On the campus of Northwestern University, the EIWA put together an admirable performance at the 2010 Midlands Championships. The conference placed a total of 13 wrestlers, including tournament champions at 149 pounds and heavyweight.
At 125, the lone EIWA representative on the podium came in the form of Rutgers’ Matt Fusco. The sophomore rebounded after an opening round loss to reel off four wins in a row in the wrestlebacks. Fusco upset seventh-seeded Steven Keith of Harvard on his way to an eighth place finish.
Like Fusco, Lehigh’s Steve Dutton also entered the tournament unseeded at 141 pounds and he too finished eighth behind a 10-3 decision over tenth-seeded Mike Koehnlein of Nebraska.
Bucknell’s Kevin LeValley entered the tournament as the No. 1 seed at 149 pounds and he more than proved his spot. LeValley yielded only a total of eight points through five matches while scoring a combined 56 points himself. In the championship round, LeValley shut out Wisconsin-Madison’s Coulthurst Schmitt by a 4-0 score.
Daryl Cocozzo of Rutgers scored the conference’s lone top-eight finish at 157 pounds. The River Edge, N.J., native made it all the way to the semifinals before falling 10-3 to seventh-seeded Kyle John of Maryland. Cocozzo rebounded to defeat David Bonin of Northern Iowa by a 9-4 score to secure fifth place.
American’s Bubby Graham won three matches in Illinois to earn an eighth place finish in the 165-pound bracket.
The EIWA saw two of its wrestlers at 174 pounds as both Lehigh’s Austin Meys and Rutgers’ Alex Caruso put together solid performances. After a trip to the semifinals saw Meys run end on the wrong side of a 6-0 decision, the Mountain Hawk came back to defeat Ethen Lofthouse of Iowa by a 5-2 decision en route to a fourth place finish. Caruso finished off his tournament with a close 3-1 decision over Missouri’s Pat Wright to earn a seventh place finish.
Lehigh boasted two place finishers at 184 pounds as both Robert Hamlin and Kadeem Samuels found the podium. After finding himself in the wrestlebacks early, Samuels put together five victories, including a 3-2 decision over Nebraska’s James Nakashima in the battle for seventh place. Hamlin dropped a 6-4 decision in the semifinals to eventual champion Travis Rutt of Wisconsin-Madison, but rebounded with a 4-0 decision over Missouri’s Mike Larson to finish third.
Joe Kennedy of Lehigh finished fifth at 197 pounds behind four victories — three via shutouts.
The heavyweight bracket brought the best out of the conference as three grapplers found a spot on the podium. As anticipated, Zach Rey of Lehigh continued his run to a national championship by demolishing the competition for a first place finish. American’s Ryan Flores finished third while Rutgers’ DJ Russo suffered his first three losses of the year, finishing in a disappointing sixth place.
Instead of the trek out West, several EIWA programs decided instead to take their talents South to the Southern Scuffle in North Carolina. It went down to the wire with No. 1 Cornell tying Penn State in the team score category as a total of 15 EIWA wrestlers finished on the podium, six of which wore a Big Red singlet.
Frank Perrelli got Cornell on the board at 125 pounds when his 12-4 decision of Penn State’s Frank Martellotti gave him a fifth place finish. Also at 125 pounds, Princeton’s Garrett Frey started off strong, but an injury forced him to forfeit his last two matches thus ending his day in eighth place.
The bracket for 133 pounds brought about a first place finish for the conference as Penn’s Rollie Peterkin went the distance to take gold. Peterkin went toe-to-toe with Hofstra’s Lou Ruggirello in the finals and came out on the top of a 6-0 decision. Also battling at 133 pounds, Army’s Jodan Thome spent most of his time in the wrestlebacks, but made the most of it by winning four in a row to finish eighth.
Penn’s Zack Kemmerer won a total of six bouts in the 141-pound bracket, none more important than a 6-5 decision over Oregon State’s Michael Mangrum to earn fifth place.
The first of Cornell’s three champions came at 149 pounds where Kyle Dake pinned, majored, and shutout his way to a title. In the finals against Penn State’s Frank Molinaro, the scale tipped the Big Red’s way again as Dake picked up the 1-0 decision. Army’s Daniel Young also placed in the 149-pound bracket, finishing eighth.
While a championship was on the mind of Navy’s Bryce Saddoris at 157 pounds, a late injury slowed the senior down as he could only muster a sixth place finish. Daniel Kolodzik of Princeton went far in the championship bracket, but eventually slowed down en route to an eighth place finish.
Cornell’s second title came when Justin Kerber defeated Minnesota’s Cody Yohn in the finals of the 165-pound bracket.
The Big Red podium parade continued at 174 and 184 pounds with Mack Lewnes and Steve Bosak finished third and second in their respective brackets. Navy’s Luke Rebertus also placed at 184 pounds, putting together four wins to finish fourth.
Cam Simaz rounded out the Cornell tournament winners with a victory in the finals of the 197-pound bracket over George Mason’s Cayle Byers. Penn’s Micah Burak finished fourth in the bracket when he fell 4-0 to Matt Powless of Indiana.
Wrestler of the Week
In his return out West, Bucknell’s Kevin LeValley from Hugo, Colo., took first in the 149-pound bracket at the Midlands Championships. The senior showed his pinning ability in the opening round before scoring big points on his way to the finals.
In the finals against Wisconsin-Madison’s Coulthurst Schmitt, LeValley gave little ground and earned the 4-0 decision. The Bison sits at 15-0 on the year.