ITHACA, N.Y. – Competing in his first collegiate competition in over a year, junior Eric Fajardo captured the ‘A’ bracket title at 174 pounds, while teammates Penn Gottfried and Matt Bystol took second at 125 and 141 pounds, respectively, to lead the Columbia wrestling team to a fifth-place finish at the New York State Championships in Ithaca, N.Y. Sunday.

Fajardo opened Sunday’s action with a 15-5 major decision over U.S. Merchant Martime’s Josh Miller. Ithaca’s Carlos Toribio was the next to fall victim to Fajardo, going down via a 10-decision to reach the semifinals. Fajardo then shutout Brockport’s Roy Daniels, 5-0 to reach the final bout against SUNY Cortland’s Lou Puca. In exciting fashion, Fajardo pinned Puca in 1:58 to claim the Lions lone title of the day.

Gottfried added three more wins to his early season tally, reaching the final bout of 125 pounds. In his first two bouts, Gottfried shutout Army Hunter Wood, 3-0, and then posted a 16-0 technical fall against Cortland’s Paul Fields. Gottfried’s semifinal bout was a much closer challenge, but the senior came away with a 3-1 sudden victory against Buffalo’s Max Soria. In the finals, Hofstra Jamie Franco was able to defeat Gottfried, 6-0, for the title.

Bystol has now claimed second at each of the first two tournaments of the season and improved to 7-2 on the year with three more wins Sunday. Bystol posted his third fall of the season to begin the tournament, pinning Cortland’s Anthony Battista in 5:00 before recording a 9-1 major decision over Cornell’s Corey Dake. Bystol reached the finals with a close 4-3 decision versus Buffalo’s Nick Flannery. Unfortunately, No. 7/10 Luke Vaith of Hofstra was able to top Bystol for the 141-pound title.

At 157 pounds, first-year Markus Scheidel placed for the second straight tournament, capturing third on Sunday. Scheidel stormed through his first two bouts, notching consecutive major decisions to reach the semifinals. In a high scoring bout, Hofstra’s Nick Terdick was able to edge Columbia’s rookie with a, 11-8 decision. Scheidel bounced back in the consolation draw with a pair of stellar wins to finish third. He posted his second fall of the season taking down Niagara CC’s Tyler Bruce in 2:38 and then notched another major decision over Army’s Paul Hancock to close out the tournament.

Zack Hernandez also placed for the second time in as many tournaments, claiming fourth at 184 pounds. The sophomore secured two decisions in the opening bouts of the tournament and then pinned Hunter’s Dennis Melendez in 3:50 to reach the semifinals. After suffering a tough loss in the semis, Hernandez edged Cortland’s Nickolas Bellanza with a 9-7 sudden victory in the consolation bracket.

Senior Josh Houldsworth also finished fourth Sunday at 165 pounds. A 19-3 technical fall over Nassau CC’s Adam DeJesus began Houldsworth’s tournament. He followed that up with a 9-4 decision against RIT’s Tory Cain, but fell in the semifinals to Cornell Craig Eifert. In the consolation bracket, a 5-1 decision over Army’s Coleman Gracey set up Houldsworth’s fourth-place finish.

The Lions had a pair of placewinners at 133 pounds, as Joe Moita took fourth and teammate Angelo Amenta came in fifth. Moita’s first win came via a 9-4 decision over Hunter’s Stephen Drew and then he recorded three more victories in the consolation draw. He pinned Nassau CC’s Eric Velez in 2:39 and followed with consecutive decisions for his fourth-place finish.

Amenta reached the semifinals of the main draw with a 9-1 major decision over NYU’s Corbin Lee and a 5-2 decision against Ithaca’s Alex Gomez. Amenta capped the tournament with a 5-1 decision over Army’s Logan Everett to come in fifth.

‘B’ Bracket Results
First-year Troy Hembury captured the title at 184 pounds. Hembury notched consecutive pins to begin the tournament and a 15-5 major decision to reach the finals. In the finals against Cornell’s Michael Alexander, Hembury needed sudden victory, but was able to come away with the 6-4 victory to claim the title.

Johnson Mai reeled off four straight wins to reach the finals of the 125-pound draw to finish second. Mai pinned Ethan Livernash from Alfred State in 1:09 and then posted three straight decisions to improve to 5-3 on the year. First-year Britain Carter also notched a pair of wins at 125, both via pin.

At 133 pounds, Chris Araoz claimed second place in his first action of the season. In impressive fashion, Araoz registered three straight major decisions to reach the semifinals where a 10-4 decision over Stony Brook’s Mike Lanasa put him in the finals.

The 197-pound bracket saw two Lions finish as placewinners, with Matt Idelson coming in second and Mike Fetchet placing fifth. Idelson picked up three wins, including a pin over Stony Brook’s Jon Campanelli before falling in the title bout. Fetchet recorded four straight wins in the consolation draw, including two falls and a major decision before his 7-0 shutout of Tom Murray in the fifth-place bout.

Matthew Leshinger placed in the second straight tournament of his rookie season, taking fifth at 141 pounds. Leshinger won a pair of bouts in the main draw and then three more in the consolation draw, highlighted by a 15-6 major decision over Ithaca’s Tyler Edwards.

Taking the mat for the first time this season, Alec Mooradian claimed third. Mooradian posted consecutive pins to begin the tournament and then an impressive 16-0 technical fall in the semifinals against Niagara’s Jude Gardner. A 5-1 decision versus Hofstra’s Cory Goshkagarian in the third-place bout put the final touches on a good opening tournament for Mooradian.

The 285-pound bracket featured an all-Columbia third-place bout, as Wyatt Baker edged teammate Conor Sweeney. Baker began the tournament with a fall in 1:01 against Stony Brook’s Lautaro Epstein and followed with a 4-2 decision to reach the semifinals. Sweeney used a fall and two consecutive decisions to reach the other semifinal bout before Baker and Sweeney met in the third-place bout.

At 157 pounds, Columbia was represented with two placewinners with Chad Ryan coming in third and Kevin Brown taking fifth. Ryan notched a major decision to begin competition and then back-to-back falls to reach the semifinals. In the third-place bout, Ryan picked up yet another pin, putting down Cortland’s Joseph Bryne in just 0:52.

In the consolation draw, Brown went on a five-bout win streak that included a major decision, a pin and a technical fall. Brown claimed fifth with a 5-1 decision over teammate Jake Kazimir

In the 174-pound bracket, Andrew Psomas and Drew Rebling each won a bout, while Austin Coniker reached the fifth-place bout with four bout victories in the consolation draw that included two pins and two decisions.

Next up for the Lions is the Northeast Duals in Troy, N.Y. on Saturday, Nov. 30.  Columbia will take on Lehigh, Clarion and Michigan State.