No. 4 Ithaca Splits on Opening Day of 2019 NWCA National Duals
January 05, 2019


LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The fourth-ranked Ithaca College wrestling team jumped back into action on Friday when it got things underway at the 2019 NWCA Multidivisional National Duals inside Louisville's Freedom Hall. The Bombers split on the opening day of competition, defeating No. 17 Olivet 29-6 to begin the day, before falling to fifth-ranked Wabash during the afternoon session by a 21-14 score.

No. 4 Ithaca 29 – No. 17 Olivet 6
125 LB: #5/5 Ferdinand Mase (ITHACA) def. Cameron Mahlich (Olivet) | DEC: 5-2
133 LB: Tito Colom (ITHACA) def. Reese Wallis (Olivet) | DEC: 12-7
141 LB: #2/2 Ben Brisman (ITHACA) def. Andrew Castaneda (Olivet) | MD: 13-3
149 LB: Drew Mandell (Olivet) def. Demetri D'Orsaneo (ITHACA) | DEC: 13-8
157 LB: Jawan Jones (ITHACA) def. Cole Hersch (Olivet) | DEC: 14-12
165 LB: Austin Whitney (ITHACA) def. Tyler Grimsley (Olivet) | MD: 13-4
174 LB: Haydn Kinjorski (Olivet) def. Steven Rice (ITHACA) | DEC: 4-3
184 LB: #1/1 Jake Ashcraft (ITHACA) def. Clayton Higelmire (Olivet) | FALL: 0:16
197 LB: Elijah Rodriguez (ITHACA) def. Jacob Harvey (Olivet) | DEC: 5-3
285 LB: #5/8 Jake O'Brien (ITHACA) def. Trevor Piggott (Olivet) | DEC: 3-0

Set for the first action in over four weeks, the Bombers showed little rust when they opened up first-day action at the event against a 17th-ranked Olivet squad that had won eight of its first nine duals on the year. Ithaca raced out to an early 10-0 lead and never allowed the Comets to get within striking distance, scoring victories in eight of 10 bouts to pull away for the 29-6 win.

Senior captain Ferdinand Mase (5th NWCA | 5th d3wrestle) got things going for IC in the opening bout of the dual at 125-pounds. He used a fast start, which would be a theme for several Ithaca grapplers in today's first dual, in scoring a 5-2 decision. Mase racked up two takedowns in the first three minutes to build a 4-1 lead, before adding an escape early in the second period en route to decision win. The triumph improved the senior's record to 14-3 on the year and lifted the Bombers to an early 3-0 lead.

Junior talent Tito Colom continued the trend of fast starts with a dominant opening period against Olivet's Reese Wallis. All of the scoring came in the final minute-and-change of the period, as Colom first took Wallis to the mat for a takedown and two near-fall swipes. He would go on to add four more near-fall points before the horn would sound with IC's man leading 9-0. Colom built the lead to 12-1 heading into the third period, seemingly poised to add some bonus points to IC's team total. However, Wallis used a late flurry, which included a four-point near fall to close Colom's margin to 12-7. The decision doubled Ithaca's early lead in the team score to 6-0.

Ithaca's first bonus points of the afternoon came from the steady work of nationally-ranked junior Ben Brisman (2nd NWCA | 2nd d3wrestle) at 141-pounds. Facing Olivet's Andrew Castaneda, he turned in a workmanlike effort to score the major decision. Brisman posted two takedowns in the first period, while an early escape and two additional takedowns in the second period widened the margin to 9-2. Starting the third period neutral, Brisman drove Castaneda back to the mat for two more points, before securing the major with a stall point and a riding time point in the 13-3 win.

The middle portion of the match featured to bouts that interestingly followed a similar blueprint to one another at 149-pounds and 157-pounds. The Bombers and Comets would split the two bouts with Olivet scoring its first victory of the day in the former, while IC halted the brief shift in momentum with a clutch victory in the latter.

At 149-pounds, senior Demetri D'Orsaneo again continued the trend of hot starts with an early takedown and four-point near fall on Drew Mandell. However, IC's senior was unable to keep the momentum going. Mandell slowly chipped away at D'Orsaneo's edge throughout the second period, scoring an early reversal and a takedown just before the horn to pull ahead 9-8 heading into the third period. Interestingly, needing just a single point to even the score, D'Orsaneo chose the top position to begin the final frame instead of opting for bottom. The move backfired when Mandell scored his second reversal of the bout and went on to ride out the period for the 13-8 decision. The win had the Comets back in the match at 10-3.

The 157-pound bout was a wild one which again featured a big early lead for Ithaca senior Jawan Jones, before a late rally by Olivet's Cole Hersch made things interesting. Jones posted two takedowns and two four-point near falls in the opening three minutes to take a 12-2 lead into the middle frame. The margin did not appreciably change in the second with Hersch scoring an early takedown from the neutral position and Jones getting a quick escape. However, the third period was a wild finish as Hersch closed a 13-4 deficit all the way to two points. In the end, Jones hung on for the 14-12 win, extending his winning streak to 11 straight bouts and pushing IC's team score advantage back to double-digits at 13-3.

Ithaca made no mistakes in putting things away down the stretch. Redshirt junior Austin Whitney scored a convincing victory over one of Olivet's top grapplers in Tyler Grimsley to put IC in position for the win. The Bombers 165-pound standout again got things going early with two takedowns and a four-point near fall just before the horn to lead 8-1 after the first three minutes of action. He tacked on a pair of takedowns in the second period and added a riding time point in the 13-4 major decision win.

Although Olivet kept some slim hope alive at 174-pounds when Haydn Kinjorski edged IC's Steven Rice in a narrow 4-3 decision, senior captain Jake Ashcraft (1st NWCA | 1st d3wrestle) clinched the match for Ithaca at 184-pounds. Showcasing why he is one of the most feared pound-for-pound wrestlers in the entire country, it took Ashcraft just 16-seconds to earn the pin on Olivet's Clayton Higelmire. It was Ashcraft's fifth fall in just nine bouts this season. The six team points widened the Bombers' lead to an insurmountable 23-6 margin.

Rookie 197-pounder Elijah Rodriguez and senior captain Jake O'Brien (5th NWCA | 8th d3wrestle) punctuated the match for Ithaca. Rodriguez earned a hard-fought 5-3 decision over Jacob Harvey, scoring the winning takedown with just seconds remaining in the final period. O'Brien followed with a shutout of Olivet's Trevor Piggott. The wins capped the 29-6 victory and sent Ithaca into the afternoon session with full momentum.

#5 Wabash 21 - #4 Ithaca 14
125 LB: Carlos Champagne (Wabash) def. #5/5 Ferdinand Mase (ITHACA) | SV-1: 5-3
133 LB: Tito Colom (ITHACA) def. Chris Diaz (Wabash) | MD: 15-2
141 LB: #2/2 Ben Brisman (ITHACA) def. Owen Doster (Wabash) | DEC: 10-4
149 LB: #8 Griffin Shermer (Wabash) def. Demetri D'Orsaneo (ITHACA) | MD: 14-4
157 LB: Austin Bethel (Wabash) def. Jawan Jones (ITHACA) | DEC: 8-2
165 LB: Kyle Hatch (Wabash) def. Austin Whitney (ITHACA) | DEC: 11-10
174 LB: #1/1 Darden Shurg (Wabash) def. Steven Rice (ITHACA) | TF: 25-10
184 LB: #1/1 Jake Ashcraft (ITHACA) def. Ethan Herrin (Wabash) | MD: 15-3
197 LB: Levi Miller (Wabash) def. Elijah Rodriguez (ITHACA) | OT-3: 2-1
285 LB: #5/8 Jake O'Brien (ITHACA) def. Wade Ripple (Wabash) | SV-1: 8-6

Unfortunately, the strong start to the day was not sustained during the afternoon session. The Bombers came up short in six of the 10 bouts, which included a couple shocking results in the second match of the day against fifth-ranked Wabash. In the end, Ithaca did not catch many breaks and the Little Giants were able to capitalize in the 21-14 victory.

The ominous vibes began right at the outset, as Mase struggled in his 125-pound bout against Wabash upstart Carlos Champagne. Unlike the opening dual of the day, which saw Ithaca wrestlers jumping out to early leads, the opposite was an overarching theme throughout the dual against the Little Giants. Champagne jumped out to an early 2-0 lead on a takedown with nine seconds remaining in the opening period. Mase responded with a big second period, earning an early escape and then catching Champagne's leg for a takedown to surge ahead 3-2. Unfortunately, Champagne earned an escape in the third period to even the score at 3-3, before scoring the big upset with a takedown 12-seconds into the first sudden victory period.

Ithaca responded well in the next two bouts. Colom turned in one of his best performances of the year in a dominant 15-2 major decision over Chris Diaz. The victory at 133-pounds put Ithaca back on top at 4-3. However, the 141-pound bout did not quite go as planned for the Bombers. Looking to be a potential bonus-point opportunity for IC with Brisman going up against an unranked grappler in Owen Doster, Wabash's man was able to limit the damage. With Brisman poised for the major decision leading 8-1 in the third, Doster was able to get a late takedown to avert further team points conceded. Brisman won the bout in a 10-4 decision.

The match turned in the next four bouts, as Wabash rolled up consecutive victories to turn a 7-3 Ithaca lead into an 18-7 deficit with three bouts to go. While the Little Giants were able to limit IC's scoring chances earlier in the match, they also capitalized with their nationally-ranked wrestlers earning bonus points at 149-pounds and 174-pounds to widen the margin. Griffin Shermer (8th NWCA) got the ball rolling with a 14-4 major decision over Demetri D'Orsaneo at 149-pounds to tie the match at 7-7. Austin Bethel followed with a convincing 8-2 decision over Jawan Jones, snapping the winning streak for IC's 157-pounder at 11 bouts. The true swing bout occurred at 165-pounds as the most competitive matchup of the day featured Wabash's Kyle Hatch and IC's Austin Whitney. Hatch rolled out to a big lead in the opening period, but Whitney stormed back in the third, nearly overtaking Hatch but ultimately falling just short in an 11-10 heartbreaker. The run was capped by unanimous top-ranked 174-pounder Darden Shurg dominating Steven Rice in a 25-10 technical fall with riding time. The Wabash surge forced a situation where IC would need to win the final three bouts with at least one and likely two victories needing to come with bonus points.

Ithaca turned to their stopper in unanimous top-ranked 184-pounder Jake Ashcraft to pull the team back into contention. The senior captain delivered with a 15-3 major decision, which likely could have been much more if not for some very conservative wrestling from Wabash's Ethan Herrin. The victory pulled Ithaca back within seven points at 18-11.

Sadly, the comeback was not meant to be. Rodriguez battled hard in a defensive tactical match against Levi Miller. Three escapes were the entirety of the scoring with the latter picking up a late escape in the third overtime period to win 2-1, clinching the match in favor of the Little Giants. O'Brien rallied for an 8-6 sudden-victory triumph over Wade Ripple to cap the final scoreline of the match at 21-14.

Looking Ahead
Ithaca returns to action tomorrow morning when it will face the winner of No. 9 York (Pa.) and University of Chicago at 9:00 a.m. The Spartans and Maroons will face each other in a consolation round match at 5:00 p.m. this evening.