The Hopkins wrestling team headed to Springfield, Mass. to compete in the Doug Parker Invitational on Nov. 17. The Blue Jays finished in 10th place out of 17 teams, earning 53.5 points on the day. Host Springfield College (111.5 points), Centenary University (102.5) and the University of Southern Maine (97.5) rounded out the top three finishers.
Hopkins had three top-six performances in the tournament.
Senior Isaac Morales placed fourth in the 197 class, advancing to the semifinals, from which he ultimately withdrew.
At 157 pounds, sophomore Dominick Reyes placed sixth with four wins and two losses. Three of those wins were bonus-point victories.
The top performer for Hopkins was senior Ricky Cavallo, who placed first at 133 pounds. The Greensburg, Pa. native refused to lose, winning all four of his matches.
Cavallo started the day with two victories over Springfield, 7-1 over Jarred Tolotti and 18-0 over Logan Fox. In the semifinals, Cavallo needed overtime to defeat Jason Jacobi of East Stroudsburg University. In the finals, after only 59 seconds, Cavallo pinned Dylan Jones from Wesleyan University to clinch first place.
Last season, Cavallo finished with a 30-9 record, with eight wins coming via technical fall, a Hopkins single-season record.
Along with Cavallo, Reyes and Morales also garnered preseason national rankings after advancing to the NCAA Championships just one year ago.
Cavallo sat down with The News-Letter for an interview to discuss his recent success, as well as his views on the rest of the season.
The News-Letter: What was your mindset heading into the Doug Parker Invitational?
Ricky Cavallo: Heading into the Doug Parker Invitational I was a little nervous about my conditioning as well as if I was going to feel rusty or not. I had been injured in the first tournament of the year and had essentially missed two weeks of live wrestling. Although I had missed a good chunk of time, I was still confident in my abilities and preparation leading up to the tournament. My mindset going in was to get comfortable using specific moves again as well as working on my finishes.
N-L: How does it feel to be ranked in the top 10 of the InterMat national rankings?
RC: While it feels good to be ranked in the top 10, looking at the rankings reminds me that I have a lot of work to do. I need to continue to improve and perform at the best of my abilities so I’m ready for the end of the year.
N-L: What is the team’s focus before heading into Centennial Conference play?
RC: The team’s focus going into Centennial Conference competition is to be healthy, see team wide improvement and compete for a Conference title.
N-L: How have you developed as a wrestler since arriving at Hopkins?
RC: Since coming to Hopkins I have spent time developing my hand fighting ability as well as improving my ability to maintain my offense from a defensive position. College wrestling requires much more work to open up shots and find an opening on your opponent than high school wrestling, so better hand fighting is a necessity. Additionally, knowing how to score points from almost any position is critical in matches where a lot of scrambling occurs.
N-L: What are your personal goals and the team’s goals for this season?
RC: The team goals for this season are to have at least five wrestlers qualify for the NCAA tournament, add to our All-American wall and be top five for our team scholars. My personal goals for this season are to become an Academic All-American, an All-American and to be a good co-captain for our team.
N-L: What are the keys to your success the rest of the way?
RC: My biggest keys to success for this season are belief and keeping up my attacks. I often find myself doubting my own abilities and second guessing myself, which not only inhibits my ability to perform but also results in a negative mindset going into competition. My more wrestling-specific key to success is to focus on constantly moving forward and keeping my offense going. I realize that all moments when I’m not doing this I’m giving an advantage to my opponents.
The next action for Cavallo and the wrestling team will take place on Friday, Nov. 30 when they head to York, Pa. for the New Standard Corp Invitational.