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Four Connecticut wrestlers going to the NCAA Div. I nationals 

NEW YORK, March 6 — Four wrestlers who grew up and wrestled in Connecticut in high school are on their way to the NCAA Division I national championships in New York City on March 17-19.

Danbury’s Kevin Jack, a sophomore at North Carolina State, Granby’s Dominick Malone, a senior at Northwestern, and Brookfield’s Jack McKeever, a senior at Binghamton, each have qualified to compete in the tournament. Shelton’s Patrick Gillen (285), a senior at Virginia, received an at-large bid on Monday.

Jack (141) secured his second bid to the NCAA tournament by winning the ACC championship Sunday. Malone (133) earned his third invitational by wrestling well at the Big 10 championships while McKeever (174) picked up a win at the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA) championships to earn his second consecutive bid.

No. 2 North Carolina State continued its historic season beating Virginia Tech, 90- 81½ to win its first ACC Tournament since 2007. The Wolfpack had four individual champions, including Jack, and had eight wrestlers qualify for the NCAA finals in New York.

Jack (23-3) brought home the Pack’s first ACC championship of the night, claiming top honors at 141 pounds by beating Virginia Tech’s Joey Dance, 3-2.

After a scoreless first, Jack scored an escape in the second but was followed by an escape by Dance to start the third. The lone takedown of the bout was by Jack with 1:28 left, and after a VT escape, Jack hung on for the 3-2 win and his first ACC championship. Jack is the Pack’s first ACC champion at 141 pounds since Darrion Caldwell in 2007.

Malone (22-10) earned this third invitation to the NCAA tournament with a victory over No. 18 Rossi Bruno of Michigan, 6-2. Malone also beat Purdue’s Luke Welch in the preceding match, 11-1. Malone finished ninth at the Big 10 tournament at 133.

McKeever (23-8) finished seventh for Binghamton at the EIWA tournament. Needing a win to qualify for the NCAA tournament, McKeever beat Drexel’s Nick Elmer, 1-0 in the seventh place bout.

Neither competitor gained much momentum. At the start of the second period, McKeever quickly escaped from Elmer, earning a point. The senior from Brookfield, Connecticut, then held on for the remaining four minutes, expertly keeping his position and preventing Elmer from registering a point. The 1-0 victory sent McKeever to NCAAs for the second straight season.

McKeever, the sixth seed in the EIWA tournament, faced Harvard’s Josef Johnson in a consolation quarterfinal Sunday morning. In a grueling match, the pair went back and forth, as Johnson earned a late go-ahead takedown, but was then penalized a point for locking hands. With the score tied at 4, the grapplers headed to overtime. Neither competitor scored in sudden victory or either tiebreak frame, setting up another sudden victory period. Johnson finally came away with a takedown, sending McKeever to the seventh-place bout.

* * * *

Virginia senior Patrick Gillen (Shelton) wrestled at 285 for the Cavaliers at the ACC Tournament over the weekend, finishing fourth.

Gillen (17-13) beat Duke’s Brendan Walsh, 9-0 but lost to North Carolina State’s Nick Gwiazsowski in the semifinals, getting pinned in 49 seconds. Gillen beat North Carolina’s Cory Daniel in 4:56 but lost in the consolation final to Pitt’s Ryan Solomon in 4:23.

Gillen received an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament on Monday.

* * * *

Sacred Heart had three wrestlers finish in the top eight of their respective weight classes at the EIWA championship meet. Freshman Gerard Daly (125) took seventh while former Xavier wrestler Elliot Antler (184) and Ray Sherwood (285) each finished eighth.

It’s the first time that the Pioneers have had three top 8 finishers at the EIWA championship meet.

Daly started the day with a loss in the 125-pound consolation round of 4 against Dalton Marci of Cornell by technical fall 22-5 in 5:30. Daly came back with a win in the seventh place match against Steven Bulzomi of Binghamton by fall in 4:02.

At 184 pounds, Elliot Antler (Xavier) lost his first match of the day in the consolation round of four against Steven Schneider of Binghamton 10-3. Antler competed in the seventh place match against Tom Sleigh of Bucknell. Unfortunately, Antler couldn’t get the win over Sleigh as he lost by technical fall. Antler finished the tournament placing eighth in his weight class with two wins and three losses.

In the 285-pound class, Ray Sherwood lost in the consolation of four round against Ray O’Donnell of Princeton by technical fall 16-1 in 3:22. Sherwood would compete in the seventh place match against Joseph Goodhart of Drexel but was pinned in the first period. Sherwood finished the day placing eight in the tournament with two wins and three losses.

Sacred Heart finished 14th in the EIWA meet with 26 points, five points behind Hofstra. Cornell won the EIWA championship with 170.5 points, 10.5 points ahead of Lehigh.

2016 EIWA Tournament
At Princeton, N.J.
Team results – 1. Cornell 170½, 2. Lehigh 160, 3. Bucknell 84, 4. Army 73½, 5. Princeton 71½, 6. Navy 68½, 7. American 63, 8. Drexel 62½, 9. Harvard 60½, 10. Penn 53, 11. Columbia 44½, 12. Franklin & Marshall 36½, 13. Hofstra 31, 14. Sacred Heart 26, 15. Brown 25½
Individual results
125 LBS
1st Darien Cruz, (Lehigh) dec. Paul Petrov, (Bucknell) 2-1
3rd Zach Fuentes, (Drexel) dec. Dalton Macri, (Cornell) 4-2
5th David Terao, (American) dec. Pat D’Arcy, (Princeton) 12-2
7th Gerald Daly, (Sacred Heart) pin Steven Bulzomi, (Bing’ton) 4:02
133 LBS
1st Nahshon Garrett, (Cornell) dec. Mason Beckman, (Lehigh) 12-1
3rd Zack Davis, (Navy) dec. Caleb Richardson, (Penn) 1-0
5th Angelo Amenta, (Columbia) pin Jeffrey Ott, (Harvard) 1:53
7th David Pearce, (Drexel) dec. Scott Stevens, (F&M) 7-1
141 LBS
1st Rick Durso, (F&M) dec. Todd Preston, (Harvard) 7-4
3rd Randy Cruz, (Lehigh) dec. Jamel Hudson, (Hofstra) 8-0
5th Jordan Laster, (Princeton) dec. Nic Gil, (Navy) 3-2
7th Tyler Scotton, (American) dec. Dylan Realbuto, (Cornell) 3-1
149 LBS
1st Matt Cimato, (Drexel) dec. Joe Galasso, (Cornell) 5-4
3rd Laike Gardner, (Lehigh) dec. Victor Lopez, (Bucknell) 6-5
5th Steven Galiardo, (Brown) dec. Tom Page, (American) 4-3
7th Mike D’Angelo, (Princeton) tech fall Matt Kelly, (Army) 15-0 5:20
157 LBS
1st Dylan Palacaio, (Cornell) dec. John Boyle, (American) 8-3
3rd Markus Scheidel, (Columbia) dec. Russell Parsons, (Army) 9-5
5th Justin Staudenmayer, (Brown) dec. May Bethea, (Penn) 1-0
7th Ian Brown, (Lehigh) dec. Adam Krop, (Princeton) 9-4
165 LBS
1st Devon Gobbo, (Harvard) dec. George Pickett, (Cornell) 2-1
3rd Ryan Preisch, (Lehigh) medical forfeit over Tyrel White, (Columbia)
5th Andrew Mendel, (Army) dec. Mitchell Wightman, (American) 3-2
7th Austin Rose, (Drexel) dec. Michael Coleman, (Navy) 3-1
174 LBS
1st Brian Realbuto, (Cornell) dec. Brian Harvey, (Army) 12-6
3rd Jadaen Bernstein, (Navy) dec. Rustin Barrick, (Bucknell) 8-6
5th Gordon Wolf, (Lehigh) medical forfeit over Josef Johnson, (Harvard)
7th Jack McKeever, (Bing’ton) dec. Nick Elmer, (Drexel) 1-0
184 LBS
1st Gabe Dean, (Cornell) pin Mat Miller, (Navy) 0:53
3rd Lorenzo Thomas, (Penn) dec. Nathaniel Brown, (Lehigh) 2-1
5th Samson Imonode, (Army) dec. Steven Schneider, (Bing’ton) 9-6
7th Tom Sleigh, (Bucknell) tech fall Elliot Antler, (Sacred Heart) 16-1 4:52
197 LBS
1st Brett Harner, (Princeton) dec. Bryce Barnes, (Army) 14-4
3rd Owen Scott, (Cornell) dec. John Bolich, (Lehigh) 12-6
5th Jeric Kasunic, (American) medical forfeit over Frank Mattiace, (Penn)
7th Michael Woulfe, (Navy) dec. Tyler Greene, (Bucknell) 10-2
285 LBS
1st Max Wessell, (Lehigh) dec. Joe Stolfi, (Bucknell)
3rd Mike Hughes, (Hofstra) dec. Ray O’Donnell, (Princeton) 10-1
5th Antonio Pelusi, (F&M) dec. Jeramy Sweaney, (Cornell) 9-7
7th Joseph Goodhart, (Drexel) pin Ray Sherwood, (Sacred Heart) 1:15

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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