Three Cardinals earned a spot in
the championship match of their respective weight class during the New
England Wrestling Association (NEWA) Championships hosted by Springfield
Sat.-Sun., Feb. 21-22. Dan Bloom '10 (main photo) came back from the
consolation side to capture an individual title at 125 pounds, defeating
defending NEWA titlist Ethan Cohen of Williams, 3-0, in the title bout.
The two wrestlers met three times this season with Bloom prevailing
twice. Bloom received an automatic berth to the NCAA Division III
Championships at Coe College Sat - Sun., Mar 6-7.
Joining Bloom and the other nine individual titlists as one of four additional wrestlers to qualify at-large for the NCAAs is Greg Hurd '10 (photo insert lower left) as he placed second at 174. Josh Berkovic '10 (photo insert lower right) was the runner-up at 165 pounds but did not receive a nod to the NCAAs. With three representatives in the title bouts, Wesleyan was exceeded only by team champion Williams, which had four finalists. Second-place Johnson & Wales equaled the Cardinals with three grapplers in the title matches. Six other teams had one or two team members going for a crown. The last time Wesleyan had as many as three individuals in championship matches was 1986. The Cardinals had three that year. The most ever by the team was six in 1984 when Wesleyan won the team title.
Hurd lost twice during the championships to Jerome Owens of Johnson & Wales, the top-ranked wrestler in his weight class in Division III. The title match was an 8-4 decision for Owens. Berkovic dropped a 12-7 decision to top-seeded Mike Morin of Southern Maine. Berkovic lost his opening match of the tournament, then won five in a row to work his way back to the title match. Hurd reached the winner's bracket finals, then defeated the consolation champion to earn a second shot at Owens.
Wesleyan had two other all-New England placewinners as heavyweight Dan Conroy '11 went 4-2 to finish third in his bracket while Dave Bachy '10 went 3-2 at 149 pounds to place fifth.
As a team, Wesleyan placed sixth of 15 teams, three spots higher than its final position at the NEWA Championships a year ago. The Cardinals also ranked second among the 15 teams for aggregate team GPA with a 3.06 figure.
At the NCAAs, Bloom went 1-2 with his losses coming against two All-Americans - Tyler Erdman of Elizabethtown who placed seventh and Mark Kist of Wartburg, who finished third. Bloom lost to Erdman, 8-4, and to Kist, 4-3. Bloom's win came against Shaun Farnham of Wilkes, 9-5. Hurd went 0-2, also dropping matches to two All-Americans - Brian Thomason of York (an 8-0 decision) and Evan Brown of Dubuque (a second-period pin). Thomason placed eighth. Brown went on to claim a national title.
Hurd closed out the year with an overall record of 35-6. Bloom had a total mark of 34-6. Both Bloom and Hurd were named National Wrestling Coaches Association Scholar (NWCA) All-Americans along with Conroy and Bachy. Wesleyan also achieved NWCA Scholar Team honors, ranking seventh among Division III colleges.