By Tom Albano
The wrestling team is gearing up for matchups tonight against Shippensburg and Lock Haven in Pennsylvania, as well as the Keystone Tournament Sunday at the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn).
The team comes into this weekend after a successful weekend at the Binghamton Open. The Broncs finished with two fifth-place spots, one fourth-place spot and one third-place spot. The Broncs also had a finalist and the eventual champion, 165-pound redshirt junior Ramon Santiago, who won his final match 6-5 to win the tournament.
“I feel Ramon had a very good tournament and can get much better,” Head Coach Gary Taylor said. “By winning the first tournament, he helped his own confidence and he brought positive recognition to Rider and his wrestling team.”
Other Broncs with strong performances at Binghamton included 174-pound junior James Brundage, who finished in second place after losing 4-3. He feels that if he didn’t make as many errors he could have been more successful on the mat.
“I made a few mistakes in the finals and that is what cost me the match,” Brundage said. “I was winning until the last 20 seconds. I had a good first tournament and mistakes like that happen. I have to learn from them, look forward to my next match and focus on accomplishing my goals for the season.”
In the semifinals, Brundage managed to defeat Marshall Peppelman of Cornell, who was ranked 20th in the country and defeated Brundage last season in the same tournament.
“It felt great to avenge a loss,” Brundage said. “I try not to look at the rankings and wrestle everyone the same no matter who they are or what they’re ranked.”
In the tournament, 184-pound sophomore Clint Morrison earned a third-place finish while 157-pound senior Zac Cibula got a fourth-place finish. The Broncs also had two sophomores, 197-pound Donald McNeil and 133-pound Jimmy Morris, place fifth.
“Our team wrestled very well, I thought,” Taylor said. “We had some good performances from young and veteran wrestlers.”
Now, the Broncs are looking ahead to this weekend’s meet with Shippensburg and Lock Haven, as well as the UPenn Tournament. Taylor foresees this weekend’s meetings to be tough ones.
“The Keystone Tournament will host 15 colleges,” Taylor said. “Big10 schools coming in are Northwestern and Indiana along with North Carolina State from the ACC. We plan to heal a little and train hard in preparation for two tough events.”