GRANTHAM, Pa. – Four Bears – including a pair of freshmen – advanced to the consolation finals of their respective brackets in a solid debut for the Ursinus College wrestling team at the Messiah Invitational on Saturday.
Freshmen Matt Wilde (125) and Ray Calderaio (133) joined sophomore James Harkness (141) and junior Zachary Goranson (165) in advancing to third-place bouts for Ursinus, which finished fourth in a ten-team field that included three other Centennial Conference programs.
Host Messiah claimed the team title with 142.5 points. Lycoming (92.5) was second, followed by Gettysburg (75.5), Ursinus (56.5), Johns Hopkins (53), Elizabethtown (48.5), Wheaton (46), Liberty (44.5), McDaniel (34), and UMBC (14.5).
Goranson had three pins, tied for second among all wrestlers, among his five victories for the Bears, which got four wins apiece from Calderaio, Harkness, Wilde, and junior Anthony Cutrufello (174). Calderaio and Harkness each placed fourth, while Goranson and Wilde did not contest their consolation finals because of match limits.
The Bears were impressive in the 125-pound tournament, with sophomore Brandon Miller advancing to the semifinals and Wilde making plenty of noise in the wrestlebacks. Miller pinned Wheaton's Eric Fong (2:19) and Lycoming's Cameron Terry (2:31). He saw his run come to an end at the hands of Wilde, who scored decisions over Liberty's Keegan Smith (17-10) and Gettysburg's Alex Shaffer (7-4) before topping Miller, 10-5, en route to the third-place bout. Wilde and Gettysburg's Lenny Ogozalek did not contest it due to match limits.
Calderaio rolled through his first three matches at 133, pinning Wheaton's Josiah Fitzjerrels in 5:47, edging Lycoming's Jacob Chamberlin 12-7, and pinning Gettysburg's Jordan Pinette (3:47) to make the semifinals, where he fell to Johns Hopkins' Ricky Cavallo. Calderaio advanced to the consolation final with a 4-0 blanking of UMBC's Deonte Carter, and settled for fourth place following a 7-1 defeat to McDaniel's Ryker Eckenberger.
Harkness defeated McDaniel's Jahmally Willie, 4-2, in the main draw at 141 pounds. After a loss in the quarterfinals, he defeated Elizabethtown's Josh Paisley, 6-2, to set up a showdown with Bears freshman Daniel Bliss, who had slipped past Lycoming's Ethan Landis, 3-2, and shut out Ursinus junior Patrick Ammirati, 7-0. Harkness outlasted Bliss, 7-6, in an overtime thriller, then scored a 7-4 decision over Lycoming's Andres Aguilar to make the consolation final, where he suffered an 8-2 loss to Gettysburg's Robert Garnett.
Ammirati won two bouts in the main draw, pinning Paisley in 1:19 and posting an 8-3 victory over Messiah's Brooks Robinson.
Sophomore Thomas Boldosser won two consolation matches at 149. He slipped past Lycoming's Chris Ruiz, 6-4, and toppled Elizabethtown's Daniel Smith by an 11-8 count before being pinned by Hopkins' Connor Joyce, who wrestled in the Centennial Conference Championships a year ago.
Goranson won his first two matches by fall, pinning Gettysburg's Sal Puglisi in 40 seconds and Lycoming's Shane Rose in 5:16 to gain the quarterfinals. Following a pin at the hands of Messiah's Jeff Hojnacki, Goranson posted a 17-4 major over Elizabethtown's Christophe Kummerer, a 4-2 overtime triumph opposite Gettysburg's Austin Roskos, and a 17-second pin of Lycoming's Kevin Keppler to reach the consolation final, which was not contested due to match limits.
At 174, senior Patrick Rafferty advanced to the quarterfinals with a pin of Wheaton's Aidan Naylor (4:52), and junior Anthony Cutrufello cut his way through the consolations with four consecutive victories. Cutrufello first pinned freshman teammate Liam Tibbett in 1:50, then moved on with a 14-7 decision against Liberty's Jacob Brooks. The junior downed Rafferty, 10-4, and advanced with a medical forfeit before Sam Karel of Liberty knocked him out with a 22-4 score one round shy of the third-place bout.
After a 5-3 overtime loss to Johns Hopkins' Isaac Morales, Maack bounced back with a 16-0 shutout of teammate Garrett Boures and a pin of 1:58 against Josh McIlhenny of Liberty. That set up a rematch with Morales, which the Blue Jay won by fall.
Wildermuth was impressive in his first collegiate action, registering back-to-back pins in the consolations after a 5-2 loss to Elizabethtown's Quinn Ruble in the main draw. Wildermuth felled Lycoming's Brody Keefe in 2:01, then downed Gettysburg's Michael Iodice in 4:37. The freshman was eliminated with a hard-fought, 5-4 setback at the hands of Messiah's Karrington Washington.
Junior William McGinley picked up a pair of tight victories in the heavyweight bracket, reaching the quarterfinals with a 3-2 decision against Elizabethtown's Erick Eckstein before falling by the same score to Gettysburg's Anthony Puca. McGinley outlasted UMBC's Chukwudi Kalu, 9-8, in the consolations.
The wrestling team hosts the annual Fall Brawl on Saturday, November 11.