By Mike Ricchione
It was the 157 and 165-pound weight classes that powered the wrestling team to a 20-18 win over the Penn Quakers in the dual meet opener at Alumni Gym on Nov. 29.
The Broncs were in control for most of the match. They were up by seven with four bouts to go.
That lead vanished after back-to-back pins at 141 and 149 respectively by Penn’s Grant Aronoff and Anthony Artalona, the Quaker’s top-ranked wrestler at No. 20 by Intermat, put them up 18-13.
Down by five, the Broncs needed to win their final two matches at 157 and 165 to win the meet.
This year’s starting lineup is without All-Americans BJ Clagon and Chad Walsh at those respective weights.
Walsh is writing the next chapter in his book by joining the Broncs’ coaching staff as a volunteer assistant alongside fellow All-American Ryan Wolfe.
“They’re great to come back in the room and share their knowledge with us,” said senior Gino Fluri of his former teammates. “We’re lucky to have them.”
Fluri started the match with a takedown over Joe Oliva. He allowed him to escape, but brought him down to make it 3-2 after one.
Fluri had a choice in the second and chose down. From there, he would immediately get up and take Oliva down again, 5-4 Fluri.
The third featured an escape by Oliva to tie it.
It went to overtime. The next takedown would win the match.
With 23 seconds left in the period, Oliva took his shot but was countered by a sprawl.
Fluri stuffed Oliva’s head, grabbed his left leg and tried to spin around.
Oliva stood up. Fluri grabbed that same leg with two hands, drove him to the mat and got behind him for the deciding takedown.
“I’m in great shape. Coaches put us through great workouts so I was confident in my wind to be able to push the match to overtime,” Fluri said. “So I knew to just go forward and wrestle.”
Junior Jesse Dellavecchia needed a win to secure the victory.
“When it was announced that I was the last match, I was super ecstatic,” Dellavecchia said. “I love being in that position. I love being able to have the opportunity to win the match for the team.”
After one, Dellavecchia jumped out to a 4-1 lead, driving Evan DeLuise to the mat, letting him up and doing it again.
The second period was all Dellavecchia. He escaped after starting from the down position and taking DeLuise down once more.
After three, Dellavecchia recorded another takedown and allowed DeLuise up.
Because of riding time, Dellavecchia was awarded another point to go from a decision to a major decision — a 10-2 victory.
Redshirt senior Michale Fagg-Daves’ eight takedowns lead him to a 16-7 beatdown of Ryan Farber at 184.
Senior Ryan Cloud won 5-3 over Ben Goldin at the 285 weight class.
At 133, junior Anthony Cefelo defeated Doug Zapf via decision, 6-4.
Senior Dean Sherry, who was ranked No. 25 by Trackwrestling.com before the competition, lost to Jake Hendricks 14-9 at 174.
The Broncs have won the last five meetings against the Quakers to even the all-time series.
One takeaway from the Broncs’ performance as a team was going to the escape whenever they got taken down or started in the down position to start a period.
“It’s something you’re taught early on as an athlete in wrestling. So, if I get taken down, your first mindset should be to get out,” Hangey said.
The Broncs will wait 17 days to get back on the mats as they travel to wrestle Rutgers on Dec. 16.