NEW YORK – The Columbia wrestling team faces its first action of the 2013-14 campaign this Saturday when it travels to Big 10 country to compete in the Michigan State Open. Competition will begin at 9 a.m. at the Jenison Field House with live stats available via trackwrestling.com.
MSU OPEN INFORMATION
The Lions are coming off one of the most successful seasons in the 110-year history of the nation’s oldest wrestling program. Steve Santos captured the EIWA title and posted Columbia’s highest NCAA Championship finish with a third-place showing in Des Moines, Iowa last March. Santos was joined by four teammates at the NCAA Championships, matching a program record for the number of participants on the big stage. Jake O’Hara and Stephen West joined Santos in the graduate ranks, but the Lions return seniors Matt Bystol and Josh Houldsworth.
Columbia also welcomes nine newcomers this season to an already strong roster. Below is a breakdown of the weight classes heading into Saturday’s competition.
COLUMBIA WELCOMES NINE NEWCOMERS
Wrestle-Off Winner: Penn Gottfried – The senior from Hartsdale, N.Y. posted a 22-34 overall record in two seasons of competition for the Lions. Gottfried picked up 14 wins as a first year and after sitting out his sophomore season, he returned to win eight matches last season. At the 2012 NYS Championships, Gottfried went 3-2 with a tech fall and major decision. He earned a dual match victory over Princeton’s Max Rogers and won a pair of matches at the EIWA Championships.
The 125-pound weight class also features sophomore Johnson Mai, as well as, first-years Britain Carter and Vince Pallone. Johnson competed in the 2012 NYS Championships, going 1-2 with a pin of Westchester’s Charlie Gonzalez.
Wrestle-Off Winner: Angelo Amenta – The sophomore from Oregon, Ohio moves into the weight class vacated by Bystol, who will move up to 141 to start the season. Amenta went 5-3 during his rookie season, placing fourth at the F&M Open. At the tournament he pinned UMBC’s Kyle Nichols and notched a major decision, 16-3, over UMBC’s Stephen Beam.
Classmate Joe Moita and first-year Chris Araoz are also listed on the Columbia roster in the 133-pound weight class. Moita went 5-7 during his first year in Morningside Heights, placing fourth at the 2012 NYS Championships with a 4-2 record.
Wrestle-Off Winner: Matt Bystol – Bystol has split time between 133 and 141 pounds since joining the Lions in 2010. His stellar junior season began at 141 pounds with wins at the 2012 NYS Championships, Midlands and Mustang Duals before dropping down to the lighter weight class. After upsetting top-seeded Vincent Dellafave (Rutgers), he went on to grab runner-up honors at the 2013 EIWA Championships and punched his ticket to the 2013 NCAA Championships. Bystol’s 4-1 record in Ancient Eight bouts also led to a second team All-Ivy League selection.
Juniors Ryan Ponte and Elijah Sullivan join sophomore Ryan Murdock and first-year Matt Leshinger in the Columbia 141-pound weight class to begin the season. Ponte carries an overall record of 17-15 into his junior year, while Murdock went 3-2 as a first-year. Sullivan did not compete last season.
Wrestle-Off Winner: Connor Sutton – The new face at 149 pounds, following the departure of Santos, will be Connor Sutton to start the season. The Troy, N.Y. native went 5-4 during his first collegiate season, including a 2-2 showing at last year’s MSU Open. Sutton registered two pins last season, highlighted by an 18 second takedown of F&M’s Eric Norgand at the F&M Open.
Fellow sophomore Alec Mooradian and junior Eric Fajardo are listed at 149 pounds as well. Mooradian split time at 141 last year, posting a 5-7 record as a first-year, while Fajardo did not compete last season.
Wrestle-Off Winner: Marcus Scheidel – The 157-pound weight class is another position in the Lion’s lineup that faced the challenge of filling a large void left from a NCAA participant in Jake O’Hara. Scheidel comes to Columbia after a successful high school career that culminated with a title at the Fargo Junior National Championships at 160 pounds. While competing for St. Edward’s High School, he was the runner-up at the Ohio state tournament at 145 and 152 as a junior and senior, respectively.
Scheidel is joined at 157 pounds by senior Jake Kazimir, junior Chad Ryan and sophomore Jacob Marks. Kazimir took second in the B Division of the NYS Championships a year ago, while Ryan went 3-2 at the 2012 MSU Open. Marks went an even 4-4 in year one as a Lion, posting 2-2 marks at the MSU Open and NYS Championships.
Wrestle-Off Winner: Josh Houldsworth – In what is the most crowded of the weight classes, with seven wrestlers listed at 165 pounds, Houldsworth is a stationary figure from last season. The senior from White Lake, Mich. went 20-7 as a junior, finishing as the runner-up at the 2013 EIWA Championships with victories over a pair of seeded opponents. His performance earned him an automatic qualifier position for the 2013 NCAA Championships.
The remainder of the 165-pound wrestlers include: Andrew Barth, Kevin Brown, Tom Di Vitantonio, Adam Fondale, Justin Mann and Ben Villaret.
Wrestle-Off Winner: Shane Hughes – After competing at 184 and 197 pounds during his first two years at Columbia, Hughes has dropped down to 174 pounds for his junior campaign. Hughes has won 29 matches during his career at Columbia and was named to the All-Ivy League second team during the 2011-12 season following a 5-0 unbeaten conference record.
Sophomore Austin Coniker and first-year Andrew Psomas join Hughes at 174 pounds. Coniker went 3-2 at the 2012 MSU Open in his only competition as a first-year, while Psomas makes the short journey from Staten Island’s Monsignor Farrell to join the Lions in Manhattan.
Wrestle-Off Winner: Troy Hembury – Hembury is the second first-year to claim a wrestle-off victory. The Muncy, Pa. native racked up 166 wins and finished in the top-five in three consecutive Pennsylvania State Tournaments during his high school career.
Senior Drew Rebling and sophomore Zack Hernandez will challenge the newcomer at 184 pounds. Rebling captured sixth place at last year’s NYS Championships and finished the year with nine victories. Hernandez earned five wins in limited action as a first-year, posting four pins and a major decision.
Wrestle-Off Winner: Matt Idelson – Idelson has wrestled to a 10-9 mark through two seasons as a Lion. After going 1-2 at the 2012 MSU Open, Idelson went 4-0 at the 2012 NYS Championships (B Division) to claim first at 197 pounds.
First-year Mike Fetchet is the only other wrestled listed at 197 to start the season. Fetchet competed for South Fatette High School in western Pennsylvania, where he finished in the top-five at the state tournament as both a junior and senior.
Wyatt Baker enters the season as the lone heavyweight on the Lions’ roster. He has earned a 15-8 record during his first two season of collegiate action. In his first-year, Baker placed fifth in the Freshman/Sophomore Division at the Michigan State Open and finished first at the NYS Championships.