MIT Wrestling wrapped a historic season with seven Engineers competing at the highest level of collegiate wrestling at the National Collegiate Wrestling Association (NCWA) Championships March 10-13, in Texas. The team returned to campus with three All-Americans, and one of the three, Sarah Sams, was crowned national champion.
Sams is MIT’s first national champion in women’s wrestling, taking all three of her matches over the weekend. “I’m grateful that, with the support of all my coaches, I’ve been fortunate enough to see the sport grow as other women discover they share my passion for wrestling,” Sams says. “And, I’m excited to be a part of MIT’s team as it continues to grow!”
Viveca Pannell also put together an All-American performance, going 4-1 on the weekend to finish third, and first-year wrestler Zoe Pasetsky took one match of three. Overall, the women’s team finished the tournament fourth out of 31 teams.
In the men’s division, Keith Skaggs went 5-2 to finish seventh and tally MIT’s third All-American performance for the weekend. The honor is Skaggs’ second All-American nod during his MIT career. Three more Engineers qualified for the men’s tournament: Sam Calvert went 2-2 on the weekend, upsetting the tournament's number-three seed, and Brendan O’Neill and Logan Madrigal-Silver represented MIT well in their hard-fought matches.
Earlier in March, the team finished the NCWA Northeast Conference Championships with five finalists, two championships, and a women’s division team title. First-year coach Donald McNeil also was named the Northeast Conference Women’s Coach of the Year.
McNeil expressed pride in the team for their great performances in March. “They have been working hard for the opportunity to become All-Americans, and their hard work paid off at the right time,” he says. “We have a young team, and I think there is no limit to what they can accomplish on the mat over the next two or three years.”