By Logan VanDine
The Rider Wrestling team split two matches this past weekend against Bloomsburg and Bucknell as they try to crawl back into the win column.
In a season filled with injuries, postponements and tough losses, Rider Wrestling team won a hard-fought physical match against Bloomsburg on Jan. 29 as it started its two-match weekend with a 25-9 victory.
Sophomore Tyler Klinsky opened the match giving his team an early 4-0 win in the first bout as he defeated Bloomsburg junior Bronson Garber 10-1.
The Broncs continued their dominance over the Roongos as they took the first three bouts and were up 10-0 to begin the match.
Head Coach John Hangey talked about beating a quality team like Bloomsburg.
“It puts us on the right path, we’ve been struggling this year with injuries and inconsistencies on training and cancellations,” Hangey said. “It’s a young group, so this was very important and you’ve noticed that there are not a lot of normal starters so the younger kids that we put in, stepped up and that’s huge for the program.”
Junior Michael Wilson secured one of the biggest momentum swings of the match getting the victory against Bloomsburg’s Gavin Hale with a swift takedown with 13.3 seconds left to take the bout 10-7.
“That’s what we preach in the room, from start to finish no matter what happens what the score is you fight just like that and good things happen most of the time,” said Hangey on Wilson’s win.
Wilson said, “We train our condition really hard to be where it needs to be to win those matches in the last period, I have my coaches and they’re telling me the whole time to keep pushing and break the other kid and to keep wrestling tough.”
The win was very important to the Broncs after a canceled match and two tough losses to Cleveland State and Edinboro.
“I know Bloomsburg is a tough team, they made the trip out here through the snowstorm so they definitely came to wrestle. I respect them coming out here, I just know we had to bring the fight as a team and they came into our gym so we had to really defend our house,” Wilson said.
In a much closer match, the Broncs could not close out a second match as they fell to Bucknell 16-15 on Jan. 30.
The match started with Bucknell taking the first bout by a score of 10-1. Rider followed with a win of its own with sophomore Shane Reitsma taking down freshman Nolan Springer winning the bout 4-0.
The match stayed tight going down the stretch with the Broncs having a slim 15-14 lead heading into the final bout of the day.
The Broncs, unfortunately, could not hang on as Bucknell’s Nick Delp stormed back in the final period, taking down Alec Bobchin by a slim score of 5-4 to end the day’s match.
Despite the loss, Hangey thought his team competed hard.
“I felt the kids gave me a genuine effort today, I feel like they came together more as a team because they were fighting for each other more than just going out there and trying to be on an island all by themselves and when you start to do that, that’s when you start to grow as a team,” Hangey said.
Hangey offered his take on the final bout between Delp and Bobchin, what he thought he saw and what he thinks his junior wrestler could have done differently.
“I told Alec, this is something that we’ve all done in wrestling, me included, my assistants and every wrestler that’s ever wrestled,” he said. “When you’re winning a match and there’s a short time left and you change your mentality from wrestling to win to wrestling not to lose, that’s when you usually get yourself into trouble. I’ve done it, he did it today, he was clearly, in my opinion, the better wrestler but the biggest thing Alec did today was he wrestled a hundred times better than he did yesterday, he was more the Alec we know and expect.”
The Broncs will now have to prepare for their next matchup when they head to Piscataway to take on Rutgers on Feb. 3.