WORCESTER, Mass. – After the first day of the NCAA Northeast Regionals, the fourth-ranked Johnson & Wales University wrestling team is halfway to defending its title. The Wildcats have all 10 wrestlers still in the competition, including seven in the semifinals.
The Wildcats recorded 81 points on the first day to open a 37-point advantage. Host WPI and Wesleyan are next at 54 points while Roger Williams (50.5) and NYU (49.5) round out the top five. Day two gets underway at 10 a.m.
At 133 pounds, sixth-ranked Joao Vicente opened with a 17-1 tech fall over Williams' Ben Morton. A 12-2 major decision against Wesleyan's Zach Murillo put the top-seed Vicente in the semis.
Top-seeded Khamri Thomas' first-round opponent at 184 pounds was disqualified them Thomas pinned Springfield's Connor Bohringer in 4:13. He'll face WPI's Dan Wensley – who he beat 12-3 during the regular season - in the semifinals.
Fifth-ranked Jay Albis only had to win one match to move on to the semifinals. He posted a 16-0 tech fall over Nicholas Arborio of Western New England.
The second seed at 197 pounds, Michael DiNardo faced little resistance in his first two bouts. He pinned Norwich's Satchel Stauffer in just 1:41 then posted a 13-3 major decision over Michael Fernandez of Roger Williams.
Seeded third at 141 pounds, junior Joe Ferinde notched a pair of pins on his way to the semifinals. He'll face Castleton's Max Tempel, who is one of the few people to defeat Ferinde this year.
Senior Jonah Aurelio started the day by pinning Western New England's Domenic Liquori at the 1:53 mark of their 285-pound match. He avenged a regular season loss to WPI's Austin Shrewsbury, 3-2, in overtime.
At 165 pounds, Adrian Gonzalez started the day with a pin then moved onto the semifinals with an 8-5 win over Aarin Feliz of Springfield. His first match on Sunday is against the top seed, Brendan Marion of WPI.
Thomas Grippi lost his opening bout to Brendon Seyfried, the number four seed at 149 pounds, but he stayed alive with a pair of victories in the consolation bracket. Two wins would put him in the third-place match. Brady Robin will also need to win twice in the consolation bracket to get his shot at nationals. He started the day with a win, but lost in the quarterfinals to the number three seed, WPI's Tyler Marsh.
After an opening tech fall, Michael Gargano, seeded second at 174 pounds, was upset in the quarterfinals, 2-1, by WNEU's Ryan Guers. In the consols he'll face Brett Leonard of Roger Williams, who was also upset in the quarters.