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February 22, 2004

Four PSU Wrestlers place in top six at New Englands

WORCESTER, Mass. - Four Plymouth State University wrestlers earned All-New England honors with a Top Six finish Sunday and the Panthers placed 10th as a team at the New England Collegiate Conference Wrestling Association's Annual Championships, hosted by Worcester Polytechnic Institute at Harrington Auditorium.

Junior Dan Moskowitz (Amherst, N.H.) was the top performer for the Panthers, successfully defending his New England championship at 149 pounds and earning his second straight berth to the NCAA Division III National Championships. Three other Panthers placed fourth in their respective weight classes -- senior Shaun Cleary (West Keansburg, N.J.) at 141 pounds, freshman Brandon Black (Keene, N.H.) at 157, and senior Nate Kittredge (Vergennes, Vt.) at 174.

Those four individuals scored 55.5 points for Plymouth State, helping the Panthers finish just five points out of seventh place. Springfield College won its third straight team title and seventh in the last eight years with 110.5 points, with Trinity (88), Williams (86), WPI (80.5) and Norwich (75) rounding out the top five in the 15-team event. The rest of the field included Johnson & Wales (74), Rhode Island College and Wesleyan (59.5), Coast Guard (57), PSU, Roger Williams (37.5), Bridgewater State (36), Southern Maine (30), Western New England (13) and MIT (9.5).

The second-seeded Moskowitz, who won two matches on Saturday to advance to the finals, needed to defeat archrival and top-seeded Dan Whalen of Norwich in back-to-back bouts Sunday to claim the title. After losing to Whelan in the first final, Moskowitz came back with a backdraw win against Chris Wells of Johnson & Wales. Moskowitz then won the rematch against Whalen, 8-4, setting up a rubber match to declare the true champion, and again it was the PSU wrestler, 9-6. Moskowitz will make his second NCAA appearance with a 25-6 record. The NCAA Championships are March 5-6 in Dubuque, Iowa, with Loras College (Iowa) serving as the host school.

 

Kittredge, who was upended in the second round on Saturday by fifth-seeded David Bucco of Trinity, came back with three straight wins in the backdraw, the last a 9-2 decision over Peter Krzyzewski of WPI. But Kittredge was pinned by Bucco (1:53) in his final bout, finishing fourth in the weight class and ending the season with a 23-5 record.

Black, who suffered a loss on Saturday to two-time champion Joe Moskowitz of WPI, came back with consecutive victories in the backdraw before losing a sudden-victory bout to Jake Rivers of Norwich, 6-4. Black concludes a terrific freshman campaign with a 22-11 record.

Cleary, who won his first two bouts before his first loss to second-seeded Mark Foresi of Trinity, captured a backdraw decision over Roman Walsh of WPI (12-4). Cleary's bid for a title was ended by Springfield freshman Mike Gaeta (11-4), who went on to win the 141-pound title and earn New England Rookie of the Year honors. Cleary finished his season with a 21-7 record, and a 79-24 mark over the past three years.

PSU finished the regular season with a 7-9 dual meet record under second-year head coach Don Perrin.

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