PISCATAWAY, NEW JERSEY – The Brown wrestling team experienced considerable success at the EIWA Championships this weekend, qualifying two student-athletes for the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships in the competition held at the Rutgers Athletic Center. Junior Billy Watterson (Pound Ridge, NJ) earned his first national berth by finishing fifth at 125 pounds, and sophomore Ophir Bernstein (Allen, TX) wrestled to his second consecutive qualification when he took third place at 184 pounds.
As a squad, the Bears finished 11th among the 14 teams in the EIWA with 38 points. The Cornell Big Red won the overall title with 142 points, while the Navy Midshipmen and the Penn Quakers rounded out the top three with 117.5 and 110.5 points, respectively.
Watterson came into the tournament ranked sixth and was able to win his first match against Sacred Heart's Joe Harris by a major decision of 20-4. He then won by default over Joseph Langel of Rutgers before falling, 6-3, to Penn's second-ranked Mark Rappo in the championship bracket. Watterson earned a 4-3 win in the first tiebreaker against Harvard's Jeffrey Ott to earn his spot in the third-place match, but lost to fourth-ranked David Terao from American, 5-3, to take the fourth spot and book his ticket to the National Championship.
Bernstein had similar success, coming in as the seventh seed and wrestling all the way to third place over the course of the two-day competition. He won his first match of the day by major decision, beating Robert Marchese of Bucknell 8-0 before falling to reigning champ Steve Bosak, a second-seed from Cornell, 11-0. Bernstein got hot after that however, winning four in a row to take third place and earn a trip to the NCAA tournament. His first victory in the wrestlebacks came against American's Thomas Barreiro in the form of a 16-1 technical fall in seven minutes. He then defeated Princeton's sixth-seeded Scott Gibbons, 4-1, before winning by medical forfeit over Lehigh's top-ranked Robert Hamlin. Finally, he was victorious in the third place match, winning by a 7-2 decision over Rutgers' Daniel Rinaldi.
Several other Bears earned wins over the course of the competition as they represented Brown in their respective weight classes, including freshman Anthony Finocchiaro (Canastota, NY), junior Cortlandt Choate (Orwisburg, PA), sophomore Zachary Tanenbaum (Leawood, KS), junior Philip Marano (Northampton, PA), junior Giuseppi Lanzi (Amsterdam, NY) and sophomore DJ Ingham (Fulton, NY).
Both Watterson and Bernstein will now travel to Des Moines, Iowa to represent Brown at the NCAA Championships. The competition will take place from March 21 to 23 at the Wells Fargo Arena at the Iowa Events Center.
#6 Billy Watterson (Brown) won by default over #3 Joseph Langel (Rutgers)
#2 Mark Rappo (Penn) won by decision over #6 Billy Watterson (Brown), 7-3
#6 Billy Watterson (Brown) won by tiebreaker over #5 Jeffrey Ott (Harvard), 4-3
#4 David Terao (American) won by decision over #6 Billy Watterson (Brown), 5-3
Anthony Finocchiaro (Brown) won by fall over Esteban Gomez-Rivera (American), 2:09
#1 Vincent Dellafave (Rutgers) won by decision over Anthony Finocchiaro (Brown), 6-3
Cortlandt Choate won by major decision over #4 Trevor Melde (Rutgers), 14-4
#4 Trevor Melde (Rutgers) won by major decision over Cortlandt Choate (Brown), 8-0
Zachary Tanenbaum earned a bye in the first round of the wrestle-backs
#6 Zachary Bintliff (Princeton) won by decision over Zachary Tanenbaum (Brown), 3-0
Philip Marano (Brown) won by decision over Brandon Rolnick (Princeton), 4-2
#6 Jesse Shanaman (Cornell) won by decision over Philip Marano (Brown), 4-0
#6 Nicholas Visicaro (Rutgers) won by decision over Giuseppi Lanzi (Brown), 8-5
Devon Gobbo (Harvard) won by decision over Giuseppi Lanzi (Brown), 10-4
Keithen Cast (American) won by decision over Ricky McDonald (Brown), 7-5
#2 Steve Bosak (Cornell) won by major decision over #7 Ophir Bernstein (Brown), 11-0
#7 Ophir Bernstein (Brown) won by technical fall over Thomas Barreiro (American), 16-1; 7:00
#7 Ophir Bernstein (Brown) won by decision over #6 Scott Gibbons (Princeton), 4-1
#7 Ophir Bernstein (Brown) won by medical forfeit over #1 Robert Hamlin (Lehigh)
#7 Ophir Bernstein (Brown) won by decision over #3 Daniel Rinaldi (Rutgers), 7-2
#8 Nicholas Mills (Columbia) won by major decision over Augustus Marker (Brown), 10-2
#6 Steven Graziano (Penn) won by decision over DJ Ingham (Brown), 7-3
DJ Ingham (Brown) won by decision over Cole Lampman (Princeton), 9-7
#5 Joe Stolfi (Bucknell) won by fall over DJ Ingham (Brown), 5:38