WILLIAMSTOWN, MA- The Springfield College Pride, ranked 23rd in the country in the most recent Coaches Poll, stormed into Williamstown and was able to leave with a decisive tournament victory.
Springfield was propelled by eleven place winners, including the outstanding wrestler of the match, Joe Grippi (Bedford Hills, N.Y.). Grippi emerged victorious over Ces Antista (Matawan, NJ/Matawan High School) in a rematch of the 141 pound weight class New England final from the past two years. Last year Antista edged Grippi, earning a berth at Nationals. Antista, who has only been able to train for three weeks due to a semester spent abroad was still able to wrestle Grippi close and was edged by a 4-1 margin.
The Ephs, who entered only ten wrestlers in the tournament, were able to secure a second place finish on the back of a number of strong individual efforts. Kaison Tanabe (Potomac, MD/The Potomac School) emerged victorious in the 133 pound weight class. Tanabe wrestled in one of the most entertaining matches of the day in the championship. In his match against Springfield's Derek Adams (Charlestown, R.I.) Tanabe was leading but suffered a takedown as time expired in the third period to force overtime. Said Williams Head Coach Rich Hasenfus, "Kaison was a little tentative towards the end of the third period against a good wrestler in Adams, however I think he really rebounded well in overtime. He did a great job of being the aggressor and brought home a much needed victory for us."
Williams' two other champions came at the 197 and 285 pound weight classes. Nikola Mirkovic (Ridgewood, NJ/Ridgewood High School) put together a strong performance that came down to the final minutes. Mirkovic emerged victorious over MIT's Jake Laux (Genesee Depot, WI). While Tom Foote (Dunbarton, NH/Goffstown High School), the tenth ranked wrestler in the country was simply dominant on route to his championship in the 285 pound weight class.
Williams returns to the mats next weekend at the Budd Whitehill Duals at Lycomming College.
Final team Scores: Williams Invitational 1/7/12
Williams College: 86
Roger Williams: 78
Southern Maine: 69
Plymouth State: 32.5
Wrestler of the Match, Joe Grippi (Springfield College)
Fasted Pin: 0:26 Robert Markowski (Rodger Williams)