Stolfi, Petrov conclude stellar seasons at NCAA Championships

Doug Hendry, Assistant Sports Editor

Paul Petrov ’16 and Joe Stolfi ’15 advanced to the second day of the NCAA Wrestling Championships that started on March 20. Both Petrov and Stolfi finished 1-2 at the tournament.

Featuring the most talented wrestlers in the nation, both Stolfi and Petrov knew they needed to battle to make it through the brackets at the NCAA Championships.

“No matter who you wrestle at the NCAA Tournament, he is going to be tough. My weight class consisted of the top 33 wrestlers in the country. Each wrestler was going to wrestle hard for the entire match because it was do or die,” Petrov said.

Making his first appearance at the NCAA Championships and competing in the 125-pound weight class, Petrov started the First Round against No. 16 Joey Dance from Virginia Tech. Petrov fell by a 6-1 decision to Dance, but rebounded in the Consolation First Round matchup by trouncing Jade Rauser from Utah Valley with a 12-8 decision.

Petrov was paired with No. 15 Anthony Zanetta from Pittsburgh in the Consolation Second Round. Although Petrov lost 3-1, he won the season series by defeating Zanetta twice earlier in the year.

“From these three matches, I learned a lot. I learned that anything is possible. It doesn’t matter what you are seeded, anybody can be an All-American,” Petrov said. “Also, I made several mistakes in my matches. As a result, I can now work to fix these mistakes over the next year so that when I go back I do not make the same ones.”

Stolfi, competing in the 285-pound weight class, was making his second consecutive appearance at the NCAA Tournament. He went up against No. 16 Amarveer Dhesi from Oregon State and fell 14-6 by major decision.

Stolfi’s second match was much more successful. He pinned Northern Iowa’s Blaize Cabell in only 3:24, Stolfi’s 23rd pin of the year. Stolfi led the nation heading into the tournament in wins by fall and also earned the most pins in one season in Bison history. One day later, Stolfi finished his season with a 10-6 setback in the Consolation Second Round by Rutgers’ Billy Smith.

Petrov and Stolfi finished the year with 31-9 and 34-8 records, respectively. Petrov reached the NCAA Tournament for the first time due to an earlier sixth-place finish in the EIWA Championships. Stolfi is now 4-4 at the NCAA Championships, and he is tied for second on the Orange and Blue’s single season wins list. The Bison have had at least two national qualifiers for eight consecutive seasons and will look to continue that trend during the 2014-2015 season.

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