November 23, 2009

Brown Places Sixth at Keystone Classic

Brown wrestled to a sixth place finish at the highly competitive Keystone Classic on Sunday afternoon, led by senior Bran Crudden's (Columbia, CT) second place at 184 pounds.  Crudden, who was seeded sixth in the event, stormed into the final match by winning three straight bouts, including an upset of the third seed.  In a balanced overall day, the Bears also had three different wrestlers take fourth in their weight class, as well as a third by senior Bryan Tracy.

The action started at 125 pounds, where senior Greg Einfrank (Millwood, N.Y.) looked to reprise the second place form he showed at the Binghamton Open.  Einfrank began with a pair of impressive victories, including a 6-0 decision over the sixth seed before dropping a tough 11-9 match to move into the consolation bracket.  Once there, however, he quickly came back strong with a dominating 12-1 win to move into the third place bout.  Though Boston University's Fred Santaite came away with another close win, Einfrank placed fourth overall in the event with a 3-2 record.

At 133, the Bears were led by rookie Cortland Choate (Orwigsburg, PA).  Choate won his first two matches by a combined score of 14-7, including an impressive 11-6 decision over the third seeded wrestler in the class.  Though Choate then dropped a 6-0 bout to move into the consolation bracket, he came back to pick up a 4-0 win to move into the third place bout before falling to third-seeded Thomas Williams, earning the second fourth of the day for Brown.

After not competing at 141, Bruno moved on to 149, where freshman Max Lewin (Wayland, MA) led the charge for Brown.  After receiving a bye into the second round, Lewin dropped his first bout to move into the consolation bracket.  There, he wrestled his best match of the day, picking up a fall in 3:41 to move on to the next round.  In the ensuing bout, however, Lewin picked up another loss, knocking him out of the competition.

Senior Bryan Tracy (Williamstown, N.J.) led the way for Brown at 157, wrestling to a fourth place finish.  After advancing to the second round on a bye, Tracy knocked off Penn's Jake Hunter by a 10-2 margin.  Though he dropped the next bout, Tracy came on strong in the consolation bracket, as a 12-10 win moved him into the third place match.  There, he took a tightly contested 9-6 win over Boston University's Ben Mandelbrant to take third place overall.

At 165 and 174, the Bears saw their longest drought of the day, as neither weight class yielded a top-six finisher.  Sophomore Ziad Kharbush (Livonia, MI) advanced the furthest, going 2-2 on the day before a loss to the eventual fourth-place finisher knocked him out of competition.

Crudden then got Bruno firmly back on track at 184 though, turning in the best performance of the day for the Bears.  After moving into the second round on a bye, Crudden pulled out a clutch 4-2 upset win over third-seeded Dylan Temple.  He then quickly dispatched Princeton's Kurt Brendel, picking up a fall in just 55 seconds, the fastest fall of the day at 184.  Though American's Mike Cannon came away with a victory in the championship bout, Crudden's effort earned him a second place overall finish.

Brown's most complete effort may have come at 197, as two wrestlers advanced deep into the bracket, led by senior Larry Otsuka (Upper Saddle River, N.J.).  Otsuka won his first two bouts by a combined 21-11 before falling into the consolation bracket.  There, he took a 3-1 win to advance into the third place bout before another loss left him fourth overall on the day.  Junior Brandon Schull (Grand Junction, MI) also turned in a solid performance, advancing to the third round of the consolation bracket after dropping his opening match.

In the final event of the day, rookie Caleb Blaney (Urbana, IL) turned in a sixth place finish at 285.  After a loss in the opening bout of the day dropped him into the consolation bracket, Blaney won two consecutive matches by 2-0 and 7-3 scores to move into the fifth place bout, where he lost a close match to take sixth overall.

The Bears will be back in action on December 4, when they travel to Las Vegas to begin competition in the two-day Cliff Keen Invitational.