SCHENECTADY, N.Y. — Stanwood’s Mason Phillips placed third in a stacked five-man 138-pound freestyle field at the Journeymen World Classic, held Saturday at Memorial Field House on the campus of NCAA Division III Union College.
Phillips, who represented Akron, Ohio’s Top Notch Training at the event, posted a 2-1 record in three of his first four matches in the round-robin format before falling to Cornell commit Vitali Arujau of Syosset, New York, in the final bout.
Phillips has been training in Akron since the end of February at Top Notch, run by former Team USA wrestler Justin “Harry” Lester.
Three of the four wrestlers he battled in the round-robin were nationally ranked. He pinned one, lost to Arujau, who Phillips dubbed “a freak,” and controversially lost to a third.
“I technically won the match against the No. 8 kid in the country and the officials told me I won, but when they put it in the computer they had the other kid winning and raised his hand,” Phillips said. “We went asking them about it and they said they would get it changed, but the head ref came over and basically said he didn’t want to have to deal with it and I would just have to deal with the loss.”
The defeat all but took Phillips out of contention for the championship match, but he rebounded to dismantle Scott Cook of New London, Wisconsin in the third/fourth place bout.
“I probably should have finished second, but from the tournament as a whole there were some things I learned that I can work on,” he said. “The match against Vitali was certainly a lot closer than the score, and there were a couple of mistakes that I can fix.”
Up next, Phillips will be competing at the U.S. Open Western Junior Regional in Las Vegas this coming week in both freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling.
“It should be a bigger tournament, and there’ll be a couple kids in there who are nationally ranked, so it’ll be tough,” he said.
He’ll compete in Greco-Roman on Wednesday and freestyle on Thursday.