The Hopkins wrestling team traveled up to York College this past weekend for the New Standard Corporation Invitational. The Blue Jays had the opportunity to see opponents from 16 different schools within the span of two intense days of competition.
Four Jays took home winning performances at the end of the first day of competition, as senior Ricky Cavallo, graduate student Lucas Escobar, sophomore Dominick Reyes and senior Isaac Morales all protected their spots in the championship bracket and advanced to the quarterfinals.
Cavallo, wrestling in the 133-pound weight class, entered the weekend as the runner-up in this tournament last year and breezed through the first day of competition this year. He only took 1:59 to pin Ithaca College’s Jeremy Puente and followed with an 11-2 victory against The Apprentice School’s Trey Templeton.
Escobar had similar success, as he only needed just over a combined six minutes to secure two pins and advance to the quarterfinals in the 149-pound weight class. He first pinned Elizabethtown College’s Daniel Smith in a little over four minutes and then pinned Delaware Valley University’s Rob Duxbury in just 130 seconds.
Reyes, competing in the 157-pound weight class, took home two victories as well, defeating Noah Supsic of Ursinus College and Sam Tenaglia of Johnson & Wales University. Lastly of the quarterfinalists, Morales needed only one win to advance to the second day of competition, as he earned an opening-round bye and then took a 18-3 technical fall victory against Malcolm Hunt of Ursinus in the 184-pound weight class. Hopkins sat in fifth place out of 16 teams by the end of the first day.
Going into the second day of competition, the four quarterfinalists representing Hopkins were prepared to start the day off on a strong note. And Cavallo did just that. He took a dominating 15-5 victory over Matt Armamento of Johnson & Wales to open up the quarterfinals round. He then just barely won over Ithaca’s Tito Colom in a close 3-2 semifinals match-up.
However, in the finals of the 133-pound weight class, Cavallo lost to Kordell Rush of Delaware Valley who just barely edged Cavallo by one point. The final score was 4-3, and Cavallo took home the runner-up title for the second year in the row.
Compared to Cavallo’s easy quarterfinal victory, Reyes had a different path to his semifinal match. Reyes lost in the quarterfinals to Dylan Van Sickell of Stevens Institute of Technology in a close 5-4 matchup, dropping down to the consolation bracket. However, this did not stop Reyes. He fought back and won four straight matches to jump back into the championship bracket and earn a third-place finish.
Morales also fell in the quarterfinals in a low-scoring 2-1 loss. Although he won his first match in the consolation bracket, he was eventually topped in the next round by Dan Surich of The College of New Jersey, who ended up being the third-place finisher in their weight class.
Morales reflected on the two-day tournament, expressing that the team’s potential is high.
“I think the biggest take away of the tournament was that there was a lot of room for improvement across the board, and we still placed fairly high in the team standings. If we tighten it up in the next couple months we have more than a good chance to bring home some hardware from Nationals,” Morales said.
After the team’s performance on the second day, the Blue Jays finished in eighth place at the tournament and totaled 61 points. Johnson & Wales ended up taking the championship title with 154.5 points.
Morales stated that the team is motivated to work toward their goal of making the highest team placing in program history.
“Our team motto this season has been Take 5; we want to take at least five people to Nationals (the most we’ve ever taken) and have at least three All-Americans. We had our highest team placing at Regionals last year, and now we are aiming for our highest team placing at Nationals. On top of that, we are working to have the highest team GPA in DIII wrestling, and pick up a few Scholar All American awards and Centennial Champions along the way,“ Morales said.