By Michael Mack
The Rider wrestling team is ready to kick off its season Tuesday in West Point, N.Y., when the Broncs take on Army. The Broncs will look to improve on last year’s season, which was mediocre compared to the previous success of the squad. Though several members of the team had some individual accomplishments, the team as a whole did not perform to standards. The team finished with a 9-11 record in dual meets and finished fifth out of seven teams in the Colonial Athletic Association championships.
However, this year’s team is confident that its fortune will change. With two of the three qualifiers for last year’s national tournament returning, this will be a veteran team that will be ready for anything that comes its way. As a result, many members of this team have set some lofty goals.
“I want to win a conference championship as a team,” said junior Jim Resnick, who competes in the 174-pound weight division. “We have the talent to do it. We just have to put it all together as a team.”
Resnick is one of the two returning qualifiers from last year’s national tournament. He finished with a record of 20-9 at 165 lbs. last season. He also finished first in the Keystone Classic and tacked on a third place finish at the CAA championships. Resnick has also won two matches at the national tournament.
“My personal goal for this season is to finish as an All-American,” Resnick said.
That may not be a farfetched goal. Resnick is ranked in the top 20 of his weight class by three different college wrestling outlets. WIN Magazine places Resnick ninth in the 174 lb. weight class.
Redshirt junior Zac Cibula, the other returning qualifier from last year’s tournament, is also ranked in the top 20 in his respective weight class. The 149 pounder was 28-12 last season. He also won the CAA championship and finished third in the Keystone Classic. He was also awarded the Colonial Athletic Association Most Outstanding Wrestler award.
“My goal is to win conference and be an All-American,” Cibula said. “Our team’s main goal is to win the conference. We have several guys on the team who have potential to have great years. If everybody does their part, our team could be very solid this year.”
Other key returnees include redshirt sophomore Ramon Santiago and seniors Aaron Nestor and Jimmy Kirchner. The Broncs have also added 10 new freshmen to help the team.
Kirchner went 20-14 last season at 133 lbs. while leading all returning wrestlers in pins last season with five. He also collected a third-place finish in the Keystone Classic and Binghamton Open.
Like Resnick, Kirchner is very confident that the team will find success this year, stating that the team’s goals are “to win the conference and be in the top 20 in the country.”
Kirchner will also look for more individual success this season.
“[I hope] to win the conference and become an All-American,” he said.
If he can do so, it will be in a new weight class, as Kirchner will be moving up to 141 lbs. this year.