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Trumbull’s Cross Cannone wins NCAA Division III national title

Trumbull’s Cross Cannone celebrates after winning the Division III national title.

CLEVELAND, March 10 — Five Connecticut wrestlers earned All-American honors at the NCAA Division III national championships Saturday night including Trumbull’s Cross Cannone, the 149-pound junior from Iowa’s Wartburg College, who won a national championship.

Cannone beat No. 3 seed Greg Warner of York, Pa., 9-1 to finish the season undefeated (34-0) and become the first Connecticut wrestler to win a Division III national title since 1982.

Cannone won four matches in the tournament – all by major decision (at least eight points). He had a pair of shutouts in the quarterfinals and semifinals and gave up just five points in the tournament on three escapes and one reversal.

Cannone helped Iowa-based Wartburg College win their third straight NCAA Division III national championship and the 14th in school history.

“I was a little nervous but I needed to stick to my game plan,” Cannone said. “That’s sticking to the basics and going out there and fighting for seven minutes. If I do that, good things will happen.”

Cross Cannone of Wartburg College, left, battles Greg Warner of York in the Division III finals in Cleveland.

Cannone earned All-American honors a year ago but finished second. He used that to fuel his work throughout the summer.

“Throughout the summer I was working hard. That’s where you make your gains,” he said. “(Losing in the final) gave me hunger.”

He went undefeated this season with 14 tech falls – sixth highest in Division III along with 10 major decisions and two pins. “Once, I got rolling, I knew it would be my year.”

Cannone is the first Connecticut wrestler to win a Division III championship since the late Steve Fernandes, a three-time All-American from Southington, did it in 1982 at 134 pounds for College of New Jersey — now Trenton State.

“It feels amazing. I’m not sure if it has hit me yet,” Cannone said. “It was the pinnacle of wrestling. It felt awesome to represent Connecticut and showcase all of the hard work I have put in.”

Trumbull’s Cross Cannone went undefeated (34-0) to win the national title.

Wesleyan senior Isaiah Bellamy (Bozrah) earned All-American honors by taking third at 285 pounds while Wesleyan’s Devon Carrillo (Middletown), Wartburg’s Michael Ross (Foran-Milford) and Johnson & Wales’ Khamri Thomas (Windsor Locks) earned All-American honors by taking eighth in their respective weight classes.

Bellamy (38-3) had an outstanding tournament going 6-1 with three pins to earn All-American honors for the first time.

After two victories, Bellamy dropped a heartbreaking 3-1 loss to Waynesburg’s Jake Evans, who got a takedown with one second left in regulation. But Bellamy remained strong with three straight wins in the consolation bracket to get to the consolation final where he pinned No. 1 seed Jake Evans of Wartburg in 4:34 for his 24th pin of the season.

Bellamy’s third place finish is the highest finish ever by a Wesleyan wrestler at the NCAA championships. His 24 pins led the nation — in all divisions.

Carrillo (37-5, 22 pins) came into the tournament as the No. 5 seed. In his third NCAA tournament, Carrillo started off with a win with a 12-2 victory over Dylan Diebitz of Wisconsin-Stevens Point before dropped a 3-2 decision to Etini Udott of Centenary in the quarterfinals.

Carrillo earned All-American honors for the first time with a 7-5 win over No. 3 Kyle Koser of Messiah but dropped his next two bouts to finish eighth.

It’s the first time in Wesleyan’s long wrestling history that the Cardinal has two All-American wrestlers in the same season.

Ross, a 165 pound freshman from Foran in Milford, entered the tournament undefeated (22-0) for Wartburg and the No. 1 seed. He won his first match before getting hurt in a 13-1 quarterfinal loss to No. 8 seed Nick Velez of Ithaca. Ross (23-3) earned All-American honors with a 10-2 win over Adrian Gonzalez of Johnson and Wales.

Thomas wrestled had a pair of overtime decisions in his first two tournament matches. He beat Baldwin-Wallace’s Zeckary Lehman with a takedown 12 seconds into overtime, 4-2. But in the quarterfinals, Thomas dropped a 2-1 decision to fifth seed Christos Giatras of Augustana, Illinois in double overtime.

Thomas rebounded with an 8-0 win over Messiah’s Derek Beitz in the consolation round to earn All-American honors.

Coast Guard had a pair of All-American wrestlers. Junior Nick Remke (165) finished fifth at 165 pounds while sophomore Owen McClave (133) took seventh.

2018 NCAA Division III Championships
At Cleveland
Team results – 1. Wartburg College (Iowa) 136½, 2. Augsburg, MN 82, 3. Itacha College (NY) 79, 4. Stevens Institute of Technology (NJ) 55; 5. Wabash IN 44, 6. Johnson & Wales RI 43½, 7. Wisconsin-LaCrosse 42½, 8. Messiah PA 38, 9. Wisconsin-Whitewater 35, 10. Mount Union (Ohio) and SUNY-Oneonta NY 34 ½
Others: 18. Wesleyan 24, 23. Coast Guard 19; 61. Trinity 0

NCAA Division III wrestling tournament results and brackets

Individual results
125: Final — Jay Albis (Johnson & Wales ) dec. Carlos Fuentez (Wheaton, IL), 11-10; 3. Mike Tortorice (Wis.-Whitewater) dec. Jonathan Haas (Brockport) 3-2; 5. Nick Mancini (Mount Union) dec. Clarren Pestano (Central (IA)) 10-0; 7. Ferdinand Mase (Ithaca) dec. Christopher Doyle (Baldwin Wallace) 8-1
133: Final — Brock Rathbun (Wartburg) dec. Sam Bennyhoff (Augsburg) 12-5; 3. Troy Stanich (Stevens) pin Austin Sisco (SUNY Oneonta) 1:50; 5. Anthony Munoz (Elmhurst) dec. Joao Vicente (Johnson & Wales (RI)) 8-7; 7. Owen McClave (Coast Guard) dec. Brenden Velez (Delaware Valley) 3-2
141: Final — Ben Brisman (Ithaca) dec. Brett Kaliner (Stevens) 10-7; 3. Chris Williams (Millikin) pin Joseph Ghione (Elizabethtown) 6:22; 5. Josh Martin (Cornell College) pin Brendan Ladd (Alma) 1:31; 7. Jimmy McAuliffe (Elmhurst) dec. Joseph Ferinde (Johnson & Wales (RI)) 7-6 OT
149: Final — Cross Cannone (Wartburg) dec. Gregory Warner (York (PA)) 9-1; 3. Austin Bethel (Wabash) pin Evan Drill (NYU) 1:16; 5. Alex Wilson (Augsburg) medical forfeit over Sean Peacock (Brockport) 7. Bradan Birt (Millikin) pin Trevor Corl (Lycoming) 1:32
157: Final — Ryan Epps (Augsburg) dec. Logan Thomsen (Wartburg) 3-1, 2 OT; 3. Cole Erickson (Coe) dec. Zach Wilhelm (Stevens) 4-0; 5. Mark Choinski (Wis.-Oshkosh) pin Kevin Edwards (Messiah) 2:51; 7. Raymond Jazikoff (NYU) dec. Kyle Hatch (Wabash) 10-4
165: Final — Lucas Jeske (Augsburg) tech fall Nick Velez (Ithaca) 15-0, 7:00; 3. Anthony Arroyo (Baldwin Wallace) dec. Frank Aiello (Wheaton (IL)) 7-5; 5. Nick Remke (Coast Guard) dec. Jeff Hojnacki (Messiah) 4-3; 7. Ben Hewson (Cornell College) medical forfeit over Mike Ross (Wartburg)
174: Final — Jairod James (Mount Union) dec. Jon Goetz (Wis.-Platteville) 4-1; 3. Eric Devos (Wartburg) pin Darden Schurg (Wabash) 1:57; 5. Ben Swarr (Messiah) dec. Sawyer Massie (Wis.-La Crosse) 6-3; 7. Tanner Vassar (Augsburg) dec. Jake Voss (Coe) 8-3
184: Final — Jordan Newman (Wis.-Whitewater) dec. Tyler Lutes (Wartburg) 9-1; 3. Jake Ashcraft (Ithaca) dec. John Boyle (Western New Eng.) 14-2; 5. Christos Giatras (Augustana (IL)) dec. Dan Squires (Wis-Stevens Point) 3-1, OT; 7. Keajion Jennings (Millikin) dec. Khamri Thomas (Johnson & Wales (RI)) medical forfeit
197: Final — Kyle Fank (Wartburg) dec. Guy Patron (Loras) 8-2; 3. Wesley Schultz (Wis.-La Crosse) pin Andrew Holladay (Coe) 1:39; 5. Etiini Udott (Centenary (NJ)) dec. Triston Engle (Brockport) 5-4; 7. Dylan Diebitz (Wis-Stevens Point) dec. Devon Carrillo (Wesleyan (CT)) 3-1
285: Final — Jake Evans (Waynesburg) dec. James Bethel (SUNY Oneonta) 10-5; 3. Isaiah Bellamy (Wesleyan (CT)) pin Lance Evans (Wartburg) 4:34; 5. Jake O`Brien (Ithaca) dec. Konrad Ernst (Wis.-La Crosse) 5-3, OT; 7. Austin Bellile (MSOE) dec. Tyler Ortmann (Cornell College) 3-2

State wrestlers at NCAA Division III national championships

Cross Cannone (Trumbull), Wartburg, 149
1R: Def. Grant Sorenson, Trinity, 12-3
QF: Def. (8) Austin Bethel, Wabush, 11-0
SF: Def. (5) Alex Wilson, Augsburg, 8-0
Final: Def. (3) Greg Warner, York, 9-1

Mike Ross (Foran-Milford), Wartburg, 165
1R: Def. Blake Dixon, John Carroll, 11-1
QF: Lost (8) Nick Velez, Ithaca, injury default, 4:49, 13-1
Consolation 1R: Def. Adrian Gonzalez, Johnson & Wales, 10-2
Consolation SF: Lost Jeff Hojnacki, Messiah, 7-1
Seventh place: Lost Ben Hewson, Cornell College, medical default

Devon Carrillo (Middletown), Wesleyan, 197
1R: Def. Dylan Diebitz, Wis-Stevens Point, 12-2
QF: Lost (4) Etini Ucutt, Centenary NJ, 3-2
1R Consolation: Def. (3) Kyle Mosher, Messiah, 4-3
Consolation SF: Lost Andrew Holladay, Coe, 7-5
Seventh place: Lost Diebitz, 3-1

Isaiah Bellamy (Bozrah), Wesleyan, 285
Preliminary: Def. (4) Connor Callkins, RIT, 2:13
1R: Def. Alveno Matthews, Ferrum, 3-0
QF: Lost (5) Jake Evans, Waynesburg, 3-1
1R consolation: Def. Jonah Aureho, Johnson & Wales, 4-1
Consolation 2R: Def. Tyler Ortmann, Cornell College, 1:43
Consolation SF: Def. (3) Jake O’Brien, 7-1
Third place: Def. (1) Jake Evans, Wartburg, 4:34

Khamri Thomas (Windsor Locks), Johnson & Wales, 184
1R: Def. Zeckary Lehman, Baldwin-Wallace, 4-2 OT
QF: Lost (5) Christos Giatras, Augustana IL, 2-1, 2 OT
Consolation 1R: Def. Derek Beitz, Messiah, 8-0
Consolation SF: Lost (8) Dan Squires, Wisconsin-Stevens Point, medical forfeit
Seventh place: Lost (6) Keajon Jennings, Milliken, medical forfeit

Taylor Shay (New Fairfield), Roger Williams, 165
1R: Def. Jeremy Vester, Central Iowa 7:00
QF: Lost (2) Lucas Jester, Ausburg, 2:47
Consolation 1R: Lost Nick Remke, Coast Guard, 6:53

Zach Bylykbashi (Southington), Washington & Lee, 141
1R: Lost (1) Brett Kaliner, Stevens, 12-3
1R Consolation: Lost (8) Chase Wilson, Manchester 18-4

Adrian Gonzalez (Fitch-Groton), Johnson & Wales, 165
1R: Lost (2) Lucas Jester, Ausburg, 4:52
1R Consolation: Def. Tyler Grimsley, Olivet, 4-2
2R Consolation: Lost to (1) Mike Ross, Wartburg, 10-2

Recent Connecticut Division III All-Americans

Cross Cannone (Trumbull), Wartburg, 1st, 149
Isaiah Bellamy (Bozrah), Wesleyan, 3rd, 285
Devon Carrillo (Middletown), Wesleyan, 8th, 197
Khamri Thomas (Windsor Locks), Johnson & Wales, 8th, 184
Michael Ross (Milford), Wartburg, 8th, 165

Chris Chorzepa (Newington), Williams, 8th, 184
Cross Cannone (Trumbull), Wartburg, 2nd, 141

Chris Chorzepa (Newington), Williams, 4th, 184 pounds
Brian Amato (Newington), WPI, 8th, 125 pounds

Chris Chorzepa (Newington), Williams, 3rd, 184 pounds

Brennan Ward (Waterford), Johnson & Wales, 2nd, 184 pounds


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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