No. 17 Ithaca Set to Play Host to NCAA Mideast Regional at A&E Center This Weekend
February 27, 2020

 


ITHACA, N.Y. – The 16th-ranked Ithaca College wrestling team heads into the championship portion of its season over the upcoming two weeks, beginning with the 2020 NCAA Mideast Regional Championships set to be held inside the Athletics & Events Center's Glazer Arena on Saturday, February 29, and Sunday, March 1. The Bombers are set to have 10 grapplers on the mats, competing against 17 other Mideast Region teams with the Top-3 in each weight class set to punch tickets to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, for the NCAA Division III Championships during the middle of March.

About the Region

Following a one-year hiatus, NCAA Wrestling Regionals return to South Hill for the 2019-20 season. Brockport served as the host site for the 2019 Mideast Regionals, while Ithaca served as host for the 2018 Mideast Regionals. Beginning in the 2012-13 season, the NCAA Championships Committee adopted its current format of Regional Qualifying Tournaments to determine berths to the NCAA Division III National Championships. Prior to that time, bids to the national tournament were decided by respective conference championship events, specifically for Ithaca the Empire Collegiate Wrestling Conference (ECWC) Championships. Ithaca hosted the penultimate ECWC Tournament that was used to determine bids near the conclusion 2010-11 campaign.

After the NCAA adopted the current format, Ithaca was placed in the Northeast Region, in which it had competed for five seasons up until the 2017-18 academic year. The NCAA Wrestling Championships Committee formally signed documents for regional realignment during the fall of 2017, placing Ithaca as well as the other ECWC members – SUNY Cortland, Oswego State, SUNY Oneonta, and RIT – to the Mideast Region. New to the region this season are Pitt-Bradford and Penn College.

This weekend will mark the second time that Ithaca will be hosting NCAA Regional Qualifying in the current format.

Weekend Goals

Ithaca will have 10 total grapplers on the mats this weekend at A&E. IC will have one wrestler competed in each of the 10 weight classes. The goal for the Bombers is to qualify as many wrestlers to the National Championships as possible.

In order to qualify for the National Championships, wrestlers must finish in the Top-3 places this weekend. Ithaca has qualified at least six grapplers for the NCAA National Championships in each of the past four seasons.

The Lineup

125 LB | Logan Ninos (So.) – 2020 Record: 26-10 (Overall), 19-4 (Tournament), 7-6 (Dual)
133 LB | Travis Jones (Fr.) – 2020 Record: 32-5 (Overall), 19-3 (Tournament), 13-2 (Dual)
141 LB | Tito Colom (Sr.) – 2020 Record: 9-10 (Overall), 6-2 (Tournament), 3-8 (Dual)
149 LB | Ben Brisman (Sr.) – 2020 Record: 17-5 (Overall), 7-2 (Tournament), 10-3 (Dual)
157 LB | Sam Schneider (R-So.) – 2020 Record: 13-4 (Overall), 6-0 (Tournament), 7-4 (Dual)
165 LB | #7/6 Austin Whitney (R-Sr.) – 2020 Record: 14-4 (Overall), 7-1 (Tournament), 6-2 (Dual)
174 LB | #7/8 Jordan Wallace (Jr.) – 2020 Record: 20-2 (Overall), 11-1 (Tournament), 9-1 (Dual)
184 LB | #10/10 Eze Chukwuezi (So.) – 2020 Record: 24-2 (Overall), 12-0 (Tournament), 12-2 (Dual)
197 LB | Dymir Davis-Carruth (Jr.) – 2020 Record: 6-11 (Overall), 2-4 (Tournament), 4-7 (Dual)
285 LB | Dalton Elias (Sr.) – 2020 Record: 23-11 (Overall), 13-6 (Tournament), 10-5 (Dual)

Weight Class Outlook

125 LB
Ninos is set to compete in his first NCAA Regional after beginning his IC career second on the depth chart behind two-time All-American Ferdinand Mase '19 a season ago. Ninos is in the midst of a breakout campaign in his first season as Ithaca's primary 125-pounder, entering the weekend with an overall record of 26-10. Highlighting the season for Ninos are several place-finishes at major tournaments, which included 125-pound titles at the Bomber Invitational (Nov. 1-2) and the ECWC Championships (Jan. 18), as well as a runner-up mark at the New York State Championships (Nov. 24) and a fifth-place effort at the New Standard Invitational at York (Dec. 6-7).

The 125-pound bracket figures to be one of the more competitive divisions this weekend. The stiffest competition figures to be from TCNJ's Dan Ortega (8th NWCA | 4th d3wrestle.com) and Brockport's Matt Caccamise (5th NWCA | 7th d3wrestle.com) who both enter the weekend unanimously ranked by the national pundits. Ursinus freshman Terry Adams also figures to be a tough out, as he is on the cusp of the national polls during a breakout rookie campaign.

Ninos has faced both Adams and Caccamise this season, while Ortega did not compete when the Bombers faced TCNJ at the Journeymen Duals in early November. The IC sophomore was competitive in both wrestled bouts, dropping a 5-3 decision to Caccamise in the 125-pound final at the New York State Championships and coming up short in a 5-2 decision to Adams at the New Standard Invite. Ninos also has a competitive bout albeit a defeat against Averett's nationally-ranked Sam Braswell to his credit this season. The IC sophomore will look to get over the hump this weekend in a quest for his first national qualification.

133 LB
If you are searching for a wrestler that has flown under-the-radar on the national stage this season you will probably have a difficult time finding a better candidate than Ithaca's first-year 133-pounder Travis Jones. The IC grappler is in the midst of one of the finest rookie seasons in program history; however, outside of the region he has received little in the way of national attention. Jones will be looking to make his statement on the national stage and it will begin this weekend in a field that returns just one national qualifier from a season ago in TCNJ's nationally-ranked grappler and returning All-American Jake Giordano (3rd NWCA | 4th d3wrestle.com).

Jones rolls into the weekend on a current 12-bout winning streak dating back to the NWCA National Duals in early January, while he boasts a team-best 32-5 record in overall competition this season. On his ledger this year are 13 pins and nine technical falls, the latter of which ranks among the nation's Top-10 grapplers for the statistic. His current winning stretch has been nothing short of dominant, as he has racked up nine bonus-point wins among the 12 triumphs, a mark that includes one major decision, one technical fall, and seven falls. Jones has place-finishes to his credit at every major tournament he has competed in this season, which includes the 133-pound title at the ECWC Championships in January.

Jones has one head-to-head matchup against the division favorite in Giordano this season. The two grapplers faced each other at the Journeymen Duals in early November with Giordano squeezing out a close 7-5 decision. Also on the ledger for Jones among his highlights this season is a 1-1 record against nationally-ranked Stevens 133-pounder Kyle Slendorn (9th NWCA | 8th d3wrestle.com) with the win coming in an 11-5 decision in a dual in November, before Slendorn earned a pin at the New Standard Invite.

141 LB
Senior Tito Colom will get the nod at 141-pounds for the Bombers and will look to cap what has been a challenging senior campaign with a strong finish. Colom entered the year with the designs to take over the 125-pound slot vacated with the graduation of Mase; however, with the strong emergences of Ninos and Jones, Colom found himself bumped up to the 141-pound division after Brisman made a similar bump from his traditional lineup slot. The move has been a challenging one for the senior thus far with Colom posting a 4-5 overall record since moving to the weight full-time for the ECWC Championships. Colom has runner-up finishes at the Ithaca Invitational and the ECWC Championships on his ledger this season and will be looking to earn a Top-3 finish to secure his second qualification to the NCAA Championships – he qualified at 133-pounds during his sophomore season in 2018.

The 141-pound bracket looks pretty wide open with few clear-cut headliners among the group. Muhlenberg sophomore Greg Baum figures to be one guy to keep an eye on this weekend, while TCNJ junior Robert Dinger also is guy expected to be in the mix after qualifying for nationals a season ago.

149 LB
The 149-pound class begins a bit of a run for the Bombers through the middle weights, which features four grapplers who have at least one qualification for nationals on their respective career resumes. None are more accomplished than senior Ben Brisman who makes the jump up a weight-class after delivering an 141-pound national championship two seasons ago in 2018 and a fourth-place finish last season in Roanoke, Virginia. It will be a challenging road back to the National Championships for Brisman, as the 149-pound class looks to be one of the more loaded fields this weekend.

Brisman has had a solid senior campaign, entering the weekend with a 17-5 overall record and a perfect 10-0 mark since making the shift to 149-pounds in mid-January. On his ledger this season is a fourth-place finish at the Ithaca Invitational to begin the year and more relevantly a 149-pound title at the ECWC Championships.

The field of 149-pound challengers is headlined by Centenary first-year Ryan Anderson (1st NWCA | 8th d3wrestle.com) who burst onto the national scene with a defeat of top-ranked Brett Kaliner of Stevens just two weekends ago. TCNJ senior Anthony Gagliano and Muhlenberg senior Austin Sherman also figure to be in the mix. Sherman will be especially motivated after narrowly missing out on that national bid at last year's regionals in which he placed fourth. Also be on the lookout for SUNY Cortland first-year Cahal Donovan who gave Brisman some trouble last week at the Rumble & Tumble Meet, which Brisman emerged with a 3-2 decision.

157 LB
The 157-pound bracket will feature the heralded return of redshirt-sophomore Sam Schneider who is set for his first appearance at the Regional Championships since his rookie campaign in 2016-17. Schneider made his return to action for the Bombers this season following nearly a two-year recovery from a horrific leg injury that derailed what had been one of the finest starts to a career in Ithaca's history. This weekend will mark Schneider's first action at NCAA's since earning fifth-place and All-America honors during his rookie season.

Schneider has had a strong season in his return to action, posting a record of 13-4 in a managed workload this year. After knocking off the rust during the first half of the year, Schneider seems to be hitting his stride at the perfect time. He enters the weekend with wins in his last eight bouts, which includes the 157-pound title at the ECWC Championships. Of his 13 triumphs, eight have come with bonus points, as he has three major decisions, three technical falls, and two pins on his ledger this year.

RIT junior Kaidon Winters (5th NWCA | 6th d3wrestle.com) appears to be the stiffest competition among the 157-pound field. He is a returning All-American after placing fifth at NCAA Nationals in Roanoke, Virginia, last March. Oswego State junior Christian Gramuglia, TCNJ first-year Matthew Sacco and Elizabethtown rookie Brian Schneider also figure to be in the mix for berths this weekend.

165 LB
The 165-pound bracket will be represented by another returning All-American for the Bombers in redshirt-senior Austin Whitney (7th NWCA | 6th d3wrestle.com), who placed eighth down in Roanoke, Virginia, a season ago. Whitney has posted a solid season in what has been a managed workload throughout much of the season, entering the weekend with a 14-4 overall record that includes seven pins.

On Whitney's resume this season are a runner-up finish at the New York State Championships and a first-place finish at the New Standard Invitational in early December. He has a ranked win over Johns Hopkins Dominick Reyes, as well as a 1-1 mark against Stevens' Thomas Poklikuha that have headlined his results this year. Like many of his teammates, he has excelled down the stretch, posting a 5-1 record that includes three pins and one technical fall.

Another RIT grappler figures to be the toughest competition at the weight, as returning senior Dempsey King (5th NWCA | 3rd d3wrestle.com) leads the group among the national pundits. King was the 165-pound runner-up down in Roanoke last March. Other grapplers in the mix for berths figure to include Muhlenberg senior Dylan Schwartz (10th d3wrestle.com), Oswego State first-year Charlie Grygas, and TCNJ sophomore John Garda. TCNJ's Garda narrowly missed out on qualification last year, placing fourth in the 165-pound bracket in 2019.

174 LB
Another 2019-20 newcomer breakout is set to hit the mats for the Bombers at 174-pounds as junior transfer Jordan Wallace (7th NWCA | 8th d3wrestle.com) is set for his first NCAA Regional since arriving to South Hill from Division I Maryland. Wallace has posted a monster season for the Bombers, entering the weekend with a record of 20-2 overall, which includes nine bonus-point wins.

Wallace carried an undefeated record into the second half of the season, posting 174-pound titles at both the Ithaca Invitational and the New Standard Invitational during the season's first half. His first blemish of the year came to nationally-ranked Jarrit Shinhoster (2nd NWCA | 2nd d3wrestle.com) in the final bout of the NWCA National Duals. His only other blemish on the year was a shock 5-3 sudden-victory defeat to Cortland's Demitereus Henry in the 174-pound title bout at the ECWC Championships.

Wallace's stiffest competition figures to come from TCNJ senior Dan Kilroy (8th NWCA | 10th d3wrestle.com). Kilroy is a returning All-American at the weight, placing fourth in Roanoke last March. Wallace has two head-to-head wins against Kilroy on his resume this season, besting the TCNJ grappler in a 6-2 decision at the Journeymen Duals in November and a 3-2 win in the title bout at the New Standard Invite in December. Cortland's Henry also figures to be in the mix, while Merchant Marine sophomore Dominick Esposito and Centenary senior Alec Donovan are also in the midst of strong seasons.

184 LB
Ithaca's final former national qualifier comes at the 184-pound weight, as sophomore Eze Chukwuezi (10th NWCA | 10th d3wrestle.com) looks to make a second trip to nationals in as many seasons. Chukwuezi notched a berth to Roanoke in the 174-pound bracket a season ago, nearly advancing to the final day of action to earn All-America honors. Up a weight-class in 2019-20, the sophomore has had an impressive campaign, entering the weekend with a 24-2 record that includes 13 bonus-point wins.

Headlining Chukwuezi's season are first-place finishes at three tournaments in the Ithaca Invitational, New York State Championships, and most-recently the ECWC Championships. He has won 11 consecutive bouts entering the weekend and has been in fantastic form during that stretch with four major decisions, two technical falls and two pins during that stretch.

The 184-pound division looks to be a competitive one with several prime challengers. Merchant Marine senior Joshua Glantzman figures to be a formidable challenger as a returning All-American in the 184-pound class, taking fourth in Roanoke a season ago. Other top challengers figure to be Muhlenberg senior Jimmy Fratantoni and Centenary junior Kenny Long. Fratantoni placed fourth at the NCAA Regional last February.

197 LB
Ithaca's representative at 197-pounds is junior Dymir Davis-Carruth. It has been an up-and-down season for the third-year grappler, who enters the weekend with a 6-11 mark for the year. He does come into the weekend on a little bit of a run with two wins in his last three wrestled bouts on the season.

The top contender at the weight is Muhelnberg sophomore Luca Colestock (6th NWCA | 8th d3wrestle.com) who is the lone ranked grappler in the region. He will be in search of his first NCAA qualification. Others in the mix include TCNJ sophomore Quinn Haddad, SUNY Cortland junior Dylan Dubuque, and Ursinus junior Jason Carter.

285 LB
Ithaca's heavyweight fortunes will be in the hands of senior Dalton Elias who will be motivated to capture an NCAA Nationals berth in his final opportunity. Elias has had a fine season bumping up from 197-pounds to fill the void left by 2019-graduate and three-time All-American Jake O'Brien in the heavyweight slot for the Bombers. He has posted a 23-11 record on the year, which includes 12 falls that are tied for second most on the team behind Jones.

Highlighting Elias' tournament season were three place-finishes. He took sixth at the New Standard Invitational in December, while he added runner-up finishes at the New York State Championships and the ECWC Championships in January. His most-recent run of form has been impressive, as he has notched bonus points in 10 of his past 11 victories dating back to mid-December.

Top contenders to keep an eye on at the weight are Scranton senior Keegan Connelly, Brockport sophomore Richard Knapp, and RIT senior Sam Weinger. Elias has head-to-head losses against Knapp and Weinger this season, as well as a defeat to regional foes Ben Maack of Ursinus. He has in-region wins over Merchant Marine's Collin Keil, TCNJ's Benny Dahdah and Thomas Marretta, Oswego State's Chris Serafini, and SUNY Cortland's Trentyn Rupert.





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