PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Junior Ophir Bernstein (Allen, Texas) grappled to two major decisions and sophomore Anthony Finocchiaro (Canastota, N.Y.) added a fall in 2:17 as the Brown wrestling team narrowly fell to Princeton, 21-16, and toppled Johnson & Wales, 33-15, to wrap up Alumni Weekend at the Pizzitola Sports Center on Sunday.
"It was an exciting wrestling atmosphere this weekend for Alumni and Family weekend with everyone here to watch three hard fought matches," said Head Coach Todd Beckerman. "I know there is a lot of excitement and we want to feed off this going into Harvard and Boston in the Border State Battle matches next Saturday."
Prior to the morning meet, Brown University honored former head wrestling coach Dave Amato for his 30 years of service to the Brown wrestling program. Recognized as the greatest coach in Brown wrestling history, Amato recorded 379 wins and left his post as the third winningest active coach in NCAA Division I. He coached two Ivy League Wrestlers of the Year, three Ivy League Rookies of the Year and helped over 100 wrestlers place at the EIWA Championships. Seven wrestlers entered the Brown Athletics Hall of Fame under his watch, while 10 wrestlers captured EIWA titles. He mentored 27 First Team All-Ivy wrestlers, and two All-Americans. The 1992 EIWA Coach of the Year, he held true to the Brown mission of academic excellence, guiding the Bears to consecutive National Wrestling Coaches Association honors for the country's highest team grade point average.
Junior Ricky McDonald (Carson City, Nev.), Bernstein and freshman Ryder Cavey (Eldersburg, Md.) earned crucial points in the late going against Princeton to make up for what proved a costly injury default to senior Vincent Moita (Clayton, Calif.) in the opening bout at 125. The Tigers hung tight to the lead, however, and came away with victory.
"The match today versus Princeton was a tough loss," Beckerman said. "Overall I was happy with the way we wrestled. We scored bonus points, avenged some previous losses and fought hard for seven minutes."
Beckerman called Moita's injury default the "most heart wrenching" loss of the day. "Vinny has been wrestling really well lately and I would have liked to see the final outcome of that match," Beckerman said.
"Now we need to fine tune the little things to be prepared," Beckerman added, noting that the Bears are a month away from the NCAA-qualifying EIWA Tournament. "I am excited for the next month of training."
Finocchiaro made quick work of his first opponent and threw a rolling half to get the pin in 2:17. Freshman Justin Staudenmayer (Plymouth Meeting, Pa.) tried to get the Bears back on track after losses at 141 and 149, but the 157-pounder could not avoid a late third period takedown in the 4-2 setback that put Princeton in front 15-6.
Following a Tiger win at 165, McDonald turned a low-scoring affair into a 5-3 win for the Bears with a low takedown in the third period. Bernstein promptly opened at 184 with a quick takedown, throwing in a boot to take the early lead. The ninth-ranked grappler then molded a 5-0 second period lead into a 12-1 major decision with a takedown, escape and three Tiger stalling calls in the third.
Princeton's Abe Ayala took the 8-3 decision at 197 to put the meet out of reach, but that did not discourage Cavey from assembling a reversal and takedown in the second period to outlast Troy Murtha, 6-4, at 285.
Against Johnson & Wales, two of the first three bouts were forfeited in Brown's favor. Freshman Steven Galiardo (Chicago, Ill.) kept the foot on the throttle and used six takedowns and a pair of near falls to post a 20-5 major decision at 149.
The Wildcats sparked to life with back-to-back wins at 157 and 165, including a hasty pin by Andrew Stock just 51 seconds into the 165 bout. McDonald slowed the Johnson & Wales momentum, biding his time to a 1-0 lead after two periods before unleashing a crucial takedown with 53 seconds left in the bout. McDonald dominated for the remainder, using a claw ride tilt for consecutive near falls en route to the 9-1 decision.
With Brown leading 21-15, Bernstein squared off against Dylan Seybolt in a slugfest at 184. Bernstein posted two takedowns and earned five points worth of near falls before Seybolt spun away with a reversal and nearly pinned Brown's top wrestler, pushing the score to 9-7 in Bernstein's favor after one period. Seybolt once again rallied late in the second, using a reversal to close the gap to 14-10 before opening the third with a reversal that got him within two points, 14-12. Bernstein regained his groove just in time, scooting out the back for a reversal to jump ahead 16-13 and running away with the decision following a takedown and near fall in the 24-14 win.
Sophomore Augustus Marker (Castle Rock, Colo.) grinded out a slim 4-2 win at 197 to give Brown a 28-15 lead, setting up Cavey to close the deal again with a dominant 17-2 major decision on the strength of four takedowns and two near falls.
Brown closes out its five-meet homestand next Saturday when the Bears host Harvard and Boston University. First bout is slated for 12 p.m.
Princeton 21, Brown 16
125: Ryan Cash (Princeton) def. Vincent Moita (Brown), Injury Default (2:48)
133: Anthony Finocchiaro (Brown) fall Jake Intrator (Princeton), 2:17
141: Jordan Laster (Princeton) dec. Jack Twomey-Kozak (Brown), 10-4
149: Adam Krop (Princeton) dec. Steven Galiardo (Brown), 9-4
157: Kevin Moylan (Princeton) dec. Justin Staudenmayer (Brown), 4-2
165: Judd Ziegler (Princeton) dec. Philip Marano (Brown), 9-4
174: Ricky McDonald (Brown) dec. Ryan Callahan (Princeton), 5-3
184: No. 9 Ophir Bernstein (Brown) major dec. Brett Harner (Princeton), 12-1
197: Abe Ayala (Princeton) dec. Augustus Marker (Brown), 8-3
285: Ryder Cavey (Brown) dec. Troy Murtha (Princeton), 6-4
Brown 33, Johnson & Wales 15
125: Joe Smith (JWU) win by forfeit
133: Anthony Finocchiaro (Brown) win by forfeit
141: Jack Twomey-Kozak (Brown) win by forfeit
149: Steven Galiardo (Brown) major dec. Matt Caracappa (JWU), 20-5
157: Colby Clarke (JWU) dec. Taylor Grenawalt (Brown), 7-4
165: Andrew Stock (JWU) fall L.J. Remillard (Brown), 0:51
174: Ricky McDonald (Brown) major dec. Dae'Sean Brown (JWU), 9-1
184: No. 9 Ophir Bernstein (Brown) major dec. Dylan Seybolt (JWU), 24-14
197: Augustus Marker (Brown) dec. Constantine Rissotis (JWU), 4-2
285: Ryder Cavey (Brown) major dec. George Madosky (JWU), 17-2