By Mike Ricchione
Redshirt seniors Dean Sherry and Ryan Cloud got pinfall victories for the Rider wrestling team en route to clinching the Mid American Conference (MAC) East Division in a 25-13 win against the Clarion Golden Eagles on Feb. 16.
It was the last home dual for Rider (11-3, 7-1 MAC) and with the MAC Tournament being on the campus of Northern Illinois, that meant that Sherry and Cloud closed out their careers at Alumni Gym on pinfalls.
“It feels spectacular,” Cloud said. “I’ve been working really hard and it’s been a long five years so to end on a win in the right fashion, just closes it out the right way, [it] gives me good closure.”
In their first year in their new conference, the Broncs clinched their own division and was one dual back of clinching the whole conference, behind only Missouri.
“Obviously feels good,” Head Coach John Hangey said of clinching the division. “MAC conference is very,very competitive. It’s very gritty, it’s very talented, it’s about a lot of great qualities so we’re proud of that. It’s not where we want to be at the end, obviously we’re looking for bigger and better things so we have to improve on our performance today but it’s nice to be in our first year, inaugural year to claim the East title for sure. Sets the standard so to speak.
Clarion recorded bonus points quickly at 125 pounds when Jack Gromacki won via major decision, 15-4, against redshirt junior Jonathan Tropea.
The Golden Eagles ranked wrestlers, Brock Zacherl and Greg Bulsak, recorded decisions against Broncs graduate student Gino Fluri and junior Ethan Laird, respectively, at 149 and 197 pounds respectively.
Zacherl was ranked as high as 11th by InterMat while Bulsak and his opponent, Laird, both had their highest ranking at No. 10.
Redshirt sophomore George Walton said Christian Sequete pushed his buttons, as both men gave up points for unnecessary roughness while working Sequete for the major decision, 20-7, at 184 pounds.
“I don’t like to get like that during the match,” Walton said. “I just felt like the kid [Sequete] was trying to push my buttons so he did. It just made me react in a certain way that I don’t really want to react ever again.”
Redshirt seniors Pete Lipari and Jesse Dellavecchia, who are both hoping for an extra year of eligibility from the NCAA, pitched shutouts in their decisions over Brayden Palmer and Taylor Ortz at 141 and 157 pounds, respectively.
Redshirt freshman Richire Koehler started at 133 pounds and got the 6-2 decision over Seth Koleno in his dual season debut.
There’s only one more tune-up for the Broncs before the MAC Tournament when they travel to Maryland on Feb. 22.
Rider already faced Maryland this season. The Terrapins were the Broncs’ semifinal opponent at the Virginia Duals. Rider won 24-8.
The Maryland dual is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. on Feb. 22 and can be streamed on Big Ten Network Plus.