WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. – The Simpson wrestling team closed its trip to the East Coast in style by sending seven wrestlers to the podium and crowning two on the way to a second place finish at the Williams Invitational on Saturday.
Simpson scored 95 points, behind only Springfield (137.5) in the nine-team tournament.
Jacob Mize and Brett Roberts won the 157- and 174-pound weight class, respectively. Ryan Joint finished second at 157, forfeiting the championship match to Mize. Shane Swank (165), Mitch Stoltzman (174), Taylor Witzel (184) and Jared Bevins (197) all placed fourth in their respective weight classes.
It was easily the most fruitful tournament of the season for the Storm, who wrestled well in a pair of dual losses against Southern Maine and Williams on Friday night.
Mize had a relatively easy road to the championship, receiving a bye in the first round and pinning Bryan Sherman (Springfield) in the quarterfinal before advancing due to a medical forfeit. He was set to face Joint in the finals, but head coach Nate Hansen decided the two shouldn't wrestle. Instead, they played a game of rock-paper-scissors to determine the winner, where Mize took the best of three showdown.
The road was more contested for Joint, who started the day with a 16-3 major decision over John Williams (Trinity) before back-to-back decisions, beating Zach Larabee (Wesleyan) 6-1 and Richard Chipman (Southern Maine) 9-2.
Roberts put forth a dominating performance to take the title at 174. He scored a 6-3 decision over Ryan Sblendorio (Wesleyan) in the quarterfinal, before pinning his opponents in the semifinals and finals.
Swank had a busy day at 165. After losing his first match of the day, Swank won four matches in a row – two by fall – before bowing out due to injury default in the third-place match.
Stoltzman had an unusual tournament, as he was a part of six pins in the 174-pound bracket. He pinned his first opponent, lost by pin in the quarterfinal and pinned three straight in the consolation bracket. He eventually lost to Sblendorio by pin in the third-place match.
Witzel earned a pair of pins and received an injury default in the consolation bracket to advance to the third-place match at 184. He lost a close, 5-3 decision to Christopher Perreault (Plymouth State) in the consolation finals.
Like Stoltzman, 197-pounder Bevins didn't wrestle a full seven minutes during the day. He finished 2-2, winning by fall in his first and third matches while losing his second by fall and dropping the third-place match to Anthony Brooks (Williams), also via the pin.
Next up, Simpson hosts the Next Man In Nationals at Hy Vee Hall in Des Moines on Friday, Jan. 10. Start time is set for Noon.