Wrestling Competes at Regional Championships
By Brody Tennant, Staff Writer
On February 23 and 24, the Gettysburg College wrestling team traveled to Franklin County High School to compete in the NCAA Division III Southeast Regional Championship for a chance to have a spot in the national championship.
This marked the second consecutive season that the Bullets wrestled for spots. Last season, a total of five Bullets placed in the top five and earned their way into the national championship tournament, including junior Paul Triandafilou, who placed second last year and claimed his second straight bid for a national spot.
Head coach Andy Vogel was confident about his team and their efforts.
“These guys are well-trained and ready to have their best performance of the year. My hope is that they wrestle hard, have fun, and trust that their training and experience will carry them through the toughest competition,” he told Gettysburg College Athletics.
After the first day of matches, senior Lenny Ogozalek and junior Colin Kowalski were able to reach the semifinals in their respective weight classes, at 125 and 165.
Sophomore Colin Devlin was also still in the running, working his way through the consolation bracket in the 149-pound weight class.
“Wrestling is hard,” said Vogel, “and these guys have been working since the beginning of the school year to get ready for this weekend. This is another chance for all of that hard work to pay off.”
Ogozalek began the day off on a very high note, pinning his opponent in only 1:24. This pin, however, marks a huge milestone for the Bullet as it was his 18th fall of the year, which is the new single season record for pins. He won his next match in a 12-9 to earn his spot in the semifinals.
Unfortunately, Ogozalek did not end his Gettysburg College wrestling career the way he wanted to. After losing his match in the semifinals and his subsequent consolation round match, he was able to finish in fifth place.
While his career ended not in the way he was hoping, he leaves behind an astounding legacy. He broke the record for most pins in a season, then extended his record a few matches later. During his college career, he amassed 37 falls, which is second all time for Gettysburg wrestling. He also totaled 32 wins this season alone, which is the most single season wins by a 125-pounder.
Kowalski was very dominant in his two matches of the day. Both coming as tech falls, with scores of 16-1 and 17-1, respectively. After losing 3-1 in sudden victory in the semifinals, he was able to win his next two matches and place third, clinching his spot in the NCAA national championship. His only loss of the tournament came at the hand of Messiah College’s Jeff Hojnacki, who is the fifth ranked wrestler at 165.
En route to his third place finish, Kowlaski improved his season record to 37-5, which ranks him fourth all time for single season wins.
Gettysburg College finished the Southeast Regional 11th out of the 18 teams present with a total team score of 44. Messiah College took the top spot with 147 total points.
Kowalski will look to continue his success at the national NCAA Division III tournament, which will take place on March 9-10 in the Cleveland Public Auditorium.