Trio of Tigers compete at 2018 NCAA Division III Wrestling Championships
March 10, 2018


CLEVELAND, OH – Juniors Connor Calkins (Almond, NY/Alfred-Almond) and Joe Cutugno (Ventnor, NJ/Atlantic City), along with freshman Kaidon Winters (Athens, PA/Athens Area) represented the RIT wrestling team at the 2018 NCAA Division III Wrestling Championship, held at the Cleveland Public Auditorium on March 9-10, 2018.

It marked RIT's second consecutive year with three wrestlers in the NCAA Championship, as all three grapplers made their national tournament debuts. Winters just missed earning All-American honors, while Cutugno won his opening round match.

Wrestling at 157 lbs., Winters found an improbable way to win his opening round match against No. 7 Kyle Hatch of Wabash College and earn his team-record tying 42nd win of the year. Down 8-1 inside the first minute and 14-3 late in the match, Winters turned the tables and pinned Hatch with 1:09 left to seal the big win. Winters took on No. 2 seed Logan Thomsen of Wartburg College in the quarterfinals and battled valiantly, grappling to a near draw before falling by a score of 2-0. In the consolation round, Winters battled valiantly before falling to Kevin Edwards of Messiah College, 6-5.

Winters finished the season with a 42-11 record, matching Luke Baum for most wins in a season at the university. Baum went 42-9 in 2008-09. Winters also shattered the single-season mark with 22 pins this year and was the first freshman to compete in the NCAA Championship since Mike McInally in 2006-07.

Cutugno won his opening match of the day at 184 lbs. in the first round, 5-3 over Issac Morales of Johns Hopkins University. Cutugno never trailed in the match, leading 2-1 after one period and 3-1 after two periods. He would fall to top-ranked wrestler, Jordan Newman of University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in the second round. Cutugno fell in the consolation round to Deuly Espinal of SUNY Cortland, 7-4 to have his season come to an end with a 25-11 mark.

Calkins, who wrestles at 285 lbs. took on No. 4 seed Isaiah Bellamy of Wesleyan University in the opening round, falling by pin during the opening period. In the consolation round, Calkins suffered a 3-1 overtime loss to Tyler Ortmann of Cornell College (Iowa). Ortmann struck first with a reversal in the second period before Calkins did the same to start the third. In the third overtime, Calkins just missed taking down Ortmann before the Cornell wrestler was able to secure the win with a takedown. Calkins finishes this season with a 12-6 mark.