By Mike Ricchione
The wrestling team stampeded through Cleveland State, Drexel and Edinboro in succession over the course of three meets between Jan. 11 and Jan. 12.
Like sharks when they sense blood in the water, Rider took advantage of an energy-depleted Cleveland State squad, 33-5, in its Eastern Wrestling League (EWL) opener.
Cleveland State wrestled a doubleheader at George Mason Thursday, and lost both meets. In the first, it was defeated by Columbia, 34-12, before a 26-19 loss to George Mason in their EWL opener.
The second matchup on Jan. 11 was a little tighter, but not Rider was up to the task as it beat Drexel, 21-13 and crusised past Edinboro with a 25-11 victory on Jan. 12.
After the Southern Scuffle on Jan. 2, the status of seniors Dean Sherry and Michale Fagg-Daves were up in the air after they injury defaulted out of the tournament.
Fagg-Daves made it onto the weigh-in sheet Jan. 11 at 184, but Sherry did not.
Head Coach John Hangey said that Sherry will miss some time due to a knee injury.
Fagg-Daves was healthy enough to wrestle, but was kept out of the EWL opener given that the match was already in hand when it got to his bout.
“Mike is pretty much 100 percent,” Hangey said. “I just wanted to save him for tonight [Drexel]. Him and I had worked that out prior to if I needed him, I was gonna wrestle him. If I didn’t need him, I was gonna forfeit.”
Fagg-Daves got the call in the second match when he wrestled Anthony Walters of Drexel.
He was successful in his lone match on Jan. 11, when he won via a 4-2 decision.
“He’s still not 100 percent,” said Hangey. “You can see it in his actions. His knee is still a little bit sore, but I think he did his job.”
On Jan. 12, Fagg-Daves went the distance and then some when won 7-6 in a six-overtime contest.
When asked if he was satisfied with that performance, Hangey said, “100 percent.”
Freshman George Walton, who wrestled the spot usually occupied by Sherry at 174, experienced the adrenaline-rushing highs and the heartbreaking lows the sport offers, all in one day.
Walton’s day began with a pinfall at 2:04 over Colton Carroll of Cleveland State and ended with an exhausting, six-overtime loss to the Drexel’s Bryan McLaughlin.
Walton got teched by Jacob Oliver in EWL battle against Edinboro on Jan. 12.
“George has a lot of talent,” Hangey said. “George just has to finish a couple of those positions and he would’ve come out of the other end of that decision. George is a good kid, he works hard and he’s got a very bright future.”
Junior Jesse Dellavecchia, who was ranked No. 17 by TheOpenMat at 165, started with a pin over the Cleveland State’s John Vaughn at 3:40.
“I felt great,” Dellavecchia said after his pinfall victory. “This match is really important. I got another big one tonight. I want to get on and off the mat, so it was great to get that pin and get ready for the next one.”
Dellavecchia finished the weekend with an 8-4 decision over the Dragon’s Ebed Jarrell and a 6-4 win over Edinboro’s Fritz Hoehn at 165.
Senior Gino Fluri won two thrillers of decisions Jan. 11 at 157. One a tight, 3-2 victory over Cleveland State’s Nic O’Dor, the other, an overtime victory at Alumni Gym over Drexel’s Evan Barczak.
Against Penn’s Joe Oliva, it was the single leg that did the job, while the double leg was the weapon of choice for Fluri against Barczak.
“I work in an underhook position a lot and go to a double all the time in practice,” Fluri said. “I practice that a lot that move, so I’m very comfortable there.”
Fluri breathed a little easier on Jan. 12, with a 7-3 win over Edinboro’s Tim Suter.
Junior Anthony Cefelo won all three of his bouts at 133, the most exciting one, a pin against the Edinboro’s Richie Gomez.
“I haven’t had a pin in awhile, always feels good to pin someone.” Cefelo said.
Junior Jonathan Tropea and sophomore Travis Layton went swept their opponents with wins at 125 and 141, respectively.
“When I get a nice win, I like to slam kids, dominate and it gets the team fired up, so everyone performs well after I do good, so [I] set the tone,” Tropea said.
The duties at 149 were shared this weekend. Junior Evan Fidelibus started in the doubleheader on Jan. 11, and went 1-1, while junior Gary Dinmore went against Edinboro and recorded a takedown in the final second to win over Chris Matzke.
The last match of the homestand occurs Thursday when they host Big 12 opponent, Iowa State at 7 p.m. The match can be streamed on ESPN3.
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