- The Plymouth State University wrestling team is in eighth place among 15 schools after Day One of the New England Collegiate Conference Wrestling Association's Annual Championships, hosted this year by Johnson & Wales University.
The Panthers have four wrestlers still alive in the tournament, with two reaching the championship round. PSU has scored 43 points, just behind seventh-place Williams (43.5) and sixth-place WPI (45). The top five teams are three-time defending champion Springfield (83.5), Johnson & Wales (74.5), Norwich (62.5), Rhode Island College (51), and Trinity (48.5).
PSU's top two wrestlers all season, seniors Nate Kittredge (Vergennes, Vt.) and Dan Moskowitz (Amherst, N.H.) turned in strong performances on Saturday, both posting 3-0 record and advancing to the finals of the winners bracket.
Kittredge, the third seed at 184 pounds, won three bouts Saturday, including a pin in the first round, a victory over sixth-seeded Kevin Davis of RIC (7-3) in the second round, and seventh-seeded Matt Webster (12-5) in the next round. The 2003 New England champion at 184 pounds, Kittredge will take a 29-6 season record into Sunday's final round match against top-seeded Peter Krzyzewski of WPI.
Moskowitz, the fourth seed at 157 pounds, won three bouts, including decisions over fifth-seeded Dave Paquette of RIC (12-11) and top-seeded Adam Jonas (10-9). A two-time New England champion at 149 pounds, Moskowitz will take a 26-9 season record into Sunday's final round match against third-seeded Steve Martell of Johnson & Wales.
Also alive for PSU is sophomore Brandon Black (Keene, N.H.) in the 165-pound weight class. Black, seeded seventh, registered a first-round victory (15-6) over unseeded Greg Ponzi of Coast Guard, and followed that with a stunning 16-5 second-round upset of second-seeded Dan DeLalla of Wesleyan. Black was defeated in his third bout by third-seeded John Dolan of Williams, 10-5, moving him into the backdraw, where he will face elimination against fifth-seeded Tim O'Donnell of Springfield. Black placed fourth at 157 pounds as a freshman last year.
PSU freshman Shaun Wilbert (Toms River, N.J.) was the seventh seed at 285 pounds and won three matches on Saturday to stay alive. He pinned Jon Bierman of Williams before suffering a 6-3 loss to second-seeded Scott Fay of Springfield, then pinned eighth-seeded John Russo of Roger Williams and fifth-seeded Jim-Bob Stanley of Johnson & Wales.
PSU junior Nick Gurney (Dixfield, Maine) was the eighth seed at 174 pounds. He won his first round match before being pinned by top-seeded Tim Ruberg of Johnson & Wales. Gurney came back with a decision over Coast Guard's Jeremy Romesberg (14-2) but was eliminated with a loss to fourth-seeded Dave Bartlett of Wesleyan. Gurney finishes the season with a 16-14 record.
Panther unseeded freshman Ryan Schieding (Manchester, N.H./Memorial) sandwiched a victory over Donald Flowers of Southern Maine between losses to top-seeded Dan Whelan of Norwich and sixth-seeded Scott Moskowitz of Williams and was eliminated from the 149-pound bracket. Schieding completes the season with a 16-16 mark.
PSU's other entries in the tournament were eliminated after two straight losses -- freshman Chris Greenwood (Manchester, N.H./West) at 125 pounds, sophomore Matt Friend (Jefferson, N.H.) at 133, senior Micah Canestaro (Wakefield, Mass.) at 141, and junior Billy Wilbert (Toms River, N.J.) at 197.
Plymouth State is looking to improve on last year's 10th place finish.
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