Men's Sports Sports

Derek Longo, Joe Grippi Wrestling With Success in Early Going

Kevin Moss
Contributing Writer

Photo courtesy Springfield College Athletics
Photo courtesy Springfield College Athletics

Springfield College wrestling was back at it on Nov. 17 while hosting the Doug Parker Invitational. The invitation title was taken by Centenary College of New Jersey, and Springfield placed third. The team was led through the invitational by senior Joe Grippi, who finished first in his 141-lb weight class. It was a decision of 10-7 that would give him the win over Johns Hopkins’ Paul Marcello. Springfield also had three second-place finishers: Derek Longo (165), Michael Fish (174) and John Gabordi (285).

Springfield wrestling has most recently competed in the Petrofes Invitational at Messiah College in Pennsylvania. Springfield placed fifth in the overall standings behind Cortland (first), Mount Union (second), Messiah (third) and Wilkes (fourth).

The team saw strong performances from Longo, who finished third, along with Michael Case and Gabordi. The other members of the Pride who placed were Derek Adams with a fourth-place finish, Nick Camera and Tommy Casper took fifth, Brendan Morgan with sixth and Dylan Foley with seventh. The team won’t compete again until Jan. 5, where they’ll head up to compete against Rhode Island’s Roger Williams.

Longo, a second year team captain and senior, has competed in all three tournaments SC has had so far, and although he’s had good results, he’s not convinced it’s his best.

“Being a national champion has been the goal since I started wrestling,” said Longo.

The practices and the grind feels the same, but he’s determined to meet his expectations for himself as well as the team.

“The matches I’ve lost I felt as though they didn’t beat me, I beat myself,” Longo mentioned.

Fellow senior Joe Grippi, another dominant member of the Pride’s squad, has been battling staying healthy, but is impressed by his team’s efforts.

“Everyone is working hard and grinding. It’s a long season, and I think we have performed well, but the best has yet to come,” said Grippi.

Grippi has set his goals to the highest level after reaching All-American status last season.

“I expect to contend for a national title this year,” Grippi continued. “It’s my last go round, and I believe I have a good shot at standing on the top of that podium in March.”

Grippi continues to battle to get into the best physical shape possible for the end of the year. He’s looking to increase his conditioning and finish the season stronger than ever.

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