Ithaca College’s No. 5–ranked wrestling team took to the mats once again Dec. 2 for the 2017 Spartan Invitational in York, Pennsylvania. This marked their first action in a week due to Thanksgiving break. The Bombers were looking to defend their title as they finished first at the event last year with 149.5 points. This year, the team came up just short instead, settling for second in the field of 17 teams. The South Hill squad ended their day with 135.5 points, which was behind No. 4 ranked Johnson & Wales University, who took first with 141.5 points.
Despite not finishing in first place, the Blue and Gold still had individual standouts who performed at a high level. Freshman Alec Corrao earned a fourth place finish in the 165 weight division, losing to the eventual winner junior Anthony Arroyo of Baldwin Wallace University.
Junior 125–pounder Ferdinand Mase and sophomore 149 grappler Sammy Schneider each took home third place, while junior Austin Whiney and senior Jaison White finished in second place in the 157 and 174 divisions, respectively.
The team saw its greatest success from its two leading juniors Jake Ashcraft and Jake O’Brien, who each won their division championships. Ranked fifth in the country heading into his event, Ashcraft earned a bye and then four straight wins on his way to facing No. 6 sophomore Khamri Thomas of Johnson and Wales University.
For his part, O’Brien continued to be locked–in after his win at the New York State Collegiate Championships. The junior heavyweight racked up five straight wins, sweeping the competition all the way through the semifinals. In the final match, O’Brien took care of fellow junior Jonah Aurelio of Johnson and Wales after a 12–1 major decision, adding another division title to his resume.
The South Hill squad will have a fairly quick turnaround as the team gets ready for the Ithaca Tri-Meet on Dec. 9. The Bombers welcome SUNY Oswego at noon and Jamestown Community College at 3 p.m. in Ben Light Gymnasium.