WESTMINSTER, Md. – The Washington and Lee wrestling team claimed four place-winners and finished fifth out of eight teams at the Centennial Conference Championship on Saturday afternoon at McDaniel College.
The total place-winners and conference finish is W&L's best since placing fifth with five place-winners in 2007.
Senior Ron Tassoni (Media, Pa. / Haverford School) and first-year Zach Bylykbashi (Southington, Conn. / Southington) led the way for the Generals, as both finished as the runner-up in their respective weight classes.
Tassoni went 2-1 at 184 pounds, opening with pins over Ronald Wuest of McDaniel (1:57) and Isaac Morales of Johns Hopkins (2:06). In the championship, Tassoni matched up with A.J. Kowal of Stevens, the lone 184-pounder in the Centennial to defeat him this year. Kowal emerged with a 12-3 win.
Bylykbashi notched identical 10-1 wins over William Hardin of the Merchant Marine Academy and Yoseph Borai of Stevens Tech to set up a match-up with Ryan O'Boyle of McDaniel in the 133-pound finals. O'Boyle pinned Bylykbashi in 1:56 to take the title.
Sophomore Alex Pollera (Warren, N.J. / Watchung Hills Regional) placed third in the 141-pound weight class with a 3-1 overall record. He opened with a 7-1 win over Connor Mauriello of Johns Hopkins, but fell to Alvontae Drummond of McDaniel in the semifinals by a score of 8-1. Pollera recovered to post a pin of Gettysburg's Everett Roach (4:43) and then he registered a 13-2 major decision over Ben Peck of Muhlenberg in the third-place match.
At 174 pounds, sophomore Brandon Lefore (Morgan Hill, Calif. / Ann Sobrato) went 2-2 to finish in fourth-place. He fell to Jared Forman of Johns Hopkins in the opening match by a score of 5-2. Forman went on to win the outstanding wrestler award. Lefore bounced back with a 5-1 win over Gettysburg's Crawford Oswald and he then notched a 7-1 win over Nicholas Cross of McDaniel, 7-1. His day ended with a 3-1 setback against Jake Gordon of Muhlenberg in the third-place match.
Stevens won the team title with a record 121.0 total points. The Merchant Marine Academy was second with 69.5 points. O'Boyle received the Chris Clifford Award and Stevens' Joe Favia was named the Coach of the Year.
Washington and Lee will return to action on February 27-28 when it hosts the NCAA Division III East Regional. Action begins on Saturday at 11:00 am.
Rob Murray (ST) d. Ethan Hartman (W&L); 18-0 (4:30)
Noah Malamut (GC) d. Ethan Hartman (W&L); Fall 4:12
Zach Bylykbashi (W&L) d. William Hardin (USMMA); 10-1
Zach Bylykbashi (W&L) d. Yoseph Borai (ST); 10-1
Ryan O'Boyle (McDaniel) d. Zach Bylykbashi (W&L); Fall 1:56 (Champ. Match)
Alex Pollera (W&L) d. Connor Mauriello (JHU); 7-1
Alvontae Drummond (MC) d. Alex Pollera (W&L); 8-1
Alex Pollera (W&L) d. Everett Roach (GC); Fall 4:43
Alex Pollera (W&L) d. Ben Peck (Muhlenberg); 13-2 (3rd-Place Match)
Jared Forman (JHU) d. Brandon Lefore (W&L); 5-2
Brandon Lefore (W&L) d. Crawford Oswald (GC); 5-1
Brandon Lefore (W&L) d. Nicholas Cross (McDaniel); 7-1
Jake Gordon (Muhlenberg) d. Brandon Lefore (W&L); 3-1 (3rd-Place Match)
Ron Tassoni (W&L) d. Ronald Wuest (MC); Fall 1:57
Ron Tassoni (W&L) d. Isaac Morales (JHU); Fall 2:06
A.J. Kowal (ST) d. Ron Tassoni (W&L); 12-3 (Champ. Match)