By Mike Ricchione
It didn’t take long for senior Dean Sherry to find his rhythm after recovering from a knee injury during a 1-1 weekend for the wrestling team.
Sherry, who had been sidelined since Jan. 1 when he injury defaulted out of the Southern Scuffle, returned to the mat on Feb. 2 and lost a 6-2 decision to Max Wohlabaugh of Clarion.
This weekend saw Sherry, the Broncs’ lone returning NCAA Qualifier and Eastern Wrestling League (EWL) Champion at 174, get back to form.
Sherry was locked in a shootout against No. 22 Lock Haven as he went against Jared Siegrist.
Sherry exploded for an 8-1 advantage early in the first period. Siegrist escaped a second time and recorded two takedowns of his own to end the period, 9-6.
In the second period, Sherry doubled his lead to six with a takedown, four near-fall points and a penalty point.
Siegrist scored three takedowns in the third but Sherry’s two escapes in the period were enough to prevent him from erasing the deficit.
Sherry made quick work of Bloomsburg’s Gavin Hale as he pinned him at the 2:29 mark.
“After this weekend with the two duels, my knee is feeling a lot better compared to the Clarion match,” Sherry said. “I still have to work on some minor adjustments, like my conditioning, but I’m feeling like myself again after this weekend.”
The Broncs traveled to Lock Haven on Feb. 8.
The Bald Eagles jumped out to an 11-0 advantage with decisions from Luke Werner, DJ Fehlman and a tech fall by Division I’s tech fall leader, Kyle Schoop, who was ranked No. 20 by Intermat, at 125, 133 and 141, respectively.
Junior Evan Fidelibus put Rider on the board with a 6-4 decision over Brock Port at 149.
The Broncs didn’t get much help after Fidelibus’ victory as only Sherry and sophomore Ethan Laird gained decisions. Laird won, 7-2, over Parker McClellan at 197.
Junior Jesse Dellavecchia, ranked No. 13 nationally by theopenmat.com, was involved in a ranked showdown against Lock Haven’s Chance Marsteller, who ranked No. 5, at 165.
Marsteller recorded two takedowns to jump to a 4-1 advantage in the first period.
The second period was quiet as a Marsteller escape to begin the period was the only score.
Marsteller took an 11-5 advantage to win this showdown as Rider suffered its first EWL loss in 2019.
“This is a wake-up call for our guys,” Head Coach John Hangey said after the Lock Haven dual. “Whether they won or lost tonight, each one of them has to improve before the conference tournament in March.”
Bloomsburg was a different story.
The Huskies and Broncs traded decisions to begin when junior Jonathan Tropea won over Willy Girard at 125.
Junior Anthony Cefolo, who entered the weekend with a seven-match win streak, lost both matches at Lock Haven and Bloomsburg, suffering decisions at the hands of Fehlman and Bloomsburg’s Shawn Orem.
Sophomore Travis Layton and Fidelibus picked up wins after the Huskies suffered back-to-back injuries when Aaron Coleman and Grant Bond forfeited at 141 and 149.
From there, the Broncs never looked back and got a major decision by Dellavecchia, a pin by Sherry and an overtime thriller by Laird.
The first overtime period went scoreless, then Laird, who chose bottom, scored a reversal to put him up 3-1.
Murphy chose neutral to try and erase the two points he gave up, but his comeback attempt failed and Rider defeated Bloomsburg, 28-15.
“We let a few other matches get away by not finishing them,” said Hangey after the win against Bloomsburg. “We will get back to work and continue to prepare for Minnesota, Maryland and the [conference championship.]”
The Broncs have finished their EWL schedule at 5-1 and will finish the regular season schedule with two Big Ten opponents. They will travel to Minnesota on Feb. 21 at 7 p.m. before a home contest against Maryland on Feb. 24 at 1 p.m.