Wrestling Closes out Conference Tournament with Three NCAA Qualifiers

Binghamton, N.Y. – Drexel qualified three for the NCAA tournament with two second-place finishes, a third-place and a fourth-place finish at the CAA championships hosted this year by Binghamton. Junior Joe Booth finished third at 165 while sophomore Brandon Palik, 197, and senior Kyle Frey, heavy weight, both finished second. Austin Sommer, 157 pounds, finished 2-2 on the day to claim fourth place.

Drexel advanced six wrestlers through the first round as senior Alex Rinaldi, 174 pounds, junior Frank Cimato, 141 pounds, and Sommer all picked up wins. Cimato, the No. 2 seed, picked up a 10-4 decision over Vinny Fava of Rider before being narrowly edged 6-5 by Old Dominion's Justin LaValle. Shane Fenningham, 149 pounds, dropped his first match but picked up a win in the consolation bracket with a 7-4 decision over Kevin Timothy of George Mason.

Sommer picked up his team-leading sixth win by fall when he pinned Ramon Santiago of Rider at 4:30 in the second period. The third-seeded sophomore then dropped a match to John Nicholson of Old Dominion before advancing to the third-place match due to a medical forfeit. Sommer finished fourth after Santiago used a 10-5 decision to take third.

Booth went 3-1 on the day losing only a 3-1 decision to Tristan Warner of Old Dominion. The No. 1 seeded junior outscored his opponents 22-10 on his way to a third-place finish and his third straight NCAA qualification. Rinaldi went 1-2 on the day at 174 pounds upsetting the No. 4 seeded Caleb Wallace of Binghamton to advance in the championship bracket.

Palik, seeded third at 197, rattled off two straight beating Rider's Donald McNeil 3-1 and upsetting Boston's No. 2 seed John Hall 8-1. Palik faced the No. 1 seeded Bagna Tovuujav of George Mason in the championship match and fell 3-1 to take runner-up.

Frey, the No.1 seed at heavy weight, also picked up a second-place finish to seal one of four bids for the NCAA tournament. In three tightly contested matches Frey picked up two straight with a 3-2 decision over Matt Tourdot of Old Dominion and a 2-1 decision over No. 4 Paul Snyder of Hofstra. In the championship match Frey and Nick Gwiazdowski of Binghamton grappled to a 3-1 final in favor of the host Bearcat.

The NCAA Championships take place on March 15 through 17 held this year in St. Louis, Mo.

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