The Crimson grapplers marched onto the mats at the Coast Guard wrestling tournament over the weekend, and returned sporting a respectable fifth-place finish among the 18 teams competing. The tourney featured Eastern colleges from Divisions I and III, highlighted by the entrance of the top four wrestling schools in Division III.
While placing behind Trenton State, John Carroll College, Columbia and UMass, the Crimson performance was highlighted by the individual championship of sophomore heavyweight Jim Phills. He had to tangle with some monstrous grapplers over the weekend to come home with the crown, because the weight class has no upper limit.
Not only did Phills have to best the only wrestler who has beaten him this year (in the Trenton Open), he had to defeat him twice in the double-elimination competition. The tough matches came against Mountclair State College's Division III champion, Ed Sopolsio, a 5-ft. 10-in., 295-lb. "fire hydrant," a strong wrestler who far outweighed the 222-lb. Phills. Phills dominated Sopolsio with strong, aggressive wrestling, emphasizing his fluid takedown style, by scores of 14-5 and 8-4.
In a match that was actually less competitive, Phills scored a 16-4 decision over a 6-ft. 9-in., 395-lb. giant, who was dazzled by the quick takedowns of the Crimson competitor.
Coach Johnny Lee also received fine performances from sophomores Fritz Campell, Sean Healey and Andy McNerney.