The UConn Wrestling Club finished third in a field of 12 at the Builder Invitational hosted by the Apprentice School in Virginia Beach, Virginia on Sunday, Jan. 21. The field included the 10th, 11th and 24th-ranked club teams in the country, as well as several Division III teams.
UConn co-captain George Andrews was the tournament champion and did so by defeating the No. 5 and No. 9 ranked club wrestlers in the country. Alan Mashkovich was the tournament runner-up, with Stevan Webb and Anthony Alvarez sharing third. Anthony Tripodi rounded out the top five.
“The performance definitely builds momentum for us. We went in with a goal of placing top three and we achieved that,” Andrews said.
Andrews stressed the club’s goal-oriented attitude going into the end of the season.
“We hope to build on this performance. If we continue to perform well, we believe we have a solid chance at winning the Division II club national championship, which was a goal of ours coming into the year,” Andrews said.
As the season comes to an end, Andrews mentioned a few areas that the team can afford to improve on going forward.
“We have a couple holes in our lineup right now. We do not fill the 125, 133, and 285 pound weight classes. If we find a way to fill these holes with wrestlers who can score points for us, it will help us tremendously. Additionally, with more time to prepare throughout the semester, we will be focusing on conditioning to get into better shape which will undoubtedly help us in the postseason.”
With the top three finish in the Builder’s Invitational, the immediate future of UConn wrestling is bright. Andrews says the team’s ascension upward can be attributed to their new head coach Chris Warran.
“(Warran) has helped bring structure to both the administrative and wrestling sides of the team. Thanks to Chris, we are hoping to continue to grow the team as a name on campus and a national competitor,” Andrews said.
Looking forward to next season, Andrews said that the team is likely going to apply for Division I status, hopefully after winning the Division II championship. Going from a club team to Division I would certainly be a big step.
A strong performance against quality opponents certainly bodes well for the team, especially with the state championships and the postseason just around the corner. The team will look to carry momentum into the Connecticut State Championships on Feb. 17, with the postseason beginning exactly a week after in the Northeast Regionals.
Sean Janos is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.