PROVIDENCE, RI – The Johnson & Wales University wrestling team was back in its own gym Sunday for the Wildcat Open sponsored by USC. The Wildcats had six wrestlers fighting for a top-five finish, led by Tommy Wrzesien who came away with the championship at 285 pounds.
Despite sometimes giving up 40-50 pounds to his opponents, Wrzesien won all four his matches with pins. The Hope Valley, RI native's fastest pin came in 1:19 against Bridgewater State's Daniel MacNeil in the quarterfinals. He pinned the top seed and fellow BSU Bear Ryan Higgins at the 3:23 mark.
Senior Thomas Grippi advanced to the finals of 157 pounds, but he was stopped by Trinity's Grant Sorensen. He posted a tech fall and pin on his way to the semifinals where he recorded a 5-3 decision over teammate Malik Rasheed, who finished sixth.
A pin in the semifinals of the consolation bracket got sophomore Christopher Caban into the third-place match at 133 pounds. His run was ended by Jacques St. Jean from Springfield. Michael Gargano got to the semifinals of 174 pounds before taking sixth. After losing his first match at 165 pounds, Steven Ocampo worked his way all the back to the fifth-place bout.
The second-ranked Wildcats are back at home Saturday, February 2 at 3:30 p.m. to take on Springfield, Plymouth State and Castleton in a quad meet.