After a highly successful regular season and a fifth straight University Athletic Association title, the NYU wrestling team marched into Lexington, Virginia with high hopes. Led by a pair of runner-up performances, the Grapplers finished sixth in a field of 18 at the NCAA Division III East Regionals.
Juniors Nathan Pike and William Gockel-Figge headlined the weekend’s action. After finishing as a runner-up in regionals last year at 133 pounds, Pike returned to the big stage this year with a chip on his shoulder, determined to finish the job. He tore his way through the first two rounds, defeating Hunter College’s Jaydon Rice and Yoseph Borai from the Stevens Institute of Technology. In the semifinals, Pike defeated Connor Kirkegard from Delaware Valley University, putting him back in a familiar position — competing for a championship. But in the finals, Pike was defeated via 7-6 decision by McDaniel’s Ryan O’Boyle.
Gockel-Figge also marched to the championship round at 184 pounds. After first defeating Ursinus’ Cody Richmond, he outmatched Edward Merrill from King’s College 11-10 with a fall at 3:48. In the semis, Gockel-Figge scored a 4-3 decision over Washington and Lee’s Ron Tossini, sending him too to the final round. However with a spot in the Division III Championships locked up, he opted not to compete in order to preserve his physical condition, losing to Stevens’ AJ Kowal due to a forfeit. According to head coach Bruce Haberli, this was a calculated decision.
“[We] didn’t wrestle William in the last match because William already qualified at that point,” Haberli said. “That last match wasn’t necessary to wrestle.”
A number of other wrestlers also contributed to the Grapplers, who ended the weekend with total of 77.5 points. At 157 pounds, sophomore Raymond Jazikoff defeated Vic Del Monico of Stevens to claim third place in the division. Junior captain John Messinger was also finished with a third place performance, defeating Phil Woods from Stevens’ in the 174-pound consolation match in a 5-4 decision. Senior captain Dylan Lojac also competed during the weekend, finishing sixth in the 165-pound division.
All eyes will be on Cedar Rapids, Iowa beginning March 10, when four Grapplers will appear in the NCAA Division III Championships. Pike, Jazikoff, Gockel-Figge and Messinger will compete in their respective divisions and hope to be crowned champions.
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Feb. 29 print edition. Email Michael Thompson at [email protected]