d3wrestle.com Metropolitan Conference Preview (PDF Version)
Dave Icenhower has had the TCNJ Lions in the top 20 of every national tournament since he took the helm, and the team has won 24 Metropolitan titles over the 29 years of the conference, including last year. This season, TCNJ is ranked 17th as a team by the NWCA and hopes to defend its Metro title with the likes of returning national qualifiers Ray Sarinelli and Greg Osgoodby.
Nipping at the heels of TCNJ will be balanced squads from Wilkes University and NYU. NYU is ranked ahead of the Lions, but fell 30-6 in an early season dual meet. Wilkes dropped a narrow 20-18 dual at the end of last month. Kingâ€™s and York are also in the national rankings and have some excellent individuals, while Centenary was previously ranked and could make some noise.
Back to defend their titles from 2007 are Kyle Flickinger (York) at 125, NCAA champ Dave Morgan (Kingâ€™s) at 133, and Greg Osgoodby (TCNJ) at 174. Sarinelli of TCNJ was also a national qualifier last year at 133, and Mike Gummerson (Centenary) was a national qualifier at 125 who has moved up to 133 this season, making 133 one of the more interesting weights in the tournament.
The Favorite: Kyle Flickinger, York
Top Challengers: Shaun Farnham, Wilkes; Kyle Christensen, NYU; Evan Velez, Hunter
Flickinger is a returning All-American who was 2nd at Kingâ€™s and first at York. He split with Farnham, defeated Christensen and pinned Sheetz of Delaware Valley. He also has a loss to Bataar of St. Johnâ€™s. Velez has a win over Farnham, while Christensen has defeated Velez. Though Flickinger is the favorite, it appears to be anybodyâ€™s weight class based on who shows up ready.
The Favorite: Dave Morgan, Kingâ€™s
Top Challengers: Mike Gummerson, Centenary; Ray Sarinelli, TCNJ
All three contenders were qualifiers last year, but Morgan got the job done, winning in the finals to join Madden of Hunter as champs from the Metro.Â Each contender is ranked in the top ten, and it should be a great weight class. Gummerson pinned Sarinelli in the dual and had Morgan on his back before losing by decision at Ursinus. Morgan has two wins over Gummerson and defeated Sarinelli as well. He is a clear favorite, but the challengers are not intimidated.
The Favorite: Stephen Hult, NYU
Top Challengers: Jon Stillo, Centenary; Brandon Prentice, Wilkes
Hult is back after a few years off and has barely skipped a beat after some early season losses before dropping to 141. At this weight, he has yet to lose to a D3 opponent. Hult thumped Stillo 9-0 and has not faced Prentice. Ranked #6, he is an easy pick to win the Metro title.
The Favorite: Bud Croswell, Elizabethtown
Top Challengers: Erik Smith, Wilkes; John Barnett, TCNJ
Croswell is the top ranked Metro wrestler at 149 and has a recent win over Smith by a 6-2 score. He also has a last second win over Shank of Gettysburg. Smith defeated Barnett in overtime while Croswell and Barnett have not matched up. All-American Tyler Branham was manning this weight for the Lions, but he has not wrestled in a few months, so Barnett made the move up from 141. Barnett has a win over Gin of Messiah who beat Croswell and Smith this season. Magill of NYU could also play a role here.
The Favorite: Takafumi Hashimoto, NYU
Top Challenger: John Niedrich, York
Niedrich is the top challenger to Hashimoto, but this is a deep, deep weight for the Metro. Greene of Kingâ€™s, Heisey of Elizabethtown, Penberthy of Wilkes, and DiColo of TCNJ are all capable wrestlers who could win this tournament. Hashimoto is 22-3 with a razor thin win over Niedrich in their dual. Niedrich is the only wrestler to have defeated Goldstein of Gettysburg this year who Hashimoto sat out against in the NYU-Gettysburg dual. Both Niedrich and Hashimoto have close wins over Greene while Niedrich has two wins over Penberthy. DiColo has a close loss to Niedrich and a win over Penberthy to go with 2nd place finishes at Ursinus and Ithaca.
The Favorite: Justin Bonitatis/Al Wonesh, TCNJ
Top Challengers: Frank Heffernan, Wilkes; Brian Alwine, York
The two TCNJ wrestlers have been splitting time at the end of the season, and both are talented enough to win here. Bonitatis has traded pins with Zempel of Messiah and Wonesh recently topped Heffernan, who defeated Alwine. He was also 3rd at Ithaca while Wonesh was 2nd. Duffy of Centenary is dangerous and could ruin someoneâ€™s weekend.
The Favorite: Greg Osgoodby, TCNJ
Top Challenger: Mike Reilly, Kingâ€™s; Naum Shuminov, NYU; Andre DeCristo, Hunter
Osgoodby is back to defend his 2007 title and sits at #6 in the d3wrestle.com rankings. He is 29-4 with losses to Priest of Ithaca, Chelf of UW-Lax, and MacWhinnie of Stevens, who he split with. Reilly is a 2nd semester transfer to Kingâ€™s who has had success right off the bat minus a loss by fall to Shuminov in a first period headlock and an 8-2 decision to Horn of Elmhurst. DeCristo started strong with the championship at Ithaca over Priest and a pin over Shuminov in a dual but has yet to face Reilly or Osgoodby.
The Favorite: Nick Coleman, NYU
Top Challengers: Jim Tomczuk, TCNJ; Shawn Bradley, Wilkes; Zach Martinez, Kingâ€™s
Coleman surprised some with his All-American run last year after a runner-up finish at the Metro tournament and he has furnished a 27-5 record this season. He has a few bad losses this year and DNP at the Simpson tournament after garnering the 2nd seed. However, he is coming on strong at the right now and has wins over LeBlanc of Cortland and Quinlan of Bridgewater State. Way back in November, Tomczuk wrestled Coleman and lost 3-1 in overtime, but he has a losing record on the season. Bradley is 11-5 and Martinez is 14-11. A motivated Coleman could cruise here.
The Favorite: Zach Pizarro, Wilkes
Top Challengers: Shawn VanWingerden, TCNJ; Hank Conklin, York; Brian Scher, Hunter
Pizarro has gone undefeated against conference foes, including 5-1 over VanWingerden, 9-5 over Conklin, and 8-6SV over Scher. He is right on the edge of the d3wrestle.com rankings and is a definite #1 seed at 197 this weekend. Conklin has a 10-3 win over VanWingerden but a loss to Bonaventura, the backup to Scher. Van Wingerden beat Bonaventura back in November.
The Favorite: Luke Panizzi, York
Top Challengers: Andrew Feldman, Wilkes; Steve Carbone, TCNJ
Panizzi is #10 in the d3wrestle.com rankings and has not lost in conference action this year. He won by injury default over Feldman and won 4-3 over Carbone at York before falling in the finals to Bilquist of Delaware Valley. He was also second to Hiffa of Oneonta at Kingâ€™s. Feldman pinned Carbone last month and was pinned by Borchers of Wartburg.