The Gettysburg College wrestling team will embark on the new campaign with a deep and talent-laden lineup capable of making big strides at the conference, regional, and national championships this season.
Gettysburg won 10 dual matches for the second consecutive season while finishing fourth at the Centennial Conference Championship and 11th at the NCAA Southeast Regional Championship last year. The Bullets return a total of seven conference place-winners and five regional place-winners to the roster this season.
Leading the charge is a veteran and successful senior class. All five have seen time in the starting lineup and four have placed at the regional meet.
“The seniors this year will help us have the best team we have had in a while,” noted head coach Andy Vogel, who is entering his 12th campaign at Gettysburg. “Colin Kowalski and Paul Triandafilou are both among the best in the country at their weights, while Dan Ebert and Noah Malamut are both regional place-winners looking to take the next step. It gives us a strong core that will keep us in every match and make us competitive in tournaments.”
Seniors Colin Kowalski and Paul Triandafilou have spent nearly a decade wrestling together going back to their prep school days. Kowalski is coming off an incredible campaign which saw him win 37 matches at 165 pounds and march his way to the NCAA Division III Championship for the first time.
An All-American as a freshman, Triandafilou won 30 matches and captured his second consecutive conference heavyweight championship last winter. Both Kowalski and Triandafilou won titles at the Messiah Petrofes Invitational with the heavyweight’s final victory coming over eventual national champion Jake Evans from Waynesburg University. An injury heading into the regional prevented Triandafilou from making it to the national stage for the third consecutive season.
“They are both aiming to be on the podium in March at the NCAA Championships,” said Vogel. “If they have the kind of season we are expecting, they will be right in the mix to be our next two All-Americans.”
Kowalski enters the season as the 10th-ranked wrestler at 165 pounds, while Triandafilou sits ninth at heavyweight in the preseason rankings.
Seniors Dan Ebert and Noah Malamut return to the team after missing the 2017-18 campaign. Ebert, who was the CC runner-up at 174 pounds and finished sixth at regionals as a sophomore, saw his season sidelined by injury. Malamut did not compete last season, but the two-time regional place-winner is ready to jump back on the mat at 133 pounds this year. Malamut narrowly missed a national bid with a fourth-place finish at the regional tournament in 2016.
Gettysburg’s remaining senior, Crawford Oswald, was the team’s starter at 174 pounds and won 19 matches as a first-year. Oswald has been limited because of injuries over the last two campaigns.
Behind the seniors is a strong group of experienced competitors. Junior Colin Devlin (Dresher, Pa./Upper Dublin) and sophomore Sean Thompson (Plainsboro, N.J./West Windsor-Plainsboro South) are both coming off strong campaigns. Devlin was slowed by an injury at the outset of his sophomore campaign, but he bounced back to win 23 matches and finish third at 149 pounds at the CC Championship.
Thompson was the top newcomer on the team a year ago, winning 29 matches and claiming the title at 141 pounds at the season-opening Messiah Invitational. He went on to place fourth at the conference meet.
Sophomore Mike Iodice produced a solid debut campaign while splitting time at 197 pounds. He won 13 matches and will take over the full-time role as a starter this season. Junior Austin Roskos is another returning starter who can fill roster spots from 165 to 184. Roskos won 18 matches last year and finished fourth at the league championship at 174 pounds.
While Gettysburg features a number of returning starters, there are plenty of capable returners and newcomers planning to challenge for lead roles. A number of early-season events, including one inside Bream Gym on Nov. 10, will give Coach Vogel and his staff plenty of opportunities to see all the Bullets compete for spots.
“The early season is about getting as many matches as possible for the whole team and getting ready for the most important parts of the season to come,” said Vogel. “There is nothing like competition to get a gauge for where the guys are and to help them improve over the course of a season.”
In January, the team hits the bulk of its dual schedule. Gettysburg has posted a winning record in duals in each of the last four seasons, marking the longest such streak since the squad managed six in a row from 1972-73 to 1977-78. The Bullets also went 5-2 in conference matches, marking its best record in league play in 18 years.
By March, the wrestling team will have spent five full months training and competing, putting their bodies through rigorous conditioning unique to its sport. If all goes as planned, the Bullets will be peaking at the right time and standing tall on podiums throughout the final weeks of the campaign.
“Wrestling has a long season, so the goal is to manage their workload effectively in order to get the best performance at the most important time,” said Vogel. “They will need to train hard when it is time to train hard, but also rest and recover so that they can be at their best in competition. If we can get our team to February with good health, energy, and attitude, they will be able to reach their goals.”
Gettysburg opens the season at the Messiah Invitational on Saturday at 10 a.m.