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No Connecticut wrestlers qualify for NCAA Division I tournament in Pittsburgh

Four Connecticut wrestlers competing in three NCAA Division I conference tournaments failed to qualify for the upcoming NCAA Division I championships in Pittsburgh. It’s the first time since 2011 that no Connecticut natives have qualified to wrestle at the Division I nationals.

At the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA) championship meet in Binghamton, N.Y., Franklin and Marshall’s Emmett LiCastri, a junior from Easton (Joel Barlow), was 0-2 in competition at 157 pounds.

LiCastri (19-13, 5 pins) lost to No. 5 Lucas Weiland of Army, 13-0 and was eliminated in a first round consolation round bout loss to No. 4 Dan Reed of Columbia, 4-2. Reed got an escape with 1:35 left to tie the match up and got the match-winning takedown with 23 seconds remaining.

Newtown sophomore Anthony Falbo went 0-2 at 174 pounds for Sacred Heart at the EIWA championship meet. Falbo was disqualified after getting called for stalling five times in a loss to Lehigh’s Jordan Kutler and dropped a 20-2 loss by technical fall to Columbia’s Max Elling.

Sacred Heart (5-7, 1-5 EIWA) had the most wins as a team in 10 years since going 7-10 in 2009. But the Hearts had a rough outing at the EIWA championships with none of the team’s 10 participants picking up a victory.

At the final EWL championship tournament at George Mason in Fairfax, Virginia, Clarion’s Avery Shay, a sophomore from New Fairfield, went 1-2 at 149 pounds.

Shay beat Bloomsburg’s Gavin Hale by technical fall, 16-0 in the quarterfinals but dropped a 4-2 decision in the semifinals to Rider’s Evan Fidelibus. Leading 1-0, Fidelibus got a takedown and near fall with 16 seconds remaining to take control of the bout.

Shay (10-7) was eliminated in the consolation semifinals with a 3-1 loss to Edinboro’s Tyler Vath.

Former Middletown High wrestler Richard Perry was inducted into the Eastern Wrestling League (EWL) Hall of Fame prior to the EWL championships.  Perry, who earned a spot on the U.S. national team last June before getting severely injured in training camp, was a four-year standout at Bloomsburg University from 2010-14

Air Force’s Alec Opsal, a junior from New Fairfield, went 0-2 at the Big 12 tournament. Opsal (14-15) had the difficult fortune of facing the top two seeds in his weight class (149).

Opsal fell in the first round to top-seeded Kaden Gfeller of Oklahoma State, 14-2 and lost his first consolation round bout to No. 2 seed Max Thomsen of Iowa State, 12-2.

NCAA Division I
Connecticut All-Americans

Kevin Jack (Danbury)
North Carolina State, 141, 6th, 2018
North Carolina State, 141, 3rd, 2017
North Carolina State, 141, 5th, 2015

Orville Palmer (Middletown)
Oklahoma, 197, 7th, 2000

Jim Guzzio (Madison)
Maryland, 134, 5th, 1997

John Engel (Stamford)
Lehigh, 118, 1st, 1931


Connecticut Wrestling Online has been covering the sport of wrestling in Connecticut and New England since 2001.

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