ITHACA, N.Y. – The Castleton University wrestling team opened its season Friday evening, working its way into fourth place after the opening rounds of the Ithaca Invitational.
Castleton's 46 points as a team sits it just four points behind third-place Ithaca. Johnson & Wales (57.5) and Baldwin Wallace (51.0) are in first and second, respectively, after day one at the event.
Castleton still has 18 wrestlers alive in the tournament, highlighted by nine unbeaten wrestlers. Max Tempel went 3-0 on opening day to work his way to the 149-pound quarterfinals, while Frank Darwak, Joseph Valentino, Owen Kretschmer, Reece Millington, Chance LaPier, Jason Hoffman and Joseph Galusha went 2-0 each. Mitchell LaFlam won his only bout of the day.
Darwak and Valentino give Castleton a pair of wrestlers in the quarterfinals at 125, as Darwak earned two pins—each coming in less than 2:30. Valentino pinned his first opponent in 1:22 before earning a 17-4 major decision victory in his second bout of the day. Nicholas Roeger remains alive in the consolation bracket after beating teammate Kyle Kaluhiokalani via pin in 3:46 for his second win of the day.
At 133, Kretschmer leads the Spartans with a quarterfinal appearance after a pair of tight victories. In his opener, he earned a decision victory in the sudden victory period, 10-8, with a takedown. In his next match, he won a tight, 2-1 decision to advance to the quarterfinals. Travis Brown and Nick Camacho remain in the fight on the consolation side of the bracket at 2-1 each, as Brown earned a pair of pins and Camacho collected a pair of sudden-victory wins with takedowns.
Tempel's dominance at 149 came in a multitude of ways on opening day, first earning a 17-0 win via technical fall before claiming a 9-0 major decision. He advanced to the quarterfinal round with a 6-1 decision, allowing opponents to earn just one point over three bouts on the day. Cqari Bacote won his first two matches of the day via decision before falling to the consolation side of the bracket, but he remained alive with a 7-4 decision in his first match on the other side of the bracket to finish the day 3-1.
Cooper Fleming dropped his first bout of the day at 157, but earned a pair of victories in the consolation bracket to keep his hopes alive for Saturday.
Millington opened the season with a pair of wins at 165, earning a win via fall (3:39) in his first matchup before claiming a 9-4 win via decision to cement a place in the quarterfinals. Michael Angers won his first bout, 3-0, before being sent to the consolation bracket by way of a 6-0 decision. He kept his hopes alive with a 5-0 victory to finish the day 2-1.
At 174, LaPier earned a 7-2 decision in his first match of the day, before pinning his opponent in 4:06 in his second and final bout. Hoffman picked up a pair of wins in his own right at 184, winning via major decision and via fall to join his Spartan teammates in the quarterfinals. Alexander Green dropped his first bout of the day, but bounced back with a win via pin to remain alive in the consolation bracket.
LaFlam won his only bout of the day at 197, pinning his opponent in 5:43 to advance to the quarterfinals. Galusha won twice in the heavyweight division to advance to the quarterfinals himself, earning wins via major decision and decision. Shea Garand and De'Shon Alexander each went 2-1 on the day with a pair of pins and will wrestle in the consolation bracket Saturday.
Action resumes Saturday at 9:30 a.m. at Ithaca's Athletics and Events Center.