Bristol, R.I. - February 26, 2017 - Springfield College's Zach Joseph (Clifton Park, N.Y.) and Hunter Ayen (Gouverneur, N.Y.) each finished in the top three in their individual weight classes at the 2017 NCAA Division III Wrestling Northeast Regional Championships on the campus of Roger Williams on Sunday, earning a spot in the upcoming national tournament.
The top three wrestlers from each weight class in this weekend's NCAA Division III Wrestling Northeast Regional Championships earned a spot at nationals, which will take place March 10-11 at the La Crosse Center in La Crosse, Wis.
After cruising to a pair of wins on Saturday to reach the semifinals, Joseph, who is currently the second-ranked wrestler in the country at 157 pounds, went up against Coast Guard's Chris Sullivan, the nation's fifth-ranked wrestler. Joseph built a big lead in the second period and later delivered an 11-3 major decision to earn his first-ever trip to the national tournament. In the regional finals, Joseph battled Robert Dierna from Cortland, who is the top-ranked wrestler in the nation, and fell by a 17-2 technical fall.
Ayen went up against Devon Carrillo from Wesleyan in his semifinals, and despite a late charge, came up short to the nation's third-ranked wrestler as he dropped a 4-2 decision. In the consolation semifinals, Ayen pinned Phil Azzari from Coast Guard in 6:54 to reach the third-place match, where he went up against Johnson & Wales' Khamri Thomas. Facing the nation's sixth-ranked wrestler, Ayen escaped in the second period and held on for the 1-0 victory to punch his ticket to the NCAA Championships for the second time in his career.
Geovanni Medina (New Britain, Conn.) finished his career at Springfield by taking fourth at 174. The senior outlasted Taylor Shay from Roger Williams by a 4-3 decision and advanced to the third-place match following a win by pinfall in 6:00 against Wesleyan's Dominic Pirraglia. In the third-place match, Colin Barber's riding time proved to be the difference, as his 3-2 win prevented Medina from reaching the national stage.
At 133, Ian Tolotti (Dumont, N.J.)concluded his outstanding first year with the Pride and finished in sixth place in his weight class. Tolotti opened his day with a 5-3 win against Ferdinand Mase from Ithaca, but dropped a 3-1 decision in the consolation semifinals to Jason Jacobi of Roger Williams. In the fifth-place match, Tolotti was bested by Stephen Jendritz from WPI, 14-4.
As a team, Springfield finished sixth out of 19 teams in the field as it produced 68.5 points. Johnson & Wales finished first with 171.5 points, followed by Ithaca (139.5), Cortland (111.5), Roger Williams (95), and Oneonta (72.5).