Nationally-ranked Broncs begin conference stretch with win

By Mike Ricchione 

On the strength of five-consecutive victories from the 133 to 165-pound weight class, the nationally-ranked Rider wrestling team cemented its lead atop the Mid-American Conference (MAC) East Division over Edinboro, 20-12. 

“It’s kind of like bittersweet because I don’t feel as if we wrestled really well, but a win’s a win,” Head Coach John Hangey said. “I feel like we let them slow us down a little bit. We didn’t chain wrestle them enough. We didn’t put our combinations together and we let them in a position at the end of the match to steal matches too much but at the end of the day, we still found a way to win.”

Edinboro (9-5, 3-3 MAC) and No. 25 Rider (7-2, 3-1 MAC) traded decisions at 125 and 133 pounds respectively to start.

Redshirt senior Pete Lipari, the Broncs’ latest transfer from Rutgers, impressed in his Alumni Gym debut with a technical fall over Richie Gomez at the 141-pound weight class. 

“The kid brings energy.” Hangey said of Lipari, “I love the way the kid wrestles. He’s constantly going from one to the next to the next. That’s what I want the majority of the rest of my lineup to do because he is after [it], he’s excited, he wants to see things happen.” 

Redshirt senior Jesse Dellavecchia, ranked fifth by WrestleStat, won via decision 1-0 at 157 pounds. 

Down by one headed into the third period, Peter Pappas surprisingly chose neutral. However, Dellavecchia was not shocked that he did so.

“Not really,” Dellavecchia said of being shocked that Pappas’ choice to start the third period. “I’ve been wrestling with him since I was a kid. We’ve been traveling all over the country together. We’ve been in the same wrestling clubs. He knew I was good on top and kinda knew what I did a little bit so I wasn’t shocked.”

The Broncs won five-straight matches before Jacob Oliver won the rematch of the Eastern Wrestling League (EWL) title match between him and redshirt senior Dean Sherry at 174 pounds.

During the EWL Championship, Sherry won by pinfall at 4:18, on Friday, Oliver won via decision, 13-11.

Cody Mulligan recorded a late-period takedown of redshirt sophomore George Walton in the third frame to earn a 4-3 decision at 184 pounds. That pulled the Fighting Scots within eight with two bouts remaining. 

Graduate student Gino Fluri snapped his losing streak with a 3-2 decision over Tyler Vath at the 149-pound weight class.

“I needed that,” said Fluri.

Junior Ethan Laird’s 3-2 decision over Dylan Reynolds iced it before the heavyweight bout between redshirt senior Ryan Cloud and Jon Spaulding, which Spaulding won 5-1.

Laird came into the week ranked as high as eighth by FloWrestling.

Next up for the Broncs is the second match in a four-dual MAC stretch when they hit the road to face Old Dominion on Jan. 19 at 1 p.m.

Old Dominion won at home to Lock Haven, 28-7, on Jan. 17 and finished fifth at the Virginia Duals, where Rider won first place.

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