Hofstra Wrestling finished sixth with 79.5 points at the New York State Wrestling Championships on the backs of freshman Vinny Vespa and sophomore Ryan Burkert at Cornell University on Sunday.
Vespa placed second and scored 17 team points at the 133-pound championship “A” division and Burkert finished third at 149 pounds – earning 16.50 points for the Pride. Hofstra’s Jacob Martin, Sage Heller, Connor Muli, Jake Kaminsky and Michael Oxley were also place-winners in their respective brackets.
The road to the 133-pound title match saw Vespa secure three wins by decision and two majors. The Monroe, New York, native was eventually defeated by fall at the 6:57 mark in the first-place match by Niagara Community College’s Freddy Eckles.
After receiving a first-round bye, Burkert was quickly subdued by fall in the quarterfinal match by Long Island University-Post’s T.J. Fabian. The sophomore’s mettle was tested in the consolation rounds, where he posted two wins by fall and one by decision. After a string of impressive victories, Burkert found himself contending in the third-place match against an old rival. Here, the 5 foot 8 inches, 141-pounder recorded an 11-3 major over Fabian – a true comeback story.
Martin finished the tournament at 3-2. He recorded wins by decision, major decision and, ultimately, by injury default in the fifth-place match at 125 pounds. He shared fifth-place honors with Heller who won by technical fall, a decision and a fifth-place match forfeit at 174 pounds.
In the Open “B” division, Hofstra senior Michael Hughes won his second 285-pound title in two weeks. He posted a 5-0 record, earning 27.50 points for the Pride.
Red-shirt junior Kyle Krasavage, sophomore Omar Haddad and red-shirt freshman Connor Burkert would default out of the tournament due to injury. Krasavage went 1-1 in the 141-pound bracket, while Haddad and Burkert both posted 0-1 records in their respective weight classes before their departure from action.
Hofstra is set to begin their dual match schedule Nov. 27, when they face off against Cornell at 10:30 a.m. and George Mason University at 12:30 p.m. in the Grapple at the Garden at Madison Square Garden.