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February 26, 2011

PSU Wrestlers in fifth place thru Day 1 at New Englands

Nine Panthers still alive, including four in winners bracket

            HARTFORD, Conn.  – Plymouth State University sits in fifth place after Day One of the 34th Annual New England Wrestling Association (NEWA) Championships, hosted by Trinity College.

            The Panthers are in good shape heading into the second and final day of the tournament on Sunday, with nine of the 10 wrestlers still in the tournament and four Panthers unbeaten in the winner’s bracket.

            Springfield College leads the team scoring with 104 points, with a tight battle for second place between Wesleyan University (73.5), two-time defending champion Williams College (72), and Johnson & Wales University (71).  Plymouth State is fifth with 65.5, comfortable ahead of sixth-place Roger Williams (49.5).  There are 14 teams competing for the championship.

            The wrestlers have gone through two rounds of the winners bracket, and the four Panthers who are unbeaten through Saturday’s competition are junior Josh Huber (Hampton, N.H./Winnacunnet) at 125 pounds, sophomore Femi Wheeler (Mamaroneck, N.Y.) at 141, junior Mike Willey (Tewksbury, Mass.) at 157, and sophomore Seth Carter (Hudson, N.H./Alvirne) at 174.  Huber and Carter received first round byes before winning their first bout, while Wheeler and Willey each won two matches.

            Five other Panthers suffered their first loss of the tournament, but came back to win a back-draw match to stay alive in the tournament.  Those five are sophomore Cody Oliverio (Brick, N.J.) at 149 pounds, sophomore James Matlack (Hamilton, N.J.) at 165, junior Chris Rideout (Londonderry, N.H.) at 184, senior Eric Larcomb (Jefferson, N.H./White Mtn. Regional) at 197, and junior Jake Gagnon (Manchester, N.H./Memorial) at 285.  The only Panther wrestler who will not wrestle on Sunday is sophomore 133-pounder Derek Bolduc (Jonesville, Vt.), who won his first back-draw match before being eliminated.

            The team and individual championships will be decided on Sunday, with the first session to start at 8:45 a.m. and the finals slated for 5:00 p.m.  The individual champions and five at-large selections will advance to the NCAA Division III National Championships on Mar. 11-12 at La Crosse, Wisc. 

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