College roundup: Ecker's gold-medal effort fuels Ithaca to ECWC title
by Don Seeley, Pottstown Mercury Sports Editor
Posted on February 24, 2009
OSWEGO, N.Y. - Ithaca pulled off a surprise here and there this winter, worked its way into the Top 10 of the NCAA Division III national rankings, and put together the second-winningest dual-meet season in the history of the program.
The Bombers, specifically freshman Seth Ecker (Pottstown), were at it again last weekend during the Empire Collegiate Wrestling Conference Championships at Oswego State.
Sparked by Ecker's stunning run to a gold medal at 125 pounds, the Bombers had a record-tying seven champions and captured their third ECWC team title with 143.5 points, well in front of runner-up Cortland State (113) and both Lycoming and Messiah, who tied for third (72 each).
Ecker didn't get lost in the large group of winners, either.
He opened with a pin, his seventh of the season, against Oneonta State's Derek Conant, then used an escape for a 1-0 decision of Cortland State's Peppy Cabrera in the semifinals. That earned him a spot in the final against RIT's No. 1 seed Mike McInally, who was 31-0 and ranked No. 3 in the nation. Ecker didn't waste the opportunity, shocking McInally, 3-1, for the gold medal that improved his own mark to 21-5 and earned him a spot in the NCAA Division III Championships - set for March. 6-7 in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
Messiah's David Jones (Boyertown) finished third at 165 pounds. Jones lost a 3-0 semifinal encounter with RIT's Jason Wake, then posted a 14-0 major and 7-0 decision for the bronze medal. The comeback also earned him a wrestleback for second place, but he fell again to Wake.
Delaware Valley, with a five gold-medal showing - including three from Chris Sheetz (Upper Perkiomen), Brandon Clemmer (Upper Perkiomen), and Rocky Mantella (Council Rock) - rolled to its second straight NCAA Division III Midwest Regional Championships team title in Angola, Ind.
The 125-pound Sheetz (35-4, 69-12 career) posted three straight pins to get to the final, where he used a 5-4 decision to defeat Thiel's Bob Miller for his second straight regional title.
The 133-pound Clemmer (30-6) used a 12-0 major, technical fall and pin to get to the final, where he blanked Thiel's Corey Brown, 7-0. The unbeaten Mantella (27-0) and was awarded the Outstanding Wrestler award after holding off top-seeded and No. 2 ranked Kyle Vanderhyde, in a 6-4 overtime thriller at 174 pounds.
Sheetz and Clemmer advance to nationals for the second straight season, while Mantella will making his first.
Teammate Eric McCann (Pennridge) placed sixth at 141 pounds and finished the season at 21-12.
The Aggies finished with 183 points to run away with the team title. Olivet and host Trine tied for second with 128.5 points each.
Ursinus freshman Connor McCormick (Owen J. Roberts) came up short in his bid for a Centennial Conference title and national berth during the CC Championships last Saturday at McDaniel. McCormick split four bouts in finishing fourth at 149 pounds. ... Muhlenberg's Bill Sholly (Souderton) went 0-2 at 197 pounds. ... The Merchant Marine Academy, with six champions and two runners-up, defended its title with 116 points. Ursinus, which went 0-for-4 in the finals, was second (66).
In the Metropolitan Conference Championships at York, NYU's Matt Magill (Great Valley) was fourth at 157 pounds. The fourth-seeded Magill lost a one-point decision in the semifinals ... Wilkes won the team title.
Williamson Trade was blanked in six final bouts, but had nine medalists overall in the recent National Collegiate Wrestling Association's Pennsylvania Conference championships. Settling for runner-up honors were Paul Capriolo (Conestoga), Chuck Nickle (Garnet Valley), Justin Adamek (Chichester), Eric Powell (Plymouth-Whitemarsh), Joe Link (Springfield-Delco) and John Rendall (Octorara). Teammates George Tascone (Springfield-Delco) and Brian Hulsey (Marple-Newtown) were two of the three fourth-place finishers for Williamson. West Chester had three medalists in Sean Fitzgerald (Downingtown West) and Brandon Banks (Wissahickon), both runners-up, and P.J. Steininger (Sun Valley), who was third. Penn State's Jason Turpyn (Neshaminy) was third... The NCWA Northeast Conference Championships are set for this weekend in Albany, N.Y. The national championship meet will be held Mar. 12-14 in Hampton, Va.
WRAPPING IT UP
Bloomsburg got a first-period pin at 157 from Matt Moley (Spring-Ford) in a 21-13 decision of visiting Rutgers in both teams' final dual of the season. The fall was the 90th career win for Moley (28-5). ... Prior to the bout, Darren Kern (Upper Perkiomen) was honored during the Senior Night festivities.
Rider's Fred Rodgers (Boyertown) split his final two bouts of the dual-meet season, winning a 6-2 decision in a 23-13 win over Boston University and dropping a 3-2 decision in a 27-9 rout of Sacred Heart.
Penn's Rick Rappo (Council Rock South) also split his final two bouts of the dual-meet season, posting a 6-0 shutout in a 20-13 upset of No. 24 Penn State and dropping a 2-0 decision in a 24-12 loss to No. 8 Lehigh. ... Penn finished up at 12-7, while Lehigh closed with a school-record 23-1 overall mark.
Columbia's Andrew Grabfelder (Germantown Academy, Collegeville resident) lost a 9-2 decision at 133 in the Lions' 25-18 setback at Harvard.
Navy rolled to a 26-9 romp over host Army, as the Cadets' Brian Rowan (Neshaminy) dropped a 5-3 decision at 165 in his final home appearance.
Lock Haven got off to a good start with Nick Hyatt (Boyertown) pinning at 125 and went on to defeat visiting Clarion, 27-13, in both teams' EWL finales.
Millersville, behind a technical fall at 157 pounds by John Lester (C.B. South), celebrated Senior Night with a 23-18 win over visiting Franklin & Marshall. Teammates Sean Reed (Springfield-Delco) and Shane Smith (Upper Perkiomen) dropped decisions for the Marauders, who finished 9-8, their first winning season in five years. F&M's Colin Ely (Unionville) lost by fall at 197.
East Stroudsburg's David Luthy (Plymouth-Whitemarsh) came up short in his bout at 125 when the Warriors lost their EIWA finale, 33-10, to visiting Bucknell.
North Carolina, with head coach C.D. Mock (Council Rock) matside, split its final two matches in a non-conference double-dual in South Carolina. The Tar Heels (13-9) thumped Anderson, 43-0, and lost to host Newberry, 24-14.
Maryland closed out its dual-meet season with a weekend sweep of George Mason and Virginia. Terrapin heavyweight Pat Gilmore (Council Rock South) had a first-period pin in the 32-10 rout of GMU, then added an 8-0 major in the 25-15 win over the Cavaliers to improve to 22-16 overall. Virginia's Pete Ferrara (C.B. West) provided three points for Virginia with a decision at 149.
Liberty's Tim Harner (Norristown) had a pair of pins at 141 to lead the Flames to a pair of wins last week, 38-9 over VMI and 23-19 over George Mason. Teammate Brad Clark (Methacton) also had a pin against VMI but dropped a 7-2 decision against GMU in his bouts at 165 pounds. Harner (23-8), Clark (14-13) and the Flames closed out their dual-meet schedule Monday night.
No. 11 Oklahoma got a 5-3 decision at 184 pounds from Pat Flynn (Quakertown), but the Sooners were upset, 27-6, by visiting No. 15 Oklahoma State.