CASTLETON, Vt. – The Castleton University wrestling team will spend the weekend in Southern New England competing in two events within a short span of time.
The Spartans first travel to Springfield, Mass., for a dual match against Western New England University Saturday, Jan. 27, starting at 5 p.m. Castleton then continues onto Providence, R.I., for the Wildcat Open, hosted by Johnson & Wales University at the Wildcat Center Sunday, Jan. 28, beginning at 9:30 a.m.
Castleton, now 10-5 in dual matches, is coming off a fifth place finish at the NEWA Dual Championships last Sunday, posting a 3-1 record for the second straight year. The Spartans easily defeated Western New England in the first round, 36-3, before losing to nationally-ranked WPI in the quarterfinals, 26-7. Castleton rebounded with victories over Springfield (20-19) and Southern Maine (25-17) to claim fifth place in the 16-team field.
In the latest NEWA individual rankings released Thursday, six Castleton wrestlers are among the top six competitors in their respective weight class. Despite a drop to 141 pounds, Max Tempel continued his exemplary season, winning all four of his matches last Sunday to improve to 32-9 overall and enter the 141-pound rankings in third.
Cedrick Stephens is ranked fourth at 197 pounds after going 3-1 last Sunday to improve his season record to 20-3, while Jesse Webb is also fourth in the heavyweight division after a 2-1 performance raised his season mark to 25-6. Nick Camacho at 133 pounds and Jared Costa at 165 pounds each have 22 wins so far this year and are ranked sixth in their respective weight class, as is Mitchell LaFlam at 184 pounds with a 21-15 overall record in 2017-18.
Western New England finished 10th at the NEWA Dual Championships with a 2-2 record, overcoming its loss to Castleton with victories over Norwich (31-15) and Plymouth State (25-15) before falling to Williams, 32-9. For the season, the Golden Bears are 5-6 in dual matches, with John Boyle at 184 pounds leading the team with 26 victories against just four losses. At 125 pounds, Nick Arborio has posted a 22-8 record so far this season.
Johnson & Wales, ranked fourth in this week's National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) Coaches Poll, won the NEWA Dual Championships with victories over New England College, Southern Maine, #22 Coast Guard, and #20 Roger Williams. The Wildcats are 14-2 in dual matches this season, with their only losses coming against current #1 Augsburg and #3 Ithaca.
Other teams expected to compete Sunday at the Wildcat Open include LIU-Post, New York University, Plymouth State, RPI, Rhode Island College, Roger Williams, Springfield, and Trinity. At last year's Wildcat Open, six Spartans finished within the top six of their respective brackets, including Nolan Viens's fourth place finish at 165 pounds, Nick Scott finishing in fifth place at 285 pounds, and sixth-place finishes for Ryan Cabezas at 133 pounds and Jared Costa at 165 pounds.
After this weekend, Castleton will prepare to host its first-ever quad match, welcoming Springfield, Plymouth State, and Johnson & Wales to Glenbrook Gym Saturday, Feb. 3, starting at 12 noon.