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Simula leads Panthers at annual PSU Wrestling Invitational

PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Plymouth State University had four place-winners and finished fourth in the nine-team event Saturday at the annual PSU Wrestling Invitational Tournament at Foley Gymnasium.

Senior Rick Simula (Plymouth, N.H.) was the top wrestler for the Panthers, capturing the championship in the heavyweight division. Senior Shaun Cleary (West Keansburg, N.J.) and freshman Brandon Black (Keene, N.H.) finished runner-up at 141 and 157 pounds, respectively, and junior Dan Moskowitz (Amherst, N.H.) placed third at 149.

Norwich University won the team title with 106.5 points, ahead of second place Springfield, which scored 78.5. Coast Guard was third (58), followed by PSU (55), Bridgewater State (35.5), U. of New Hampshire (Club) 21, Southern Maine 15, Western New England 5.5, and Yale (Club) 0.

Simula won three straight bouts to claim the heavyweight title and improve his season record to 6-4. He pinned his first two opponents, John Geopfrich of Western New England and Ryan Hutchinson of Yale, and wrapped up the day with a 4-2 decision over Coast Guard's Gavin Garcia, a long-time rival.

Cleary pinned Bridgewater State's Dan McNally and pulled out a 9-7 decision over Springfield's Mark DeCiccio to advance to the final, but he was edged in the final in sudden death overtime, 4-3, by Norwich's Niko Filippakis, who was voted the tournament's Outstanding Wrestler. Black won three straight matches to move to the final, but was defeated by Norwich's Jake Rivers, 4-0. Cleary is now 12-5 on the season and Black is leading the team in victories with a 16-6 record.

Mokowitz won his first two bouts but was derailed in the semifinals by Norwich's Nolan Cisper, 6-5. He came back with two victories in the consolation bracket to finish third and improve his season mark to 15-5.

PSU is back in action on Sunday, Jan. 25, at the New England Dual Meet Championships at Bridgewater, Mass.

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