After picking up a pair of upsets on the opening day of the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) DIII National Duals in Springfield, Ill., Sat., Jan. 12, the Cardinals added a win over regional rival Johnson & Wales in a consolation semifinal, 26-11, before falling to #6-ranked Wisc.-La Crosse, 25-14, in the consolation final Sun., Jan. 13. As a result, Wesleyan which began the tournament in the 15th-seeded spot opposite second-seeded and eventual tournament runner-up Elmhurst, placed sixth of the 16 teams in attendance. Every team ranked in the top 10 of the latest NWCA national Divison III rankings was represented as well as #13 Luther, #16 Dubuque, #26 Springfield and #30 Wesleyan. The only unranked squads in the field were Johns Hopkins and Johnson & Wales.
Wesleyan, pictured with its sixth-place plaque (top photo), won seven of 10 bouts against JWU and added four wins vs. La Crosse as double-winners on the day included Chris Siracusa '16 (photo lower right), Howard Tobochnik '13 (photo middle right), Kyle Roosa '13 (photo middle left) and Jefferson Ajayi '13 (photo lower left). All had sensational days. Tobochnik finished the Duals 5-0 at 149 pounds after posting a third-period pin vs. JWU and a major decision against La Crosse. Siracusa had a pair of major decisions at 133 pounds while Roosa took a major vs. JWU and a decision against La Crosse at 174 pounds. Ajayi may have had the toughest assignment of the day at 184 pounds with his two decisions. His JWU opponent is ranked #1 in New England at 174 pounds and his La Crosse foe is ranked fifth nationally by both the NWCA and d3wrestle.com. Ajayi, a returning All-American, is listed as a contender (between 11 and 18 in the nation) by d3wrestle.com.
The was Wesleyan's first-ever invitation to the National Duals, which serves as the national championship in Division III since the NCAA sponsors only an individual qualifying format for its national championship.
In review of the opening day, which can be read about in more detail < here >, Wesleyan lost to Elmhurst, 28-10, before downing #7 Olivet, 20-17, and #9 Ithaca, 22-17, to gain a spot in the consolation semifinals.
The new national rankings were released by the NWCA on Thurs., Jan. 17 and Wesleyan catapulted to the #10 spot. Each of the teams to defeat Wesleyan this season is ranked ahead of the Cardinals.
Wesleyan will have six days to reacclimate to New England before taking on tradition rivals Trinity, Roger Williams and WPI in a quad-meet Sat., Jan. 19. All matches will be webcast with the first match slated to start at noon. Roger Williams is ranked #21 nationally.