Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Citrus Invitational Recap & Review


In the Midst of three huge NCAA Division I tournaments (The Midlands, The Southern Scuffle & the Soldier Salute) a small NCAA Division III tournament is going to get lost in the shuffle. It's inevitable, there's no way around it.  It's a shame too, because the Citrus Invitational was a great D3 tournament, full of some great D3 wrestling. 

Gavin Bradley Wins Title at 125 lbs 

A runner-up at last year's Citrus Invitational, Gavin Bradley won a hard fought 5-2 match over Mac Cafurello of Roanoke to be crowned champion this tournament.  Cafurello himself won a very hard fought 9-8 decision over Riley Parker of Johns Hopkins in the semi-finals. Parker came back to place 3rd. 

A Title For the Young Spartan

Drew Marchese has been wrestling very well this season, picking up bronze medals at both the Ithaca Invitational as well as the Roger Williams Invite. Finally got over the hump this tournament to stand a top the podium to collect gold. 

Maroons Take A Title At 141 

Mark Samuel looked particularly sharp this tournament.  Avery Buonocore of UNC-Pembroke pulled off a very impressive 15-9 victory over last year's Citrus champ James Rodrigues of Castleton in the finals.  A mere twenty-five seconds into the second period, Samuel stuck Buonocore for the victory.  As Rodrigues came back to capture 3rd, it should be noted that Jake Dado of Ozarks had to injury default to 6th place. 

Eli Cyr Wins A Competitive 149 lbs Bracket

I tell you what, when it comes to thinking of tough wrestling, Vermont isn't usually a state that comes to mind, but I sure find myself writing about this particular NCAA Division III institution a lot. Great wrestlers from all over the upper East coast on the team, including Eli Cyr out of Connecticut.  The senior was 4th in last year's Citrus championships & took the title this year with a 10-3 win over Dante Monaco of Ursinus in the semis, pinning Freddy Pimental of Johns Hopkins at the 1:52 mark in the finals. 

Patrick McGraw Earns a Title for John Carroll

Patrick McGraw, another wrestler who was 4th at last year's Citrus Invite, wrestled exceptionally well this tournament.  Had a great finals victory over Keegan Roberson of UNC-Pembroke who recently took fourth at the prestigious Midwest Classic.  McGraw defeated the Brave by a 12-6 decision. 

Shawn Marchesano Wins Title at 165 lbs 

In probably the most competitive match of the finals, two tough seniors duked it out, as Shawn Marchesano of Ursinus edged Nick Roeger of Castleton 6-4.  

Another Title For the Maroons At 174 lbs

The Young Maroon was very dominant in his performance, scoring an 11-3 major decision over Anthony Cerulli of Ursinus in the finals. 17-6 on the season, he's recently been on a winning streak winning 11 matches in a row. 

Sampson Wilkins Title At 184 Makes a Total of Four In All For Castleton

With my comment earlier concerning Castleton, it begs the question if any of their top talent is actually from Vermont.  The answer is yes.  Vermont native Sampson Wilkins has been having himself a very good season thus far in '23-'24.  A Citrus Invitational Runner-up last season, he called himself champion this tournament. A Runner-up at the Ithaca Invite, he has also won titles at the Roger Williams Invite & the Ted Reese Invitational.  Currently stands at 19-1, with his only loss being to highly ranked Isaac Cory of Penn Tech. 

Treyten Steffen Wins 197 lbs Title for Cornell (IA)

4th at last year's Championships, Treyten Steffen would not be denied this season.  Picked up three impressive wins in route to the gold medal.  A 4-0 decision over Haven Tatarek of Castleton, he then defeated Lorenzo Pellott of Roanoke 7-6, before upending Darby McLaughlin of Castleton 10-4 in the finals.  Very impressive tournament for the Ram, as Pellott defeated Tatarek for 3rd 4-2. 

Winning A Title At HWT, RayShawn Dixon Becomes Citrus Invitational Only Repeat Champion From Last Season

Another outstanding performance from the Panther, as RayShawn Dixon picked up another Citrus Invitational with a well wrestled 4-0 decision over tough Ka'Ron Lewis of Ozarks. Dixon who was one match shy of D3 All American honors last season, is currently undefeated on the year. 

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