No. 14 Ithaca Earns Sixth Consecutive Team Title at ECWC Championships
January 19, 2020


ONEONTA, N.Y. – The 14th-ranked Ithaca College wrestling team hit the road on Saturday with the singular focus of extending its reign of dominance over the Empire Collegiate Wrestling Conference (ECWC) for another season. When the final whistle blew on Saturday afternoon the Bombers left the mats at SUNY Oneonta's Alumni Field House with the job accomplished in emphatic fashion. Behind a fantastic all-around performance by Ithaca's 17-man contingent, IC racked up 201.0 team points to easily pull away for a sixth consecutive team title at the event dating back to the 2013-14 season.

Saturday certainly represented a bounce-back performance for the IC grapplers, who departed the NWCA National Duals last week with a bit of a sour taste after failing to emerge from the first day of competition. Ithaca channeled that energy into a dominant outing against its New York counterparts on Saturday. The Bombers posted weight-class champions in five of the 10 divisions, while the squad posted 14 total place-finishers on the day. Both totals were easily the most among the seven teams in attendance. The final standings behind Ithaca went as follows: SUNY Cortland (2nd, 145.5 PTS), SUNY Oneonta (3rd, 125.0 PTS), Oswego State (4th, 124.0 PTS), RIT (5th, 92.0 PTS), Brockport (6th, 71.0 PTS), and Alfred State (7th, 45.0 PTS).

The highlight of the day for the Bombers was the performance of their five champions. This triumphing group included: sophomore 125-pounder Logan Ninos, first-year 133-pounder Travis Jones, senior 149-pounder Ben Brisman, redshirt-sophomore 157-pounder Sam Schneider, and sophomore 184-pounder Eze Chukwuezi. Although not technically included in the champion group, first-year Matthew Beyer went undefeated on the day as well at 149-pounds, before conceding a forfeit in the all-Ithaca 149-pound final. This group combined to post a perfect 21-0 record on the day with 13 of those victories coming with bonus points.

Ninos got the nod as Ithaca's lone 125-pounder in the competition and had no issues in rolling to his first career ECWC title. He conceded just eight total points across his three wrestled bouts on the day, racking up two major decisions along the way. Ninos began the day with a 6-1 decision over Cortland's Benjarmin Lloyd. As the competition intensified, so did Ninos' form, as he defeated Cortland's Rick Chastine in an 18-7 major decision, before shutting out Oswego State's John DeConno in an 8-0 major decision to earn the title.

Jones has put together impressive performance after impressive performance throughout his burgeoning breakout rookie campaign. That continued on Saturday with four more wins to easily class the field at 133-pounds. He began the day with his team-leading ninth pin of the year at 3:44 against Oneonta's Larsen Larame. Jones narrowly missed out on a tech fall in his next bout, surging past Brockport's John Cantwell, but ultimately settling for a major decision at 21-8. The IC rookie's toughest challenge came in the semifinals, as Cortland's Matt Maquet made things interesting in a 9-5 decision that Jones prevailed. The final was a runaway, as Jones blew open an early 2-2 tie with a reversal and four-point near fall. IC's rookie never looked back in rolling to a 20-5 technical fall over RIT's Nate Osborne.

The 149-pound class featured an interesting wrinkle, as Brisman made his first career appearance at the weight in what looks to be a permanent change for the rest of the season. Coming off a challenging weekend in Louisville, Saturday's move up a weight certainly looked to do Brisman some good. He began the day with back-to-back major decisions over Oswego State's Logan McGloine (13-5) and Alfred State's Anthony Miraglia (10-2). He dispatched Cortland's Cahal Donavan in a narrow 5-2 decision in the semifinals to punch his ticket to the final. The 149-pound title ultimately did not take place, as IC first-year Matthew Beyer also delivered a strong performance on the day with two falls over Brockport's Kole Taylor (2:29) and Cortland's Ryan Burgbacher (2:02) and a 7-6 decision win over Oneonta's Tyler Brazinski. With Brisman and Beyer set to clash at 149-pounds, the Bombers decided not to risk a friendly-fire injury.

Much like Brisman, Schneider's performance on Saturday was also a well-earned bounce-back after he found himself on the short end of a couple tightly-contested bouts against nationally-ranked foes out in Louisville. The redshirt-sophomore began the day with a 20-4 technical fall over Cortland's Andrew Sion. He followed that up with a first-period pin of RIT's Ian Houck (1:54). A third bout brought a third bonus-point win for Schneider, as he dispatched Cortland's Ben Bivar in a 13-5 major decision. His closest bout came against Oswego State's Christian Gramuglia in the final with a late takedown in the third period providing the difference in a 6-5 decision win. The triumph represented Schneider's second career ECWC title, as he earned a 149-pound title during his rookie season in 2016-17.

Ithaca's final championship came at 184-pounds where Chukwuezi (10th NWCA | 9th continued his upward ascension three more victories to push his win total to 18-2 on the year. Chukwuezi began the day with a 23-9 major decision over Brockport's Kyler Martin. He followed that bout with a 13-6 decision over RIT's Andrew DiBernardo. He went on to dispatch Cortland's Morgans Kevin with two third-period takedowns in a 6-3 decision.

In addition to Beyer, three other IC grapplers posted runner-up finishes on the day. Senior Tito Colom went 2-1 with a fall in his first action since bumping up to 141-pounds. Junior Jordan Wallace (5th NWCA, 6th also settled for a runner-up finish with a 2-1 record at 174-pounds. He led Cortland's Demitereus Henry 3-0, but ultimately could not see things out in a 5-3 sudden-victory defeat. Senior Dalton Elias added the other performance with a 3-1 record at heavyweight. He posted two falls in his run to the championship bout, but RIT's Sam Weinger snapped the run in an 11-5 decision in the final.

Ithaca's other place-finishes came from the following group: first-year 141-pounder Luis Hernandez (6th), sophomore 157-pounder Colin Murphy (4th), redshirt-senior 157-pounder Demetri D'Orsaneo (5th), junior 165-pounder Adam Wagner (4th), and senior 184-pounder Steven Rice (3rd). This group accounted for 68.5 additional team points, which ultimately accounted for the Ithaca's impressive margin of victory. In total, the group amassed a record of 16-9 with seven of those wins coming with bonus points.