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Three Connecticut wrestlers earn All-American honors

Coast Guard wrestler Nate Giorgio earned Division III All-American honors for the first time at the NCAA championships. (Photo courtesy Coast Guard sports information)

HERSHEY, Pa. , March 14 – Three wrestlers with Connecticut ties earned All-American honors Saturday at the NCAA Division III national championships.

Coast Guard senior Nate Giorgio, the undefeated top seed at 133 pounds, was upset in the semifinals and ended up fifth. Still, Giorgio (41-2) earned All-American honors for the third time in four years.

Newington’s Chris Chorzepa (184) of Williams College earned All-American honors for the second consecutive year finishing fourth. Chorzepa won four straight consolation round bouts after a tough opening round loss. And Newington’s Brian Amato (125) of WPI went 2-3 in the tournament to finish eighth and earn All-American honors.

Somers’ Kyle Foster (285) of Roger Williams went 1-2 in the tournament, Madison’s Jake Savoca (141) of Williams went 0-2, Coast Guard’s Mike Shermot (174) went 0-2 while Wesleyan’s Ryan Sblendorio (174) went 2-2,
winning a pair of preliminary round bouts.

Giorgio moved into the semifinals with two dominant victories, beating Devin Broukal of Wabash, 11-6 and beating Cornell College’s Nathan Shank by tech fall in 3:10 in the quarterfinals. But in the semifinal, No. 5 Matthew Grossman of Wilkes pulled off the upset with a 3-1 decision. Grossman took charge with an early takedown and a third period escape.

Grossman won the national championship with a 4-3 decision over Augsburg’s Chad Bartschenfeld, who upset the No. 2 seed in the quarterfinals.

In the consolation semifinals, Giorgio dropped a 6-4 decision to No. 2 Alex Gomez of Itacha. But Giorgio finished his collegiate career with an 8-5 victory over Nathan Pike of New York University.

Giorgio, who finishes with a career record of 109-24, is just the second man in Coast Guard wrestling to be a three-time All-American. Chris Fertig was also a three-time All-American in 1999, 2000 and 2001.

Chorzepa had a rough start dropping a 15-12 decision to Richard Dowdley of Heidelberg in the first match of the tournament. Chorzepa led 5-2 after one period and led 8-2 in the second period but he couldn’t close out the match. Dowdley cut the lead to three, 11-8 after two periods. In the third period, Chorzepa had a 12-10 lead after an escape with 47 seconds remaining.

But Dowdley got a takedown and near fall in the final seconds to win the bout.

But Chorzepa (42-3) didn’t lose his poise. He won four straight bouts in the consolation round by tech fall, major decision and pin. He earned a spot in the consolation final with a 12-6 win over Dowdley.

“Chris came in as a high seed and with that came high expectations,” Williams coach Scott Honecker said. “He wrestled poorly and let the Heidelberg kid [Dowdley] back in the match after getting out to a big lead. At that point he could have folded and called it a weekend, like you so often see top guys do after a heartbreaking upset. Instead he pulled up his bootstraps and put on his best performance in his next two matches, locking up another All American award.”

In the consolation final, Chorzepa lost in overtime, 12-10, to Daniel Olsen of Wheaton College in Illinois to finish fourth.

Amato (125) lost his first match to eventual national champion Mike Fuenffinger of Ausberg, 6-2. It was Fuenffinger’s closet match of the tournament. In the consolation bracket, Amato beat Ryan Weinmann of Wisconsin-LaCrosse in double OT and outlasted Jacob Donato of New York University, 6-4 in overtime to earn All-American honors. He dropped his next two bouts to finish eighth.

2015 NCAA Division III national championships
At Hershey, Pa.
NCAA Div. 3 wrestling

Recent NCAA Div. 3 Connecticut 

Chris Chorzepa (Newington), Williams, 184, 3rd, 2014
Brendan Ward (Waterford), Johnson & Wales, 184, 2nd 2010
Corey Paulish (Ridgefield), Williams, 141, 4th, 2009
Craig Vedrani (Guilford), Springfield, 157, 6th, 1999
Mike Gaydos (Bunnell), Springfield, 197, 6th, 1999

2015 All NEWA Team
125: Andrew Gauthier, Bridgewater State
125: Brian Amato, WPI
133: Nate Giorgio, Coast Guard
141: Michael Ferinde, Johnson & Wales
157: Jorge Lopez, Williams
157: Ty Herzog, Roger Williams
157: CJ Luth, Southern Maine
157: Frankie Weir, Western New England
157: Markus Jacobo, Daniel Webster
165: Dylan Foley, Springfield College
165: Zach Gibson, Norwich
184: Chris Perrault, Plymouth State
197: Isaiah Bellamy, Wesleyan
197: Taylor Hennessy, Trinity
285: Terrance Jean-Jacques, RIC

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of Connecticut Wrestling Online. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 40 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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