WIth virtually the same
field of teams at the annual Doug Parker Invitational at Springfield
Sat., Nov. 21 that were represented a year ago at the event, Wesleyan
did itself proud by moving up from ninth in 2008 to a solid third in
2009. Leading the way for the Cardinals as they did a year ago were
125-pounder Dan Bloom '10 (photo insert upper right) and 174-pounder
Greg Hurd '10, as each successfully defending his title. In addition,
four other Cardinals placed in their respective weight class.
Both Hurd, who sits sixth in the latest NCAA Division III rankings (1/4), and Bloom, who ranks eighth, came through with perfect 5-0 marks to win their brackets. Bloom's closest match came in the semi-finals as he won 7-2. Three of his wins came via pin while the other was a major decision. It was much the same for Hurd as he pinned two of his opponents while winning the other three by margins of 14, 5 and 7 points. Bloom and Hurd are two big reasons Wesleyan has cracked into the national rankings as a team, holding the No. 19 spot as of Jan. 4 to go along with its No. 2 regional ranking.
Other top performances by Cardinals grapplers came from Josh Berkovic '10, who placed third at 165. One of his defeats came by a slim 5-3 score against a wrestler from the Merchant Marine Academy ranked eighth nationally. Two Cardinals finished fourth in their weight classes - Kyle Roosa '13 at 174 and Chris Alvanos '11 at 133. Dave Bachy '10 grabbed fifth at 157. Though he did not place, Dave Amrhein '12 had a fine effort at 197, as one of his losses was a 6-3 decision to the No. 8 wrestler in the country.
Wesleyan resumed tournament competition Sat., Dec. 5 when the team ventured to the R.I.T. Invitational as the final activity of the first semester. Once again, Bloom and Hurd swept the field en route to titles. Hurd repeated as champ while Bloom, who needed OT to take first place, improved upon his second-place finish from last season. They were two of nine Cardinals to place in the top six of their weight class, helping the team claim third place for the second time this year, well above its tie for seventh place in 2008 at RIT. Alvanos grabbed fifth place at 133 while Maika Nagata '13 was fourth. Howard Tobochnik '13 made a name for himself by taking second at 141 pounds including a second-period pin of a returning All-American and 10th-ranked wrestler from Thiel, Corey Brown. Tobochnik was named NEWA Rookie Wrestler of the Week for his efforts. Bachy nailed down fourth place at 157 while Roosa came through with fifth place at 174. Amrhein was fourth at 197 and Zach Rolfe '10 produced a fifth-place finish at 184.
The nationally 19th-ranked Cardinals were off until Jan. 9 when they opemed dual-match action at the annual North-South Duals hosted by Ursinus. There the Cardinals faced three nationally ranked squads in The College of N.J. (#6), Ithaca (#4) and Wilkes (#15) while also taking on York (Pa.). Wesleyan's lone team win came over York (34-6) as the Cardinals took eight of 10 bouts. Against the nationally ranked squads, Wesleyan captured just seven of 30 matches while falling 27-13 to TCNJ, 37-4 to Ithaca and 27-12 to Wilkes. In the final match, three decisions went against the Cardinals by a single point. Had those matches gone Wesleyan's way, the Cardinals would have prevailed 20-17. Hurd lost two matches to nationally ranked foes, 10-4 and 3-0, while winning twice by pin. Bloom also was 2-2 with a major decision and a pin. One of his losses was a 7-5 setback to the #5 ranked wrestler from Ithaca.
The Cardinals open the home season Fri., Jan 15, taking on Trinity in their first match of the day, then finishing up against Roger Williams.