Wrestling Ready for 2017 EIWA Championships at Bucknell

Wrestling Ready for 2017 EIWA Championships at Bucknell

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Brown University wrestling will compete in the 113th EIWA Championships at Bucknell University's Sojka Pavilion from Friday, March 3 to Saturday, March 4 as the Bears look to advance wrestlers from this weekend's conference tournament into the NCAA Championships.

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Tournament Info: EIWA Championships Central
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The Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association has earned 43 automatic qualifiers to the NCAA Championship, the most of any conference in the nation besides the Big Ten, which holds 77 NCAA allocations.

EIWA Allocations (43 Total)
125: 2 | 133: 4 | 141: 5 | 149: 3 | 157: 4 | 165: 4 | 174: 6 | 184: 7 | 197: 4 | 285:

Sophomore Jon Viruet (Springfield, Mass.) and junior Andrew LaBrie (Exeter, R.I.) each won via major decision to fuel Brown to a 23-12 victory over Hofstra University in an EIWA dual meet at the Mack Physical Education Center on Saturday, Feb. 18. In their regular season finale, the Bears won five of the match's final six bouts to come back from an early 9-6 deficit against the host Pride. With their 8-7 record, the Bears finished above .500 for the first time since going 12-6 in dual competition during the 2001-02 season. 

Brown carries six wrestlers in its probable lineup that have previously competed at the EIWA Championships. Senior Steven Galiardo (Chicago, Ill.) has taken part in three straight tournaments at 149 lbs. and will make his debut at 157 lbs. He placed fifth in 2016 and eighth in 2015 at 149 lbs. Junior Zeke Salvo (Baltimore, Md.) has represented the Bears at EIWAs at each of the last two championships at 133 lbs. and will compete at 141 lbs. for the first time at the tournament.

Four other Bears – juniors Michael Russo (Jersey City, N.J.), Andrew LaBrie (Exeter, R.I.), and Josh Durso-Finley (Lawrenceville, N.J.) and sophomore Jon Viruet (Springfield, Mass.) – represented Brown at the 2016 EIWA Championships.

In its history, Brown has tallied 13 individual Eastern champions with Dave Foxen '12 taking home the Bears' last individual title at 174 lbs. in 2012.

In addition to Brown, the EIWA comprises 15 other institutions including American, Army West Point, Binghamton, Bucknell, Columbia, Cornell, Drexel, Franklin & Marshall, Harvard, Hofstra, Lehigh, Navy, Penn, Princeton, and Sacred Heart.

Cornell, Lehigh, and Princeton all feature in Intermat's team tournament rankings – at No. 8, No. 9, and No. 21 respectively. As a conference, the group boasts 52 wrestlers ranked in the Feb. 23 coaches' rankings and 53 ranked wrestlers in the Feb. 23 RPI. 

EIWA Wrestlers in Feb. 23 Coaches' Rankings (52 Total)
125: 3 | 133: 4 | 141: 6 | 149: 4 | 157: 4 | 165: 4 | 174: 6 | 184: 10 | 197: 7 | 285:

EIWA Wrestlers in Feb. 23 RPI (53 Total)
125: 1 | 133: 4 | 141: 7 | 149: 3 | 157: 6 | 165: 5 | 174: 7 | 184: 8 | 197: 6 | 285:

Brown features two wrestlers in the Feb. 23 RPI with sophomore Jon Viruet (Springfield, Mass.) ranking at No. 23 at 165 lbs., and sophomore CJ LaFragola (Little Egg Harbor, N.J.) checking in at No. 25 at 184 lbs. LaFragola stands at No. 28 in the Feb. 23 Coaches' Rankings. 

Sophomore Jon Viruet (Springfield, Mass.) has enjoyed an outstanding second-year campaign for the Bears, leading the team in wins (26), major decisions (seven), dual wins (11), dual EIWA wins (nine), dual points (47), and dual major decisions (four). Viruet has won each of his last five bouts and in 10 of his last 11 matches. 

Sophomore CJ LaFragola (Little Egg Harbor, N.J.) has taken a major step forward in his second season, tying for first in dual wins (11) and ranking second for the Bears in wins (23), dual EIWA wins (nine), and dual points (35). LaFragola has won his last six bouts and 11 of his last 13 matches. 

Junior Zeke Salvo (Baltimore, Md.) has led Brown in pins for the second straight season, totaling nine falls thus far in the 2016-17 season. He has added 16 wins, five dual wins, and 27 dual points. His fastest fall this year came in 0:48. 

Seniors Steven Galiardo (Chicago, Ill.) and Richard Muniz (Corona, Calif.), junior Michael Russo (Jersey City, N.J.), and sophomore Jon Viruet (Springfield, Mass.) have led Brown as captains throughout the 2016-17 season. Galiardo and Muniz both act as second-year captains. 

After missing much of the season, senior Steven Galiardo (Chicago, Ill.) made his return to competition in January. Excluding medical forfeits, he has posted an 8-1 record since making his return and has won his last five dual bouts. 

Freshmen Trey Keeley (Washington, Ill.) and Jimmy Pawelski (Park Ridge, Ill.) have represented Brown well as first-year competitors at 125 and 133 lbs. respectively. Keeley has totaled 14 wins, five dual wins, and 17 dual points while Pawelski has posted 17 wins, six dual wins, 28 dual points, two technical falls, and two pins. 

After competing at EIWAs, Brown will look to send representatives to the NCAA Championships from Thursday, Mar. 16 to Saturday, Mar. 18 at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo. The NCAA will announce the tournament's full field on Tuesday, Mar. 7 and unveil the brackets with a selection show on Wednesday, Mar. 8 at 6:00 p.m. 

125: Trey Keeley (14-16, 4-5 EIWA Dual) or Michael Russo (13-12, 1-0 EIWA Dual)
133: Jimmy Pawelski (17-13, 5-4 EIWA Dual)
141: Zeke Salvo (16-19, 2-8 EIWA Dual)
149: Travis Vasquez (9-11, 3-7 EIWA Dual)
157: Steven Galiardo (8-3, 4-0 EIWA Dual)
165: Jon Viruet (26-12, 9-1 EIWA Dual)
174: Andrew LaBrie (9-10, 4-5 EIWA Dual)
184: CJ LaFragola (23-11, 8-2 EIWA Dual)
197: Tucker Ziegler (16-18, 1-6 EIWA Dual) or Josh Durso-Finley (7-10, 2-1 EIWA Dual)
285: Ian Butterbrodt (18-11, 5-5 EIWA Dual)