After the first day of competition during the annual New England Wrestling Association (NEWA) Championships, host Wesleyan has a slim 1.5-point edge over second-place Springfield in what is turning out to be a two-team race to the title. With the field in each weight class trimmed to the last six competitors following the five round of action Sat., Feb. 25, all remaining grapplers are assured of all-New England status. Wesleyan has eight active competitors with four of those - Howard Tobochnik '13 (149, photo upper right), Kyle Roosa '13 (174, photo lower right), Jefferson Ajayi '13 (photo lower left) and Luke Erickson '12 (photo upper left) - still undefeated. Thus, they are assured of a top-three finish. Also still active on the consolation side are 125-pounder Ben Schwartz '15, 133-pounder Joey Schwartz '14, 141-pounder Nick Scotto '14 and 165-pounder Ryan Sblendorio '15. Each has the opportunity to wrestle all the way back to a bracket crown.
Wesleyan has 99 team points while Springfield has 97.5 and boasts nine active wrestlers, five of them unbeaten. Johnson and Wales is a distant third with 65 points. Action concludes Sun., Feb. 26 with the finals of each weight class being webcast starting at approximately 6 p.m. Prior to the championship bouts, there will be an awards ceremony during which two former Wesleyan wrestling All-Americans, Scott Steele '80 and Matt Skalla '85, will be inducted into the NEWA Hall of Fame while John Biddiscombe, current Wesleyan Athletics Director and former 15-year head wrestling coach (1974-88) will be honored as Man of the Year. The webcast can be viewed by clicking < here >.