October 7, 2022
Ithaca, NY | 58°F


Wrestling: Bombers improve national rank during winter break

The wrestling team, 9–2 overall this season, participated in two winter tournaments during the winter break and climbed to No. 4 in the National Wrestling Coaches Association poll during that stretch.

On the weekend of January 8–9 the Bombers traveled to Cedar Falls, Iowa to compete in the NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals. The tournament featured 16 of the nations top Division III teams.

The Blue and Gold, the sixth seed, defeated Heidelberg 37–12 to advance to the quarterfinals against the nations No. 3 team, St. John’s of Minnesota. Then, the Bombers upset St. John’s 24–10 to move on to the semifinals.

In the semifinals, the South Hill squad competed against the second ranked team in the country, Wartburg College. In a highly contested match between two national powers, Ithaca led by scores of 12–4 and 15–7 before losing the final three bouts and ultimately losing by a final score of 18–15.

The loss sent Ithaca into the third/fourth place consolation match with Augsburg College. The Auggies, the nations No. 1 ranked team, had just come off of a 23–13 loss versus UW-La Crosse. In the consolation fixture, the Bombers lost 27–11 to the Auggies to claim fourth place.

Though the Blue and Gold as a team didn’t finish on top, senior Blaine Woszczak, who wrestles at 149 pounds, was named Most Outstanding Wrestler after finishing undefeated through the tournament. Woszczak compiled a 4–0 record, while in the process defeating the No. 7, No. 4 and No. 3 ranked national wrestlers. He is now ranked No. 2 nationally.

Also finishing 4–0 for the Blue and Gold were juniors Seth Ecker and Jeremy Stierly. Ecker, wrestling at 133 pounds, pushed his 2010-11 record to 16–3. Stierly, wrestling at 157 pounds, missed almost two months due to injury but returned to extend his undefeated seasonal record to 7–0. Both wrestlers share a 62–15 career record.

Next on the schedule for the Blue and Gold was the New York State Championships — a meet for teams from all divisions — on the weekend of January 22–23 in Binghamton, N.Y. The Blue and Gold finished seventh, the highest finish for any Division III team.

Six members of the squad finished in the top eight of their weight class — a feat that merited them all-state honors.

Woszczak was again the standout performer for South Hill as he captured the 149-pound title becoming Ithaca’s first state champion in five years. He was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler, a feat that had only been accomplished by one other Bomber in history. The senior moved into second on Ithaca’s all time career win list, with a record of 126–34. Woszczak is four wins away from the No. 1 spot.

Also placing for the Blue and Gold were Ecker at 133 pounds (third), Stierly at 141 pounds (third), junior Matt Mahon a heavyweight (fourth), sophomore David Foley at 165 pounds (eighth) and sophomore Max Cohen at 125 pounds (eighth).

The Bombers look to continue their accomplished season at 7 p.m., Thursday against Oneonta in Ben Light Gymnasium.