The 1998-99 Wesleyan wrestling team was composed of youth, hard work and dedication. Wesleyan competes in one of the toughest Division III wrestling conferences in the nation (the New England College Conference Wrestling Association, NECCWA) with 14 other institutions.
Twelve grapplers represented the Cardinals throughout the year as three freshmen, three sophomores, two juniors (one of whom was in his first year on the mats) and one senior comprised the starting unit. The team gained valuable mat-time experience and there is a bright future for this young, committed squad.
The season got off on a very positive note as Wesleyan downed both Rhode Island College and Bridgewater St. in the first two dual matches following tournaments at Springfield, Coast Guard and Hunter. The Bridgewater match came down to the final bout as Wesleyan led by four points when Ryan Tookes '00 hung on to drop a 10-6 decision at 184 pounds, leaving the Cardinals ahead by a point. Brian Fair '01 and Chris Jeffries '01 provided key four-point decisions at 149 and 165 pounds, respectively, to help secure the team win.
Though Wesleyan did not win a dual match thereafter en route to the 2-12 final record, Fair continued to excel, finishing with a 9-3 individual record in dual matches (20-11 overall) and placing in three of the five regular-season tournaments in which Wesleyan participated. Most impressive was his sixth-place finish among 25 participants in the annual Doug Parker Invitational hosted by Springfield. He also met the criteria to be named a scholar All-American. Rob Carrillo '99 also came through with a sound dual-match mark, going 7-7 at 141 pounds, including a team-leading three wins by fall. Carrillo was Wesleyan's lone place-taker at the NECCWA meet, finishing fourth. Myron Allukian '00 had the team's third-best posting with a 6-8 mark at 197 pounds, winning twice by pin.
Wesleyan had a number of individual successes during its tournament participation as Fair, Allukian, Shuang Wang '01 and Nick Bazos '02 all placed in the top six at the preseason Roger Williams Tournament. At the Coast Guard Invitational, which included some Division I colleges as well as a solid Division III contingent, Carrillo and Tookes placed fourth at 141 and 184 pounds, repectively. At the Hunter Tournament, Allukian came in second at 197 while Fair (149) and Carrillo (141) each placed third. In the 13-team Swarthmore Tournament, Fair grabbed second, Wang third and Carrillo fourth.
The young Wesleyan wrestling team looks to build upon its mat time, experience and individual successes attained throughout the 1998-99 season. With a decent recruiting class entering this fall, the team will look for some significant improvements and achievements to occur in 1999-2000.