By Jillian Shutt
The Rider University wrestling team was able to take down its last two opponents, Clarion University on Sunday and Drexel University on Wednesday.
The Broncs defeated Clarion in a close match with a final score of 22-18. It was a battle up to the end with the teams splitting the 10 bouts.
Rider (8-10, 2-2 CAA) was able to gain some additional points from pins by junior Aaron Nestor, at 141 pounds, and red-shirt freshman James Brundage, at 184 pounds. In the 133-pound weight class, junior Jimmy Kirchner also contributed some bonus points with his major decision win.
Rider freshman Chuck Zeisloft, at 125 pounds, and 174-pound senior Rob Morrison, also won decisions for the Broncs, allowing them to come out on top against Clarion.
“The entire team battled throughout the day,” said head coach Gary Taylor.
The Broncs have now won 11 of the 13 duals against the Golden Eagles.
Most of the Rider athletes were in attendance wearing their “Code Cranberry” shirts in support of the wrestling team which was triumphant against Drexel (7-15, 1-5 CAA) on Wednesday.
This match was a battle between the two winningest coaches among the active Division I wrestling coaches. Taylor (369) was able to capture another win over head coach Jack Childs (421).
Luckily, Rider was able to start out strong with five wins in a row, giving the Broncs a 17-0 lead. The heavier weights were pretty strong for Clarion, which took the 165, 184, 197 and heavyweight matches.
Freshman Ramon Santiago was able to contribute five points to the Broncs, a 20-12 victory with his win by tech fall. Santiago was named the Colonial Athletic Association Rookie of the Week for the last week of January.
Rider was able to win six out of the 10 bouts. Five of those wins were against wrestlers who were ranked in the top 10 of the conference.
The Broncs have two matches left before they host the CAA championships on March 4 and 5.
The next stop for the Rider wrestling team is a CAA dual meet Feb. 16 at Hofstra.