Wrestling lands in middle of pack in Md.

Placing seventh in a field of 14, Bruno saw a strong performance from Ophir Bernstein ’15

Sports Staff Writer
Monday, November 25, 2013

The wrestling team competed in the Navy Classic at the U.S. Naval Academy this Saturday. The event marked Brown’s second tournament under the direction of first-year Head Coach Todd Beckerman.

The Bears finished seventh overall in a field of 14 teams, which included the No. 26 University of Wisconsin Badgers. Their place in the tournament put the Bears ahead of Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association foe Bucknell but behind Ivy rival Princeton.

Riding off a strong season-opener at the East Stroudsburg University Open, highlighted by a first-place finish in the 125-pound class by Billy Watterson ’15, a former Herald contributing writer,  the Bears’ solid team showing at the Navy Classic rested on the shoulders of captain Ophir Bernstein ’15. Bernstein bulldozed his way through five challengers to claim victory in the 184-pound division — his first weight-class title in a college tournament.

Bernstein dominated his first four opponents, with his strongest performance coming in the third round, when he trounced Navy’s Stout Watson 12-2. The final bout against the University of Wisconsin’s Jackson Hein proved to be more of a struggle, but Bernstein ultimately triumphed 3-2.

Bernstein said he was “very happy” with his title but added that he still sees room for improvement.

“After a tournament, even if you get first place, there are still corrections to be made,” Bernstein said. “There’s no such thing as a perfect wrestler.”

Two other Bears, Anthony Finnochiaro ’16 and Justin Staudenmayer ’17, made notable contributions to the team’s score. Finnochiaro finished fourth in the 133-pound division, while Staudenmeyer took fifth at 157 pounds.

Applauding the underclassman performances, Bernstein said the future of Brown’s program looks bright. “Those two guys showed a lot of grit going out there, just grinding out matches against some really tough wrestlers,” Bernstein said. Finnochiaro and Staudenmayer, he added, “could definitely lead the way in upcoming years.”

Bruno will return to competition Dec. 6 at the Cliff Keen Invitational in Las Vegas, Nev. Bernstein said this tournament, which will feature top-notch opponents, should help the team prepare to reach its ultimate objectives.

“Our goal is to put 10 guys into the national finals in March,” Bernstein said. “Every tournament leading up to that is basically just practice.”

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