Wrestling takes third at Centennial Conference Championships

By Andrew Milone, Staff Writer

Photo courtesy of Gettysburg Athletics. From left to right: sophomore Noah Malamut, sophomore Quinn Merrigan, sophomore Jake Bracken, sophomore Anthony Puca, first-year Colin Kowalski, and first-year Paul Triandafilou after placing third at the Centennial Conference Championships.

Photo courtesy of Gettysburg Athletics. From left to right: sophomore Noah Malamut, sophomore Quinn Merrigan, sophomore Jake Bracken, sophomore Anthony Puca, first-year Colin Kowalski, and first-year Paul Triandafilou after placing third at the Centennial Conference Championships.

The Gettysburg College wrestling team represented the blue & orange this past weekend as they finished with the highest placement in the Centennial Conference Championships within recent memory. The team finished in third out of eight with 50.5 points, something that had not been duplicated in 16 years.

Six Gettysburg wrestlers finished in the top four of their weight bracket to propel the team into conversation for bigger things to come. Steven’s Institute of Technology was crowned champions of the conference for the second year running while the United States Merchant Marine Academy would finish second and prove to be a tough opponent throughout the competition for the Bullets.

The story coming into the day was first-year Paul Triandilou who came into the competition as the top seeded heavyweight of the tournament and was ranked seventh in the nation. The day started off with a swift major decision win of 12-2 against New York University’s Kyle Paterson. It was then Brandon Joest of Merchant Marine who got a crack at Triandilou and would end up coming away with the victory.

This win against Triandilou ended his twenty-one match consecutive win streak to start his rookie career. He won his final two matches to finish in third in the heavyweight bracket and now has a record of 23-1. Triandilou bounced back from the unusual loss to represent a team that is on the rise.

He said, “The coaches kept reminding us of our team’s potential throughout the season. Conferences was our chance to prove ourselves and I think that is exactly what we did.”

Also finishing in the top four was sophomore Quinn Merrigan who finished as the runner up in the 149 pounds weight class. It was a bye in the first round, then a 12-4 major decision in the next round, and then a tough loss to Nathan Twito from Merchant Marine. It was a close match all the way around as the score finished up at 4-3 in favor of Twito. Merrigan has now reached the twenty win plateau for the season.

First-year Colin Kowalski stepped up in the 157 pound weight class to finish in second place and establish himself as one of the future stars of the Centennial Conference. Anthony Puca of the 197 pound weight class was the final Gettysburg wrestler to finish in second place.

Puca said, “The team was happy with our third place finish, but we were not satisfied. We lost some close matches that we shouldn’t have and even though we did well as a team those matches still stick out in our minds as things that could have changed the entire outcome of the tournament. The teams goals for the reminder of the season are to keep training hard and send a full lineup to the regional tournament in hopes of having another strong showing.”

Puca was strong in his first two rounds of battle cruising through his first two opponents. The final round included a matchup against top seeded and 9th nationally ranked opponent Ricky Fisher of Merchant Marine. The final score was 9-1 in favor of Fisher.

Sophomores Noah Malamut and Jack Bracken finished third and fourth respectively to round out the successful day for the Bullets.

Braken said, “I think the highlight of the meet was the combination of some of our young guys wrestling the best that they have all season as well as the continued success of other wrestlers on the team.”

The Bullets will next hit the mats on Feb. 27-28 at the NCAA Division 3 East Regional tournament hosted by Washington & Lee University.

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