STCC wrestlers look back at championship season
Standing, from left: Women's Head Coach Tim Crudden, Assistant Coach Josh Fontanez, Richardo Magny of Hyde Park, Mass., Jolan Matori of Springfield, Ryan Williams of Jacksonville, N.C., Xzander Chapman of Springfield, Stephano Magny, of Hyde Park, Mass., Johnny Andre of East Windsor, N.J., Dominic Ledoux of Agawam, Men's Head Coach Alberto Nieves.
Kneeling, from left, Katlin Wells of Rushville, N.Y., Dakota Dubois of West Springfield, David Ortiz of Naples, Fla, Marcos Mercado of Northampton, Dylan Beddow of Agawam, Tim Roberts of East Hartford, Conn., Khalif Sharif of Springfield, and Chris Vega of Holyoke.
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The wrestling programs at Springfield Technical Community College ended their season with two champions who captured first place after competing in the National Collegiate Wrestling Association’s national championships.
Competing in Allen, Texas, Marcos Mercado, of Northampton, became the first national champion for the men’s team. During the NCWA national championships, Katlin Wells, of Rushville, N.Y., won her second title for the STCC women’s team. Wells was the only female wrestler from STCC to compete in the Nationals.
Overall, the men’s team captured third-place in Nationals. Their accomplishment represents the highest national finish in STCC’s wrestling history. The team reached the milestone victory in Texas after a successful 14-4 season.
Alberto Nieves, men’s wrestling head coach, said he was proud of the team’s accomplishments throughout the year.
“I was given the opportunity to start the first ever wrestling program at STCC in 1999. I took the STCC acronym and came up with this saying: Serious Training Creates Champions. I have stressed this saying every year to our student athletes. It applies both in the classroom and on the mats.”
My wrestling career has been filled with many close calls, and after getting third in the nation in 2017 and second in 2019, I decided to seal the deal and win a national title.Marcos Mercado of Northampton STCC student-athlete
Mercado, who captured first place in the national tournament, thanked Coach Nieves for helping him reach his potential. He was undefeated throughout the season against NCWA opponents.
“My wrestling career has been filled with many close calls, and after getting third in the nation in 2017 and second in 2019, I decided to seal the deal and win a national title,” Mercado said. “I did this through hard work and trying to never miss a practice.
“I am immensely proud to not only be the first national champion in STCC history but also give my amazing coach Alberto Nieves his first national champion,” Mercado added. “Coach Nieves has worked with me, encouraging, supporting and helping me to believe that I can achieve what I set my mind to. I want to thank all who believed in me and helped fill my head with encouragement, and don't forget to believe in yourself.”
Wells, the first place winner from the STCC women’s team, said she was thrilled to be a two-time national champion.
“It felt absolutely amazing to win my second national title for STCC,” she said. “It really made me realize how far I have come and opened my eyes to see how much farther I can go.”
In the lead up to the Nationals, the men captured third place at NCWA Team National Dual Championships held at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., on Jan. 25-26. The team finished that championship tournament with five wins and two losses.
The team on Feb. 29 won the Northeast Conference championship – held at STCC – for the fourth consecutive year.
STCC had seven conference finalists, four champions and 14 national qualifiers. Place winners include:
- Chris Vega of Holyoke, 1stplace, 125 pounds
- Dylan Beddow of Agawam, 2ndplace, 125 pounds
- David Ortiz of Naples, Fla., 1stplace, 133 pounds
- Tim Roberts of East Hartford, Conn., 5thplace, 133 pounds
- Marcos Mercado of Northampton, 1stplace, 141 pounds
- Xzander Chapman of Springfield, 3rdplace, 149 pounds
- Jolan Matori of Springfield, 2ndplace, 157 pounds
- Khalif Sharif of Springfield, 4thplace, 157 pounds
- Ryan Williams, of Springfield, 8thplace, 165 pounds
- Ricardo Magny of Brookline, 2ndplace, 174 pounds
- Stephano Magny of Brookline, 2ndplace, 184 pounds
- Johnny Andre of East Windsor, N.J., 3rdplace, 197 pounds
- Dominic Ledoux of Agawam, 3rdplace, 235 pounds
- Dakota Dubois of West Springfield, 3rdplace, 285 pounds
In March, the student-athletes went on to the nationals in Texas, competing in the days before the coronavirus pandemic prompted cancellation of most collegiate sporting events. The men captured third place in Division 1 National Collegiate Wrestling Association (NCWA) tournament.
The Rams finished with seven student-athletes on the podium at the Nationals:
- Dakota Dubois, of West Springfield, 8th place, 285 pounds
- Dylan Beddow, of Agawam, 7th place, 125 pounds
- Dominic Ledoux, of Agawam, 6th place, 235 pounds
- Chris Vega, of Holyoke, 3rd place, 125 pounds
- David Ortiz, of Naples, Fla., 2nd place, 133 pounds
- Marcos Mercado, of Northampton, 1st place, Men’s National Champion, 141 pounds
- Katlin Wells, of Rushville, N.Y., 1st place, a two-time national champion, 101 pounds
About Springfield Technical Community College
Founded in 1967 and located on 35 acres of the Springfield Armory National Historic Site, STCC is a major resource for the economic vitality of Western Massachusetts. As the only technical community college in Massachusetts, STCC offers a variety of career programs unequalled in the state. STCC’s highly regarded transfer programs in business, advanced manufacturing, healthcare, liberal arts, and STEM fields continue to provide the most affordable options for students pursuing a four-year degree. With an annual enrollment of about 7,000 day, evening, weekend, and online students, STCC is a vibrant campus rich in diversity.
For more information about STCC, visit www.stcc.edu. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@S_T_C_C) and Instagram (@stccpics).
Jim Danko, (413) 755-4812, firstname.lastname@example.org