WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. - Interim Williams College head wrestling coach Scott Honecker will welcome back two Eph wrestlers who qualified for the 2012 NCAA Tournament: seniors Tom Foote (HVY) and Ces Antista (141). Antista went 1-2 at the 2012 NCAA Championship competition and Foote was unable to participate due to an injury sustained just prior to the tournament.
While this is Honecker's first year as the Ephs' head coach, it is his second year at Williams, having served as an assistant coach last winter.
The lone Eph lost to graduation was Nicola Mirkovic (197), who was a co-captain. Mirkovic was a four-year letterman for the Ephs in both football and wrestling and this winter he is serving as an assistant coach under Honecker.
Also joining Honecker's staff as an assistant coach this season is former Eph standout Carl Breitenstein '10. Breitenstein tallied an impressive 125 wins in the Purple Valley and according to Honecker, "ranks as one of the most accomplished wrestlers in Williams College history."
"I'm excited to bring back two former Eph grapplers," Honecker said about the make-up of his coaching staff, "I am very confident in the leadership Carl Breitenstein and Nikola Mirkovic will provide to our young men. I expect Breitenstein to pass his winning attitude on to our student athletes with his advanced technique, tactics and motivational ability. Mirkovic is everything you want in a leader and after captaining the team last season, I was absolutely thrilled when he agreed to return as our second assistant. With the talented upper weights corps, Mirkovic's experience as our former varsity 197 pounder will be invaluable to the program."
Senior Ces Antista won the New England 141 title last winter, while senior Tom Foote placed second in the heavyweight classification.
Antista will be out to earn a third straight New England title and secure an automatic trip to the NCAA Championship. Last season, Antista finished with an impressive 19-3 record.
"He has a tremendous work ethic," Coach Honecker said of Antista, "and he's currently ranked 5th in the country. If he's able to maintain the level of intensity that he has exhibited thus far, I think he can even out perform his ranking."
At the end of last season Tom Foote looked primed to make a name for himself as a New England champion, however, he ended up in second place in New England. Foote, did however, earn an At-Large bid to the NCAA Championships, but a few days before the tourney began Foote suffered an injury and was unable to participate.
"A motivated Tom Foote is a scary thing," Honecker said, "After missing the NCAAs with an injury after qualifying, his intensity level and motivation are through the roof. I expect to be in his corner for his third NCAA appearance this March."
Foote finished last season 25-2, with 9 pins.
Another senior who is expected to close out his career on a strong note is Kaison Tanabe who placed fifth at the NEWA Championships at 133.
"The class of 2013: Cesare Antista, Tom Foote, Mir Henglin, Scott Sanderson, and Kaison Tanabe have been a guiding force in this program throughout their college careers," Honecker stated.
"We're returning an incredibly talented group who are complemented by a tremendous group of freshman," Honecker said about his team's composition. "We could be starting as many as five freshman at times and they're going to have to use their considerable talents to make an immediate impact."
When asked about his expectations for the season, Honecker replied, "You can expect us to be competitive at every weight class and put a vastly higher quality product on the mat than last season. Every student athlete on the wrestling team is 100% focused on improving our dual meet record, our placement in the conference, and qualifying as many guys as possible for the NCAA championships in March."
The Ephs will open the 2012-13 season on November 17th when they participate in the Doug Parker Invitational at Springfield College.
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