DUBUQUE, Iowa (March 3, 2007) – Senior Mike Gaeta of Springfield College capped off a spectacular career by finishing fifth at the NCAA Division III National Wrestling Championships today at Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa. As a team, Springfield finished in a tie for 28th (of 50 teams) with 12.5 points.
It is the fourth time that Gaeta, a 141-pound senior from Manalapan, N.J., has earned All-American status. Previously, Gaeta had finished fifth on two other occasions (as a junior in 2006 and as a freshman in 2004). He also placed seventh as a sophomore in 2005.
Gaeta was one of three wrestlers from Springfield College to compete in the nationals. Also competing were 157-pound senior Mark DeCiccio (Cranston, R.I.), and 184-pound junior Elliot Smith (Richville, N.Y.).
DeCiccio lost to #1-seeded Jeremy Anderson of Augsburg, 9-3, in the first-round. That sent Mark immediately to the wrestle-backs, where he received a bye. But DeCiccio then lost to Ryan Herwig of Delaware Valley, 15-10, thus eliminating DeCiccio and ending his excellent career.
Smith, seeded #5 overall, had a little more success, although he too lost in the first round to Gabe Youel of North Central, 6-5. In the first-round of the wrestle-backs, Smith then defeated Daron Cruickshank of Olivet, 9-6. But Elliot then lost to Nicholas Calandrino of Ithaca, 12-4.
Gaeta began his All-American journey by receiving a first-round bye. He then defeated Austin Bautista of Wisconsin-Whitewater, 4-0, followed by a win over #5-seeded Jared Creason of Coe (destined to finish third), in a pin at 6:42. That guaranteed Mike All-American status. Mike then lost to #1-seeded Quincy Osborn of Augsburg, 15-3, sending Mike to the wrestle-backs. Zach Chambers of Wisconsin-Platteville then defeated Gaeta, 11-5. But Mike then ended his career by defeating Michael Bonora of Rhode Island College, 6-5, for a fifth-place finish.