Led by the return of 174-pound New England champion Kyle Roosa '13 (photo upper right) and NEWA runner-up Jefferson Ajayi '13 (photo lower left) at 184 pounds, Wesleyan has gained the attention of the regional and national pollsters as the Cardinals are ranked #1 in New England (Nov. 7) and #28 nationally (Oct. 28) heading into the 2011-12 season. The Cardinals return eight starters from a year ago as the team is coming off a banner 16-3-1 campaign. Featured among the team's accomplishments in 2010-11 were a NEWA Duals title, an 11-match win streak, two substamtial victories over Little Three rival Williams (28-7 and 30-10) and a third-place finish in the NEWA Championships with seven placewinnwers.
Back as starters from 2010-11 are 133-pounder Maika Nagata '13 (15-5 duals), 141-pounder Nick Scotto '13 (7-4 duals), 149-pounder and team tri-captain Howard Tobochnik '13 (photo middle left, 15-5 duals, 5th at NEWAs). 157-pounder Troy Sampson '14 (11-6 duals, 6th at NEWAs), 165-pounder and team tri-captain Tom Oddo '12 (photo upper left, 11-7 duals), Roosa (16-4 duals), Ajayi (15-4 duals) and 197-pounder and team tri-captain Luke Erickson '12 (photo middle right, 11-6 duals, 5th at NEWAs). The Cardinals also return four individuals - Greg Faxon '14 (141), Alex Cannon '14 (149), Jake Barack '14 (147) and Jake Sheffer '14 (hwt) - who placed among the top three in their respective weight class with at least eight entries in the NEWA Futures Tournament. The Cardinals also welcome a bumper crop of newcomers to solidify the ranks and give the Cardinals talent for years to come.
The squad competed in a preseason tournament at Roger Williams Sat., Nov. 12 as exhibition activity before beginning the regular season Sat., Nov 19 in the annual Doug Parker Invitational at Springfield. Wesleyan inaugurates the dual-match season Sat., Dec. 10 vs. Rhode Island College in a match slated for a webcast.
At the Doug Parker, Wesleyan finished fifth of 15 squads with 67 team points. Leading the way were Ajayi and Roosa as each reached the finals with Roosa dropping an 11-6 title decision at 174 pounds to Ryan Dormann of Stevens Tech in a battle of nationally ranked athletes as Dormann is fifth and Roosa seventh in the latest rankings. Three other Cardinals reached the consolation semi-finals with Nagata (133), Tobochnik (149) and Erickson (197) turning the trick. The next outing for the squad comes up Sat., Dec. 3 when the Cardinals venture to RIT for its annual Invitational.