Wrestling closed the book on 2016 at the 54th annual Midlands Championships hosted by Northwestern, where several individuals proved their mettle against a stiff field of competition on Thursday and Friday.
The Midlands featured 71 top 20-ranked competitors, 38 of whom rank among the top 10 in their respective weight classes according to InterMat. Columbia currently touts no top-20 wrestlers.
Though most of the Light Blue’s wrestlers were knocked out of contention before the end of Thursday and no individuals left with a championship, heavyweight junior Garrett Ryan and 165-pound junior Tyrel White separated themselves from the rest of the Lions by making the second day of competition. Still, they fell short of the championship match in their respective brackets.
Ryan, who also made it to the second day at the Midlands in his first year, found himself in the same position after winning three matches and dropping one on Thursday. The heavyweight junior opened with a 9-0 rout but dropped his second round match 3-1 against North Carolina State’s Michael Boykin to fall from the championship bracket. But the Scottsdale, Arizona native wasn’t finished, as he rolled over Harvard foe Nicholas Gajdzik 7-1 and his next opponent 3-1 to set up a Friday consolation match against Northwestern’s Conan Jennings.
Ryan ultimately dropped his first Friday contest 10-2, eliminating him from competition—an outcome that White also found himself with.
Unlike Ryan, White made it to the quarterfinals of his weight class’ championship bracket—he edged out a win in his first three matches, all decided by just one point. The highlight of that run was a second round 3-2 victory over No. 7-seeded Joseph Gunther of powerhouse wrestling school Iowa.
But White’s hot streak was cut short by an even more decorated wrestler: Rider’s Chad Walsh, who is ranked ninth in the nation by InterMat. The tournament’s No. 2 seed upended White 13-7, sending the Columbia wrestler to the consolation bracket, where he lost to North Dakota's Andrew Fogarty.
Like White and Ryan, Light Blue junior 141-pounder Jacob Macalooly claimed three matches but did not make it to competition on Friday. Macalooly lost his first contest by a pin but bounced back in the consolation bracket by defeating Columbia sophomore Will Kui 7-5. The junior wrestler won two more, including one against Wisconsin’s No. 13 ranked Cole Martin by medical forfeit but was ultimately pinned and knocked out of contention.
Juniors Tyler Ponte and Dan Reed, as well as senior Austin Coniker and first-year Alec Kelly each picked up a win for the Lions at Midlands. Senior Johnson Mai, who sat out last season after suffering an injury, lost both of his matches on Thursday.
With Ivy dual season set to begin in less than four weeks, the team will take to the mats once again on Saturday for a dual meet at Buffalo. Action is set for 1 p.m.