The University of Scranton wrestling team is gearing up for the NCAA Mideast Regional Championships that will be held this coming Saturday and Sunday, February 29 and March 1, at the Glazer Arena on the campus of Ithaca College. The Royals are one of 19 teams competing this weekend at the regional meet.
The action will get underway at 11 a.m. on Saturday in Ithaca, which opens to the public at 10 a.m. The first two rounds, along with the championship quarterfinals and three rounds of wrestle-back will be held on Saturday.
The competition resumes on Sunday with the championship semifinals and fourth round of wrestle-backs starting at 10 a.m. Following the wrestle-back semifinals at noon, the championship, third-place, and fifth-place bouts will be held from approximately 1:30-3:30 p.m. on Sunday to close out the action.
Admission is $6 for adults, $4 for senior citizens and students, and $2 for children ages 13 and under while children under the age of two will be admitted free of charge.
Scranton, led by 14th-year head coach Al Russomano, will look to improve upon last seasons 11th place finish at the NCAA Regionals this weekend, as the Royals will look to once again have a wrestler qualify for the NCAA Championship, something that Dan D'Agostini accomplished a season ago at 197 pounds, becoming the first Scranton wrestler to do so since 2007.
Entering the weekend, Scranton will have two wrestlers seeded first in their respective weight classes.
First, is freshman Anthony Clarizio (Cedar Grove, N.J./Cedar Grove) at 141 pounds after he put together quite a rookie campaign for Scranton this winter.
Overall, Clarizio is 31-6 and has already notched 17 victories via pinfall, which puts him two pinfall victories away from matching the school record for most pins in a season in program history. Overall, he has won 13 of 14 matches entering the NCAA Regionals, as well.
Meanwhile, senior Keegan Connelly (Schnecksville, Pa./Allentown Central Catholic) is ranked at the top of his weight class, 285 pounds, entering the weekend.
Connelly, who finished fifth last season at the Regional event, looks to bookend a historic career at Scranton this weekend. Overall, he has posted a 31-3 overall mark on the year and has not lost a bout since early January, taking his last 12 bouts entering regionals. A national "contender" at 285 pounds according to the latest D3Wrestle.com rankings, Connelly enters the weekend with a 115-39 career record, too.
Elsewhere, sophomore Matthew Murawski (Harrington Park, N.J./Northern Valley - Old Tappan) is slotted fifth at 125 pounds, as he enters the weekend with a 29-8 mark for the 2019-20 season to earn a spot in the NCAA Regionals for the first time in his short career at Scranton. Meanwhile, two wrestlers were slotted seventh in their weight classes - freshman Jeremiah Oakes (Scranton, Pa./Scranton) at 165 pounds and junior William Laughlin (Lansdale, Pa./North Penn) at 174 pounds.
Oakes, who has been nursing an injury since late January, will return this weekend after putting together an impressive rookie season that saw him finish with a 24-10 overall record and record seven wins via pinfall. Laughlin, meanwhile, was terrific throughout the course of the season going 31-8 with 11 wins by pin, as he will also compete at an NCAA Regional event for the first time in his career this weekend.
Rounding out the seeded wrestlers for Scranton is junior Kyle Shaffer (Mahwah, N.J./Mahwah) at 157 pounds and sophomore Aidan McNally (Scranton, Pa./Scranton) at 184 pounds, who are slotted 10th in their respective weight classes. On the year, Shaffer posted a 21-17 mark and last season placed seventh at 157 pounds at the NCAA Mideast Regionals, while McNally went 33-8 overall, winning 13 of his last 14 matches entering this weekend's event.
Several other wrestlers will also be competing on the weekend for Scranton, including freshman Shane Reynolds (Collegeville, Pa./Spring-Ford) at 133 pounds, fellow freshman Dante Simeti (Pearl River, N.Y./Pearl River) at 149 pounds, and junior Kiel Pechko (Ridgewood, N.J./Ridgewood) at 197 pounds.
For full information on the 2020 NCAA Division III Mideast Wrestling Regionals in Ithaca, check out the Regional Portal provided by the Ithaca Athletics Department by clicking here: https://athletics.ithaca.edu/sports/2019/12/20/2018-ncaa-wrestling-mideast-regional-portal.aspx