Louisville, KY -- The trio of Dan Wensley (Wakefield, MA), Michael Curtis (Wells, ME) and Nick Day (Northampton, MA) combined for seven wins as the WPI wrestling team traveled to Louisville, Kentucky on Friday for the prestigious National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) National Dual Meet Championship.
The Engineers, ranked 20th nationally and seeded 15th in the 24-team event, began the day dropping a 31-8 decision to Wisconsin-Eau Claire and then falling to Chicago 23-21. WPI finished strong with a 31-21 victory over Westminster (MO) in the evening bout.
In the opening round against the Blugolds, WPI's nationally-ranked wrestlers were victorious. Tyler Marsh (Upper Black Eddy, PA), ranked fourth at 157 pounds, pitched a 7-0 shutout while Wensley, the sixth-ranked grappler at 184 pounds, won his bout 7-1. A weight class Curtis had his hand raised at 197 pounds, blanking his opponent at 4-0.
The Crimson and Gray bounced back right out of the gates in its second match versus the Maroons. Michael Aquino (Boston, MA) made a first period takedown stand up in a 3-1 victory at 125 pounds before Andrew Ellis (Arlington MA) got a pin in the waning seconds (2:54) of the first period at 133. Zach Harris (Westwood, NJ) put WPI ahead 12-0 when he countered a reversal late in the second period with a reversal of his own and then added an escape in the third period on his way to an 8-6 triumph.
Chicago then took the next four matches, including two by fall to surge ahead 20-12. Wensley took a forfeit at 184 points to close the gap to two points but the Maroons went ahead 23-18 with a victory at 197. Needing a pin at heavyweight to win the match, the Engineers nearly struck for the improbable victory when Day put his opponent immediately on his back in TB 3 but the Chicago wrestler was able to just barely wiggle out and avoid the fall. Day took home a 9-6 decision but it was Maroons that took the match 23-21.
The final match did not start well for the Boynton Hillers as Westminster jumped out to a 21-0 advantage by taking the first four bouts. WPI then got going when Ronan Ball (Maynard, MA) outlasted his opponent at 157 pounds 11-10 to get the Engineers going on a six-bout winning streak to take home the victory. After Ball's heroics, WPI got to with in 21-15 with back-to-back forfeit wins at 165 by Chase Lind (Fairfield, CT) and Tyler Wilson (Derry, NH) at 174 points. It was all bonus point wins for WPI after that as Wensley brought home a 16-0 tech fall at 184, Curtis pinned his opponent early in the third period at 197 pounds and Day notched a 15-0 tech fall at heavyweight to secure the 31-21 comeback.
Select members of the Engineers compete Sunday in the Scott Viera Open at Roger Williams. They include Carter Lewis (Duxbury, MA) and Christian Curll (Groton, MA) at 133 pounds, Matt Rothman (Orange, CT) at 157, Zach Newlon (Wallingford, PA) at 165, Scott Rementer (East Moriches, NY) and Dan Aksman (Needham, MA) at 174, George Horta (Milford, NH) at 184 and Cam Smith (Abington, MA) at heavyweight. The entire team is back on action on Saturday, January 12th when WPI hosts a quad match with Trinity, Roger Williams and RIT.