By Mike Ricchione
A clutch win at the 184-pound weight class secured the victory that snapped a two-match losing streak and improved its ranking to No. 21 for the wrestling team.
Rider had previously dropped two spots to No. 23 after losing the Eastern Wrestling League (EWL) dual meet finale at Clarion, 18-17, and then lost to Drexel on the road, 18-14.
“We had kind of a rough, bumpy weekend,” redshirt senior JR Wert said. “But it was good to come back home, be in our own gym and feel ourselves out a little bit.”
The meet began at 125 when Wert took on Jacob Martin.
Wert had a strong first period in which he scored the first points in the match via takedown.
From there, Wert received four back points en route to a 7-0 start.
He escaped yet again in the second and executed a takedown in the third to gain a 10-0 major decision for the Broncs.
“It felt good to start off the match with a win, and that’s what I hope to do, to get momentum going for everybody else,” Wert said.
At 133, junior Anthony Cefelo defeated Garrett Lambert by a 6-2 decision, which gave Rider a 7-0 team lead.
Senior Tyson Dippery wrestled a hard-fought match against Hofstra’s Vinny Vespa at 141.
Dippery fell behind early when he suffered a takedown which put Vespa up 2-0 at the end of the first period.
Dippery deferred his choice in the second period, and Vespa chose neutral to start.
The option to defer in the second would prove to be an effective strategy as Dippery chose up and would go on to receive two back points. He then warded off multiple escape attempts and won the match on the credit of riding time which made it a 3-2 decision in his favor.
At 149, sophomore Gary Dinmore wrestled Ryan Burkert. Burkert initially had a takedown in the first, but Head Coach John Hangey successfully challenged the call on the mat.
From there, Dinmore scored an escape and a takedown in the third to come away with a 3-2 decision to put Rider up 13-0.
Rider would suffer its first loss when senior All-American BJ Clagon lost a 10-8 decision to Chris Mauriello.
Clagon had an opportunity to send it into overtime with an escape, but that was quickly squandered when he went out of bounds and got hit with his second stalling call, which gave a two-point lead to Mauriello.
At 165, two-time All-American Chad Walsh earned a 17-4 tech fall victory at 6:54 over Ricky Stamm.
With the win, Walsh improved to 20-1 on the season.
Junior Dean Sherry suffered a pinfall loss to Sage Heller at 174 at the 3:34 minute mark.
Rider would clinch the victory when senior Wayne Stinson faced Anthony Oliveri.
During the first period, Oliveri was hit with a stalling warning and then proceeded to be taken down by Stinson. Oliveri managed an escape but was dropped again and gave four back points to Stinson making it 8-1, Stinson.
Oliveri chose bottom to start the second period and escaped, but was taken down.
The referee called another stalling on Oliveri, and Stinson was awarded a point. Oliveri would manage his third escape but ended the second period with a 11-3 deficit.
Stinson chose down in the third period, escaped for one point, and then a takedown for two. Oliveri escaped yet again but was dropped once more.
To add insult to injury, Stinson was awarded another point thanks to riding time to make it a 17-4 major decision. He clinched the win for Rider, up 22-9 with only two bouts left.
“I’m fighting for a spot in the lineup and giving everything I’ve got,” Stinson said.
It turned out that Rider needed all of those points after the Stinson major decision, because graduate student Mauro Correnti forfeited due to injury.
The final score was 22-21 in the Broncs’ favor as they picked up their 12th victory of the season.
“Every win is important,” Hangey said. “To get the losing streak turned back around and get a W for the guys is everything.”
On Feb. 16, Rider will host a Big Ten school for the first time since No. 1 Penn State came to Alumni Gym in 2015. The Broncs will wrestle Minnesota for their Senior Night.