From NYU Athletics
Four members of the New York University competed on day one of the NCAA Division III Wrestling Championships on Friday, March 11, hosted by Cornell College at the U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids, IA. The second and final day of competition will be tomorrow, Saturday, March 12.
Nathan Pike, the second-seeded grappler at 133 pounds, won his first-round match with a pin at 2:21 over Michael Pleski of Saint John's University (MN). In the quarterfinals, the West Covina, CA, native picked up a 14-3 major decision over Ryan Flynn of York College (PA). Pike, who has secured a top-eight finish and his second-straight All-America honor, will face #3 Ryan O'Boyle of McDaniel College in tomorrow morning's semifinal match.
"Nathan is wrestling like he wants to win a national title," said NYU Senior Assistant Coach Corey Luce. "He has constantly been putting up points and attacking.
John Messinger, unseeded at 174 pounds, also picked up a victory in his first-round match. The junior captain defeated eighth-seeded Dan Ressler of Roger Williams University via a 5-4 decision. In the quarterfinals, he suffered a loss by fall to top-seeded Eric Devos of Wartburg College at 1:14. Messinger dropped his final match in an 18-5 major decision loss to Joshua Sibblies of Centenary College. The Putnam Valley, NY, native fell just one victory short of All-America accolades.
"John will use this as motivation moving forward and will set high goals for his final season next year," continued Luce.
William Gockel-Figge was also in action on Friday for NYU. The junior 184-pounder was seeded #7 in his respective bracket, but was defeated in the first round via a 12-4 major decision by Austin Cook of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. The Simi Valley, CA, native began his wrestleback bracket with a bout against second-seeded Christopher Chorzepa of Williams College and picked up the 12-10 decision. But, Gockel-Figge fell one victory short of All-America status when he fell to eighth-seeded Jeff Palmeri of SUNY Brockport in a 5-3 decision to close out his time at NCAA's.
"William has battled hard these last couple of weeks despite being injured," said Luce. "He never complained and he won't use it as an excuse. He will come back next season and vie for a national title."
Due to a random draw, Raymond Jazikoff (157 pounds) began his day with a preliminary bout against Nicholas Racanelli of Wilkes University. The NYU sophomore advanced to the first round with a 10-8 decision. There, the South Plainfield, NJ, native was matched up with top-seeded Robert Dierna of SUNY Cortland and was defeated by a 13-5 major decision. Jazikoff then faced eighth-seeded Larry Cannon of Messiah College in wrestleback bracket, but completed his time at NCAA's with a tough 8-5 decision loss.
"Ray is one of the hardest workers on the team and that's something you can't teach," Luce said.