Ithaca, N.Y. - November 8-9, 2013 - Both Tom Casper (Bergenfield, N.J.) and Irakli Kakauridze (Howell, N.J.) won their individual weight classes to help the Springfield College wrestling team finished third at the Ithaca Invitational this weekend.
Host Ithaca won the two-day event with 177 points, followed by Johnson and Wales total of 164.5 and Springfield's score of 159 points. The Pride opened up the season as the nation's sixth-ranked team according to the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) Division III Preseason Poll.
Casper, who last year qualified for the NCAA Championships last season, had a great season-opening showing at 125. After a pair of major decision victories on Friday, the junior won by a 6-2 decision in the semifinals before cruising to a 5-0 decision win for the 125 title.
Kakauridze had a terrific start to his sophomore season by snagging the title at 285. On Friday, he had a pair of decision wins an a victory by fall in just 1:12 before moving on Saturday's semifinals. On Saturday, Kakauridze delivered a 5-2 and 6-0 decision win for his first collegiate individual title.
Erik Hamrick (Collingswood, N.J.) finished as the runner-up at 157 and wrestled very well all weekend. The junior cruised into the finals after posting three-consecutive pins to start his year before dropping a hard-fought 7-4 decision.
Springfield had a pair of wrestlers fair especially well at 174, with Will Henson (Barnstable, Mass.) picking up two pins and knocking off the top-seed before falling in in the championship and teammate Vin Silano (Emerson, N.J.) placing fourth.
In his first collegiate action, Jacob Strohman (East Longmeadow, Mass.) took third at 141, while Dylan Foley (Southborough, Mass.) produced a third-place finish at 165. Additionally at 133, Victor Ekpenyong (Middletown, Conn.) finished fourth and Zach Joseph (Clifton Park, N.Y.) placed fifth at 149.
The Pride will next compete at home when it serves as host for the Doug Park Invitational, which will take place on November 23.