Brandon Kelly, the nation’s top ranked Division III wrestler at 197 pounds, claimed an individual title and helped lead Wilkes University to the team title at Saturday’s Rochester Institute of Technology Tournament in New York.
The Colonels, ranked 17th in Division III, had ten wrestlers place in the top four of their respective weight classes on their way to amassing 138.5 points. Johnson & Wales, ranked 10th, finished second with 117 points. 13th-ranked Cortland State was third with 113 points, while 27th-ranked John Carroll was fourth with 109.5 points.
Kelly, who had not wrestled since the Colonels season-opening win over York College on November 4th due to an injury, won all four of his matches to claim the 197-pound crown. He pinned Bobby Vanditto from Rhode Island College in 3:59 and scored a 17-0 win by technical fall over John Gottfried from Wesleyan to advance to the semi-finals. After earning an 8-5 win over Diego Crespo from Johnson & Wales in the semi’s, Kelly won the title with an 8-3 victory over Cortland’s Phil Archer.
Felipe Queiroz, ranked seventh nationally, and Shaun Farnham placed third and fourth at 125 pounds. Both wrestlers advanced to the semi-finals before losing for the first time. Queiroz suffered a 7-5 loss to Mike McInnally from R.I.T. in the semi’s, while Farnham dropped a 10-6 decision to Brandon McDonough from Johnson & Wales. Queiroz topped Elie Naoum from John Carroll, 8-4, and Farnham posted a 16-0 technical fall over Thiel’s Josh Testa to set up a meeting between the two teammates in the third-place bout. Queiroz would prevail in the matchup with his teammate, 8-4 to finish third.
Josh Pauling won his first two matches at 133 pounds to move into the semi-finals. There, he lost a tough 4-2 decision to Matt McDiarmid from John Carroll. Pauling rebound with a win by medical forfeit over Cortland’s Eddie Ortiz and then stopped Brian Bucher from Baldwin Wallace, 4-0, to finish third.
At 141 pounds Adam Penberthy posted a fifth-place finish for Wilkes. Penberthy lost in the semi-finals to Paul LeBlanc from Cortland, 5-3. After dropping an 8-4 verdict to Luke Baum from R.I.T. in the consolation semi-finals, Penberthy bounced back to notch a 7-2 win over Damian Rose from Thiel in the fifth-place match.
Erik Smith copped third-place honors at 149 pounds. Smith was also a semi-finalist, falling to Case Western’s Drew Gardella, 7-2. He rebounded with a 4-3 win over Mohammed Salem from Baldwin Wallace to earn a spot in the third-place match. Smith then scored a 5-1 win over Brian Radik from the Coast Guard Academy.
Frank Heffernan advanced to the championship match at 157 pounds. Heffernan was a 3-2 winner over Kevin Keough from John Carroll in the semi-finals. In the title match he fell to Corey Barber from Cortland by a score of 4-2.
At 165 pounds Justin Barowski lost to Cortland’s Zach Bogardus, 10-5, in the semi-finals. Barowski would get off the mat to knock off Mike Sanchez from Case Western 7-4 in the consolation semi-finals. He then notched a 4-2 win over Steve Bagnowski from John Carroll to claim third-place.
D.J. Giancola had one of the toughest routes to follow on his way to placing fourth. Giancola lost his opening round match before stringing together four straight victories. In the consolation semi-finals Giancola topped Baldin Wallace’s Jeremy Feador, 8-4, before suffering an 8-2 loss to Bryan Gomez from Morrisville in the third-place bout.
Josh Ballan finished fourth for the Colonels at 184 pounds. Ballan, who dropped an 8-0 decision to Bryan Lenhardt from Johnson & Wales in the semi-finals, fought back to claim a 6-3 victory over Brian Haines from Baldwin Wallace in the consolation semi-finals. In the third-place match Ballan was pinned by Johnson & Wales’ Will Esposito in 5:40.