NEW YORK – Following two very successful tournaments to begin the 2013-13 season, the Columbia wrestling team will compete in its first head-to-head competition when it travels to Troy, N.Y. Saturday to battle Clarion, Lehigh and Michigan State at the 11th Annual Journeyman/Asics Northeast Duals.
The Lions have had 31 placewinners already this season, as 10 grapplers placed at the MSU Open on November 9, and then 21 Columbia wrestlers found a place on the podium at the New York State Championships on November 24. Matt Bystol (141 pounds), Markus Scheidel (157) and Josh Houldsworth (165) each placed in the top brackets of those respective tournaments.
Columbia has had a trio of wrestlers earn bracket titles, with Zack Hernandez taking the 184-pound freshman/sophomore bracket at the MSU Open, while Eric Fajardo won the 174-pound ‘A’ bracket and Troy Hembury captured the 184-pound ‘B’ bracket championships at the NYS Championships.
COLUMBIA’S PROBABLE LINEUP – NATIONAL RANKINGS
Penn Gottfried was one of eight Columbia wrestlers to place in the ‘A’ bracket at the NYS Championships last weekend. Gottfried claimed second in the 125-pound ‘A’ bracket posting three straight wins before dropping the final bout. He enters Saturday with a 6-3 overall record, with two wins coming via fall and another by technical fall.
Angelo Amenta went 2-2 at the MSU Open and the NYSC to stand at 4-4 overall. Amenta began the NYSC with a 9-1 major decision over NYU’s Corbin Lee and then toppled Thaca’s Alex Gomez in the main draw.
Lehigh sophomore Mason Beckman stands at 4-0 this season and is ranked No. 6/6 (AWN/InterMat) in the latest national polls.
Matt Bystol has placed second in each of the opening season tournaments, and stands at 7-2 on the year. The senior has tallied three pins this season, including a downing of Cortland’s Anthony Battista to open the MYSC. He also notched his second major decision with a 9-1 victory over Cornell Corey Dake in the second round.
Bystol is ranked No. 18 in the most recent AWN poll, while Lehigh’s Laike Gardner entered the InterMat poll this week at No. 20.
After opening the year with three wins at the MSU Open, Connor Sutton had a tough showing at the NYSC, dropping his first two bouts. The sophomore recorded two falls at the MSU Open, defeating Eastern Michigan’s Chris Rau and Michigan’s Thomas Brosnahan.
Clarion first-year Justin Arthur comes into the tournament ranked No. 18 by both national polls this week.
Markus Scheidel has raced out to an 11-2 record through the first two competitions of his collegiate career. At MSU, Scheidel ripped off seven wins following an opening round loss to place fifth and added four more and a third-place finish at the NYSC. Of his team-high 11 victories, four have come via major decisions, also a team-best total.
Lehigh and Michigan State each have a wrestler ranked nationally at 157 pounds. Joey Napoli of Lehigh comes in No. 8/11, while Michigan State’s Ryan Watts is ranked No. 18/19. Watts and Scheidel met at the MSU Open, with the Spartan edging the Lion, 3-2.
Josh Houldsworth has placed in the top-four in each of the first two tournaments of 2013. The senior has been methodical in his victories, scoring decisions in his favor in five of his seven wins. Houldsworth’s other two victories came in a 3:22 pin of Edinboro’s Casey Fuller and a technical fall against Nassau’s Adam DeJesus.
In his first collegiate action in over a year, Eric Fajardo won a quartet of matches to sit atop the podium at the NYSC in the 174-pound weight class. Fajardo began the tournament with a 15-5 major decision over Josh Miller from U.S. Merchant Martime and capped the title with a pin of Cortland’s Lou Puca in 1:58.
Zack Hernandez is tied for second on the team with eight wins in his first 10 bouts. Hernandez earned the freshman/sophomore title at the MSU Open and then moved into the ‘A’ bracket at the NYSC, coming away with a fourth-place showing. Of his eight victories, two were by fall and a third came via technical fall.
Matt Idelson finished as the runner-up in the ‘B’ bracket at the NYSC last Sunday. Idelson pinned Stony Brook’s Jon Campanelli in 4:23 to begin the event, then posted consecutive decisions to reach the finals bout.
Michigan State’s Nick McDiarmid moved into the AWN national rankings this week, using his 7-1 record to slot No. 20.
Wyatt Baker has wrestled to a 4-3 record through the first two tournaments and he earned third place in the ‘B’ bracket last Sunday at the NYSC. Baker has one fall this season, taking down Stoney Brook’s Laurtoro Epstein in 1:01, with his other three wins coming by decision.