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February 25, 2012

PSU Wrestlers up to seventh place at NEWA Championships

Four Panthers still alive for All-New England honors

            MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – Plymouth State University has moved up to seventh place Saturday evening with four wrestlers still alive through four rounds of the New England Wrestling Association (NEWA) Championships, hosted by Wesleyan University.

            The Panthers have scored 47 points as a team, just four points behind sixth-place Bridgewater State University and 3.5 points ahead of eighth-place US Coast Guard Acdemy.  Wesleyan (99) has a slim lead over Springfield (97.5) for the team lead; there are 14 teams competing at the championships.

            Senior Mike Willey and junior Femi Wheeler are leading the way for PSU, each winning their first three matches in the double-elimination tournament.  Willey, the 2011 New England champion at 157 pounds, is wrestling at 149 this year and brought a 17-3 season record into the tournament.  Wheeler, who was All-New England at 141 pounds last season, is wrestling at 157 this year and took a 17-5 season record into the tournament.  Willey and Wheeler are each one of two remaining unbeatens in their respective weight classes.

            Two Panther senior wrestlers have won three of their four bouts and remain alive in the consolation side of the bracket – Dan Curley (Keokuk, Iowa) at 174, and Rob Phillips (Brick, N.J.) at 184.  Both won a first-round bout before suffering their first loss, but bounced back with back-to-back wins in the consolation rounds. Senior Jimmy Tarpey (Tewskbury, Mass.) won two matches at 165 pounds but was eliminated with his second loss.

            Sophomore Alex Cronin recorded a consolation round win at 133 pounds for PSU but was knocked out of the tournament with his second loss, and three others represented Plymouth State but were eliminated with two straight losses – freshman Josh Thornton at 141 pounds, freshman Adam Reed at 197, and senior Jake Gagnon at 285.

            The competition continues Sunday beginning at 9:30 a.m., with the final round scheduled to begin at 6:00 p.m.

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