CASTLETON, Vt. – As a first-year program, the Castleton University wrestling team shocked the region by winning the 2016 Ted Reese Invitational, a title the Spartans will now defend as they head to Gorham, Maine, for the 2017 Ted Reese Invitational, hosted by the University of Southern Maine Saturday, Dec. 2, starting at 11 a.m. at the Costello Sports Complex Field House.
Castleton is one of 13 teams competing in this year's tournament, and the Spartans will face tough competition throughout the day. Included in the field are nationally ranked programs Johnson and Wales and Roger Williams as well as two other teams currently in the New England Wrestling Association (NEWA) Division III Tournament Poll: the host Southern Maine Huskies and Coast Guard.
The Spartans are ranked sixth in the latest NEWA Division III Tournament Ranking with five wrestlers appearing in the individual rankings. Max Tempel has moved to the top of the NEWA 149-pound individual rankings after winning a team-high 11 matches so far this season, while fellow newcomer Jesse Webb is ranked second in the heavyweight division with an 8-3 record heading into this weekend's tournament.
Jared Costa is ranked third by the NEWA at 165 pounds and will defend his individual title at the Reese Invitational. Mitchell LaFlam has also won seven matches so far this season and is ranked fourth at 184 pounds, while Cedrick Stephens has won his first four contests of the season to move into fifth in the 197-pound rankings.
Other Castleton wrestlers to watch include Nick Camacho at 133 pounds, a fourth-place finisher in this event last year who is second on the team with nine victories this season. At 157 pounds, Cameron Milliken finished second in last year's Reese Invitational and has earned six wins in the 2017-18 season.
After Saturday's meet, Castleton will return to dual matches for the rest of the calendar year, starting with the home opener against New England College Wednesday, Dec. 6, at 7 p.m. at Glenbrook Gym.