66% of their matches (each did). For the complete list of team and individual academic honorees, please click < here >.