WILKES-BARRE, PA-The York College wrestling team had two
wrestlers earn individual championships at Sunday’s
Metropolitan Wrestling Conference championships hosted by Wilkes
University in Wilkes-Barre, PA. The Spartans finished fourth as a
team, accumulating 67.5 points for the championship. The College of
New Jersey won the team championship with 90.5 points. New York
University finished second with 82 points while the host Colonels
edged the Spartans for third with 71.5 points. Junior Kyle
Flickinger (New Oxford, Pa./Bermudian Springs) won the
125-pound title while senior Luke Panizzi (Eatontown,
N.J./Monmouth Regional) captured the heavyweight
Flickinger began his day with a bye to the quarterfinals, as he was the top seed at 125 pounds. He earned his way to the semifinal round with a 17-0 tech fall over Kings’ Richard Dorsey. He then edged Wilkes Shaun Farnham 3-2 in the semifinals, earning his way to the championship bout. He won the 125-pound title with a convincing 12-5 win over TCNJ’s Dan Hughes. The championship is Flickinger’s second straight Metro title, as he will return to the NCAA Tournament looking to improve on last year’s sixth-place All-American finish.
Panizzi finally captured a heavyweight championship in addition to an elusive NCAA Tournament berth. Panizzi, the top ranked heavyweight in the draw, began the day with a pin fall victory over Neil Slocum from Scranton. Panizzi put Slocum on his back in just 2:08. The Spartan senior then earned his way to the championship bout with a 6-1 victory over Elizabethtown’s Timothy Katzaman. Panizzi picked up his second pin fall victory of the day, as he needed just 1:21 to put Wilkes’ Andrew Feldman to the mat and earn his first Metro Conference championship.
In addition to their two champions, York had a pair of seconds, and two fourth place finishers.
Sophomore Ryan Catton (Blairstown, N.J./North Warren) captured second at 141 pounds as he fell to top seeded Stephen Hult from NYU, 5-2. Catton advanced to the championship thanks to a 4-2 win over Brandon Prentice from Wilkes in the quarterfinals and an 11-5 victory over John Stillo from Centenary in the semifinals. Catton was selected as a third alternate to the national tournament by the conference’s coaches.
At 157 pounds, Spartan John Niedrich (Freehold, N.J./Christian Brothers Academy) advanced to the championship match where he fell to Takafumi Hashimoto 7-3. Niedrich, who was the second seed at 157, began his day with a 5-2 win over Centenary’s Mike Torsiello in the quarterfinals. He then earned his ticket to the finals with a 10-2 win over Kings’ Taylor Green. Niedrich was selected as a coaches wild card and will accompany Flickinger and Panizzi to the national championship tournament.
Sophomore Chris Elliot (Crofton, Md./South River) finished fourth at 184 pounds for the green and white. Elliot began his day with a tech fall over Scranton’s Luke Genovese before he fell to top seeded Nick Coleman from NYU, 10-3. Elliot battled his way back in the consolation bracket as he defeated Ben Ostner 8-3 and followed that with a 9-6 win over TCNJ’s Al Wonesh, the second seed in the weight class. Elliot then fell to Kings’ Zach Wilkinson in the third place match.
Sophomore Hank Conklin (Milford, Pa./Delaware Valley) earned the Spartans’ final top four finish, as he was fourth at 197 pounds. Conklin, who was seeded fourth, was upset in the second round as he fell to Elizabethtown’s Deron Sharp 8-7. Conklin then fought back to defeat Centenary’s Kaleb Wisner 12-5. He then advanced to the third place match as he defeated Kings’ Zach Martinez 11-6. Conklin then fell to Sharp a second time, this time 8-6 in sudden victory.
Flickinger and Panizzi will now begin preparations for the NCAA Division III National Championship tournament at U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on March 7-8.