Men’s wrestling earned their second straight third-place finish at the EIWA Championships from March 5-6 in Princeton, N.J. Losing only to Cornell and Lehigh, the Bison tallied six placewinners and five NCAA qualifiers during the weekend, in total scoring 84 points as a team. The Orange and Blue also boasted a program record four EIWA semifinalists, most notably Paul Petrov ’16, who finished second in the 125-pound bracket, and Joe Stolfi ’16, who ended competition with a runner-up finish in the 285-pound division. Other placewinners for the Bison included Victor Lopez ’17 with a fourth-place finish at 149 and Rustin Barrick ’16 with fourth at 174. Tom Sleigh ’18 earned seventh at 184, and Tyler Greene ’17 rounded the group out with an eighth-place showing at 197.
Petrov, Lopez, Barrick, Sleigh, and Stolfi’s performances earned them automatic berths to the NCAA Championships, to be held at Madison Square Garden. Petrov and Stolfi are no strangers to the national stage, as they will be competing in their third and fourth NCAA tournaments, respectively. Sleigh will be competing in his second NCAA Championships, and Lopez and Barrick will find themselves on the national stage for the first time March 17-19 in New York.
Petrov, who has now placed at EIWA’s each of his four years as a Bison, had come out on top of 11 consecutive bouts before losing in his final match against a Lehigh opponent, who pulled out a close 2-1 match decided by riding time. Stolfi also fell in his title bout to a Mountain Hawk. Stolfi was the EIWA champion in 2014 and finished as a runner-up last year as well.
After already earning his automatic NCAA qualification by advancing to the third-place match out of the consolation bracket, Lopez fell to a Lehigh challenger in overtime. Lopez came into competition as the sixth-seeded wrestler, meaning he outperformed his expectation with a strong 3-2 showing on the weekend, leaving him at a career best 28-12 on the year.
Like Lopez, Barrick also lost in his third-place match, falling by a score of 8-6 score to a Navy rival. Wrestling with little EIWA experience, Barrick posted a 3-2 record on the weekend as well to improve to 17-4 in his last 21 competitions.
Although Sleigh only finished seventh on the weekend, he had some dominant performances, outscoring opponents 34-2 in his three victories at the championships. He improved his record to 26-8 on the year with a successful weekend of competition. In Greene’s first EIWA competition, he posted an eighth-place finish despite having to face the third- and fourth-seed wrestlers in his bracket.