The Wesleyan University wrestling team opens its 2016 season Saturday, Nov. 12 at 10 a.m. as the Cardinals head to Roger Williams University for a 12-team tournament featuring four, top-10 nationally ranked teams – No. 2 Messiah College, No. 5 Stevens Institute of Technology, No. 8 Roger Williams and No. 10 York College.
Entering his 19th year at the helm of the program, Head Coach Drew Black looks to build off an impressive 2015 campaign in which Wesleyan finished 11-8 overall, and featured an NCAA Qualifier, Devon Carrillo '17, who placed third in the Northeast Regional and earned the Gorrarian Award for most pins at the NCAA Qualifier.
This year's squad returns eight starters from a year ago, and added a quality freshman group into needed weight classes that will help bolster the line-up.
- Carrillo excelled last season – his first as a collegiate wrestler – and looks to be a national force once again at 197. As a junior, he went 15-4 overall. "The goal and focus for Devon is to be as high as possible on the national podium as an All-American," said Black.
- Junior co-captain Isaiah Bellamy made a late season change to heavyweight a year ago, and put on 30-plus pounds of mass during the offseason. He posted a 28-11 record in 2015.
- Dominic Pirraglia '18, a co-captain alongside Bellamy, looks to build off an impressive sophomore season at 174. Pirraglia has gone down a weight class from 184, and will look to be much more effective at his new weight class.
- Additionally, the remaining Wesleyan starters look to feature sophomore Zack Murillo at 125; sophomore Dylan Jones/junior Frank Crippen at 133; sophomores James Matias/Shane Ross at 141; junior Carter Armendarez at 149; senior Robert Rosenberg at 157; sophomore Roy Forys at 165; and junior Matt Winchester at 184.
- Tristan Stetson '20 and Ami Daouk '20 will wrestle at 125, and have a combined 266-76 overall record and 79-11 mark as high school seniors.
- Grant Hill '20 was a national prep qualifier with a 29-6 record in his senior year, and looks to compete at 157.
- Aaron Cranston '20 posted a 31-16 record as a senior and will wrestle at 165.
- A two-time New Jersey State Qualifier, Zach Turner '20 posted an overall high school record of 101-28 and a 36-5 senior year mark, and will compete at 184.
HEAD COACH DREW BLACK:
"Consistency wins. Our process, our focus, is on getting better everyday. The first aspect of our season is tournament style wrestling. We are looking for each competitor to go as far and as deep as they can in each competition. It is a great way to get quality mat-time for the entire team. Be coachable, work hard and smart each day, and go compete. The results will take care of themselves."
"We are a solid group from 125 through HWT. I really expect our team to be firing on all cylinders for another winning dual season, leading into a successful finish come NCAA Regional and NCAA Championship time. Wesleyan will be on the national podium in Wisconsin for March Matness."