The Rider wrestling team is off to a hot start as the Broncs clinched a win and a fourth-place finish at the Keystone Classic.
On Nov. 21, the Broncs defeated Lock Haven by a score of 27-16.
“Any time you can beat a Lock Haven team you have to feel good about it,” Head Coach Gary Taylor told Rider Sports Information.
Freshman Filiberto Colon grabbed the momentum for the Broncs early with a pin a little over a minute into his 125-pound match. The Broncs went on to take a 12-0 lead before claiming victory.
Senior Jason Lapham won his match for a perfect 6-0 on the season and gave the Broncs an 18-4 lead. Junior Ed Bordas sealed the win for the Broncs with a pin four minutes into his match.
Rider has wrestled Lock Haven 17 times, but this marks only the third win for the Broncs over the Eagles.
On Nov. 23, the Broncs competed in the Keystone Classic at the nation’s 22nd-ranked University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. The tournament also featured two other nationally ranked teams with No. 17, Pittsburgh and No. 21, American.
Lapham shined again, winning his first three matches before losing a close 5-2 match in the finals of the 165-pound tournament to the top-seeded Zack Shanaman of UPenn. Lapham entered the tournament as the third seed and exceeded expectations, finishing second. With three wins for the day, Lapham improved his record to 9-1.
However, Lapham was not the only Bronc who made a victorious run in the tournament. Junior Michael Kessler was also a runner-up in the 157-pound tournament. Kessler lost a very close decision to the No. 1 seed in the tournament. Even after the loss in the finals, Kessler went 3-1 for the day, improving his overall record to 8-2.
Bordas won four matches in the heavyweight tournament while dropping two on his way to a third-place finish. Colon broke even by winning two and losing two matches, giving him a fifth-place finish in the 125-pound tournament. Sophomores Fred Rodgers and Nick Weaver and freshman Tyler Smith all finished fifth in their respective tournaments, while sophomore Matt Bradley and freshman Aaron Nestor placed sixth in their tournaments.
Rider finished fourth out of the 10 teams that competed in the tournament, with a score of 90.5. The classic was won by host UPenn with a score of 138.5.
“Our goal is to get used to tournaments and the grind of a long day,” Taylor said to Rider Sports Information. “We wrestle these types of events to not only face nationally-ranked competition but to also make us mentally tougher. These types of tournaments are what the end of the season Colonial Athletic Association tournament is going to be like and the more we experience the atmosphere and that level of competition, the stronger we will be individually and as a team.”
With a win and a fourth-place finish under their belts, the Broncs look to continue a successful season.
The Broncs head to the Nittany Lion Open on Dec. 7.