CASTLETON, Vt. – The Castleton University wrestling team heads to the Providence Career and Technical Academy in Providence, R.I., this Sunday, Jan. 21, for the New England Wrestling Association (NEWA) Dual Championships, hosted by Johnson & Wales University.
The Spartans are the seventh seed in this year's competition and will face 10th-seed Western New England in their first match of the day at 9:30 a.m. The winner of the Castleton-Western New England contest will next face the winner between second seed WPI and 15th seed Norwich, with the losers also facing each other in the wrestleback section.
Castleton, currently 7-4 in dual matches, is coming off a second place finish last Saturday at the Will Abele Invitational at Ursinus College in Collegeville, Pa. Ibragim Arsakhanov, a newcomer to the Spartan roster after transferring in during the winter break, won the 184-pound bracket thanks in part to three victories via pin. Arsakhanov was named NEWA Rookie of the Week Thursday after his performance last weekend.
Jared Costa took the 165-pound bracket title with a pin and three shutouts. Costa is one of six Spartan wrestlers to reach the 20-win mark for the season, with Max Tempel at 149 pounds leading the way with a 28-9 overall record. Jesse Webb has earned 23 victories against just five losses in the heavyweight division, while Costa, Nick Camacho (133 pounds), Mitchell LaFlam (184 pounds), and Cameron Milliken (157 pounds) all earned their 20th win of the year last Saturday.
Western New England brings a 3-4 dual match record into Sunday's competition after losses to Bridgewater State (28-21) and Roger Williams (47-0) on Jan. 10. The Golden Bears also competed at the Will Abele Invitational, finishing in fifth place. Nick Arborio won the 125-pound bracket with three pins and a major decision victory, improving to 20-7 this season.
WPI, ranked 16th in the NWCA Coaches Poll, is 11-1 in dual matches so far this season, with its only loss coming to Wesleyan by just one point, 22-21. Norwich has struggled so far this year, losing five straight dual matches to fall to 1-7, including a 36-12 loss to Springfield this past Wednesday.
The top five seeds at the NEWA Dual Championships are all nationally ranked, led by top seed Johnson & Wales, ranked fourth in the country. After WPI, Roger Williams is seeded third and ranked 17th, just ahead nationally of fifth seed Wesleyan, currently ranked 18th in the country. Coast Guard is seeded fourth in Sunday's competition and ranked 20th in the latest poll.
Last season, Castleton entered the NEWA Dual Championships as the 10th seed and lost a close contest to Southern Maine in the first round, 26-17. The Spartans went on to win three straight matches to finish in ninth place overall, defeating Bridgewater State (35-6), Rhode Island College (28-10), and Norwich (21-19).
The Spartans have faced Western New England in a dual match before, defeating the Golden Bears Jan. 27, 2017, at Glenbrook Gym, 35-7, thanks to eight individual victories.
After Sunday's competition, Castleton will travel to Springfield, Mass., to take on Western New England in another dual match Saturday, Jan. 27, starting at 5 p.m. The Spartans then return to Johnson & Wales for the Wildcat Open next Sunday, Jan. 28, beginning at 9:30 a.m.