No. 14 Ithaca Places Third, Crowns Three Champions in Final Day of Ithaca Invitational
November 02, 2019


ITHACA, N.Y. – The 14th-ranked Ithaca College wrestling team was back on the mats at the Athletics & Events Center's Glazer Arena on Saturday for the second and final day of the Ithaca Invitational. It was another busy day of action for the Bombers with 18 wrestlers still competing in either the championship or consolation brackets on Saturday. Ithaca had several encouraging performances throughout the day, but ultimately had to settle for third-place in the 14-team field, finishing the tournament with 123.5 team points.

Headlining the day for Ithaca was the crowning of three individual champions. Sophomore 125-pounder Logan Ninos gutted out three hard-fought triumphs to capture the win in the lightest weight-class. Transfer Jordan Wallace enjoyed a fantastic IC debut on the weekend, lapping the field in impressive fashion to take the title at 174-pounds. Sophomore rising star Eze Chukwuezi followed Wallace's triumph with a win at 184-pounds to round out an encouraging opening weekend for the new-look IC squad.

Three additional Bombers earned place-finishes on the day. Senior Tito Colom joined the above-mentioned trio in making it to a title bout. Unfortunately, a late takedown and ride-out was the difference in a 5-2 defeat to Hayden Brown of Johnson & Wales in the 133-pound final. Nationally-ranked Ben Brisman (3rd NWCA | 5th had some tough luck in his first action of the season, posting a 2-2 record en route to fourth-place in the 141-pound bracket. First-year Travis Jones closed out his collegiate debut in excellent fashion, going 3-1 on the day with his lone loss coming in the semifinal's against his 133-pound teammate Colom. Jones would go on to take third-place in the 133-pound wrestle-back bracket.

Ninos had an excellent open to the season in the 125-pound bracket. Looking to fill some pretty big shoes with the graduation of two-time All-American Ferdinand Mase, Ninos took an impressive first step with three victories on the day. He began the day with a hard-fought 4-2 win over Castleton's Joseph Valentino.

His Semifinal Round match against Johnson & Wales' Justin Lopez was even more compelling. Trailing 3-2 with time short in the third period, Ninos was able to get a clutch contested takedown late in the third period. Although the Wildcats threw the challenge brick to contest the go-ahead takedown, the call was upheld after a lengthy discussion. Ninos rode out the final few seconds to seal the 4-3 decision and a berth in the finals.

Ninos faced Sprinfield's Joey Manginelli in the finals and again it was a bit of a slow start for the Bombers grappler. Manginelli connected on a pair of shots to take an early 4-2 advantage; however, the bout flipped on its head late in the second period. Ninos connected on a single-leg near the edge of the mat and nearly took Manginelli to his back before the time expired. He settled for a seven-point swing, with the takedown, four near-fall, as well as an extra point awarded on penalty due to an illegal cut-back move from Manginelli. Although Ninos allowed an early escape in the third, he defended his lead down the stretch to take the 125-pound title in a 9-5 decision.

Wallace was impressive in his march to the 174-pound title during his IC debut. Although he was slightly less dominant from his two tech fall performance on Friday, Wallace was no less impressive in his three triumphs on the day. He began his run with a workmanlike 6-1 decision over Castleton's Chance LaPier. Baldwin Wallace's Quinton Kelley proved no-match for the speed, strength and length of Wallace, as he coasted to the final with a 15-6 major decision.

His title bout against RIT's Joe Lupisella was also quite impressive. He emerged with the first two points of the match on a fantastic scramble in which he emerged with the cover. He went on to add another takedown, holding a narrow 4-3 edge heading into the final frame. The IC newcomer began the third period with a quick escape, before tacking on an additional takedown and ride-out to secure an 8-3 decision victory.

Chukwuezi also enjoyed an impressive start to his second collegiate season, which looks to have the makings of something special. He began the day with a comfortable major decision over Davey Goodall of Western New England. He followed that with a workmanlike 8-5 decision over Otterbein's Corbin Bunsold.

The sophomore 184-pounder took on a Castleton grappler in Jason Hoffman in the title bout. He turned defense into offense for his first points of the bout, as Hoffman looked in control with an early high leg on Chukwuezi, only allow the IC grappler to secure the takedown on the scramble. As the bout continued, Chukwuezi only grew stronger, using his speed and focused approach to notch two third period takedowns to open things up in a comfortable 9-4 win.