EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Columbia wrestling team tallied a
trio of first-place finishes, as well as a fourth and fifth-place showing
Sunday at the Michigan State Open. Seniors Steve Santos, Jake O'Hara and
Stephen West all secured draw titles, while Chad Ryan and Austin Coniker
finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
The Michigan State Open, one of the largest and most
prestigious pre-conference opens in the nation, featured wrestlers from 29 schools, competing in both freshmen/sophomore and open draws.
"I am really happy with the performance out of those three
seniors," commented Andrew F. Barth Head Coach of Wrestling Carl Fronhofer
after the tournament. "We wrestled really well and got some great wins today.
It's obvious that these three guys are leading our team inside the practice
facility and in the competition arena, so it was great to see the positive
results. Coniker and Ryan also performed well, placing in their respective
In the 149 pound open draw, Santos, ranked 15th in the
nation by Intermat, began the day with a dominant 11-0 major decision over Alex
Griffin from Purdue. Jonatan Rivera from Notre Dame (Ohio) was next to fall
victim to Santos, dropping a 9-2 decision to move the Columbia senior onto the
semifinals. Santos' last two opponents en route to the title both wrestled for
Edinboro. In the semifinals, Mike Depalma went down via a 7-3 decision, before
Santos edged No. 17 Dave Habat, 5-4, to claim first place.
No. 15 O'Hara took a similar route to the 157 pound open
draw title, winning his first match by major decision and then winning the next
three by decision. O'Hara opened the tournament with a 12-3 major decision over
Purdue's Dustin Schultz before topping Kent State's T.J. Keklak with a 3-1
decision to reach the semifinals. Central Michigan's Lucas Smith challenged
O'Hara in the semifinals, but eventually succumbed, 6-4, to O'Hara. In the
finals, the host school was represented by Ryan Watts, but O'Hara was able to
dispatch his opponent with a 3-1 decision.
West took the longest route to his title in the 174 pound
open draw, winning five matches, including two pins and a major decision. West
began the 2012-13 campaign with back-to-back pins over Central Michigan's
Taylor Schuck and Michigan State's Kevin Nash. Ohio's Michael Duckworth fell in
the quarterfinals by way of major decision, 10-2, to West, setting up a
semifinals matchup with Jake Davis. West continued his impressive day against
Eastern Michigan's Davis, shutting him out for a 6-0 decision. In the final
round, Michigan's Jordan Wohlfert gave West his toughest challenge of the day,
but Columbia once again came out on top with a 3-1 decision.
Back in the 157 pound open draw, Columbia's Ryan made his
way to a fourth-place finish. In the back draw, Ryan knocked off Kent State's
Mallie Shuster 11-4 and then followed that win up with a major decision over
Ohio State's Tim Rigel, 12-3. Ryan earned a spot in the third-place match with
a pin of Northwestern's Ben Sullivan in 1:52.
Coniker was the fifth Lion to place in East Lasing, claiming
fifth in the 174 pound freshmen/sophomore draw. The first-year from Pittsburgh,
Pa. started Sunday off with a 16-2 major decision over Spencer Blatz from
Manchester and then took down Kyle Koziel from Notre Dame (Ohio) with a 3-1
decision. After falling in the semifinal, Coniker moved to the back draw where
he defeated Kent State's Mike Vollant with a 4-2 decision to secure
Columbia returns to the mat Saturday, Nov. 17 at the New
York State Championships in Ithaca, N.Y.
Michigan State Open
Place-winners (Top 6)
149 pounds - Steve Santos (Senior, First)
157 pounds - Jake O'Hara (Senior, First)
174 pounds - Stephen West (Senior, First)
157 pounds - Chad Ryan (Sophomore, Fourth)
174 pounds - Austin Coniker (First-year, Fifth)