By Carlos Toro
The wrestling team is now on a four-meet win streak after beating three teams in a span of three days.
Rider (9-8, 4-2 EWL) defeated Bloomsburg on Jan. 29, and both Penn and George Mason on Jan. 31. The Broncs have dealt with injuries to many key wrestlers, but they became healthier over the winter and now have won five of their last six matches.
Head Coach Gary Taylor knows the team’s recent success owes much to the return of several wrestlers coming back from injuries.
“I think there are two things that contribute to our recent success,” Taylor said. “I think we’re wrestling better, and we’re also getting healthy and getting our full lineup.”
Against Bloomsburg (1-13, 0-4 EWL) on Jan. 29, Rider won 42-0. The Broncs got four major decisions in their favor, coming by impressive performances from redshirt sophomore Wayne Stinson winning 12-4 at 174 lbs, sophomore Michael Fagg-Daves winning his match at 184 lbs by a score of 14-5 and junior Ryan Wolfe, who won his bout at 197 lbs by a score of 15-2.
On Jan. 31, Rider not only had to compete against two different teams in the same day, but travel to two different cities as well. First, the team traveled to Pennsylvania to face off against Penn (3-3) at the Palestra in Philadelphia.
The Broncs won 22-12, thanks to wins from sophomore heavyweight Mauro Correnti, Wolfe, 165-pound senior Conor Brennan, 133-pound senior Robert Deutsch and 149-pound sophomore B.J. Clagon.
Clagon defeated C.J. Cobb, who was ranked No. 14 in the nation at 149 lbs., 3-1 in the closing match.
The Broncs then returned to Rider for an evening match against George Mason (6-9, 1-3 EWL).
Sophomore Chad Walsh gave Rider its first win in the opening match when he won by fall. at 157-pounds. The team was in control, having its first six wrestlers win and start with a 23-0 lead. Rider almost completed another shutout, losing one match, but winning in team points by a score of 32-3. Correnti, Brennan, Wolfe, Deutsch and Clagon all won their second match of that day to bring the team back to a winning record.
Brennan improved his season overall record to 21-2 and has won his three matches since coming back from injury. Brennan is also the defending EWL champion at 165 lbs.
Deutsch and Wolfe, both also defending EWL champions in their weight classes, remain perfect in EWL duals with Deutsch owning 5-0 record and Wolfe with a 4-0 record.
Correnti, who is riding a three-match win streak, started the season on a high note, but says that he hit a wall around December. He said he kept it simple and that it has yielded positive results, evident with his two wins on Jan. 31 that came in overtime.
“I went back to the basics with Coach Hangey,” Correnti, who is in his first year competing as a Bronc, said. “We kind of just went back and stopped focusing on moves and dedicated time on stances and hand placement.”
The team’s next meet will be on Feb. 6 against Drexel on the road. Rider then has its Senior Night on Feb. 11 against Hofstra at Alumni Gym. While the team has been competing well, Taylor knows that the team is not where it can be in terms of the level of wrestling, but he believes that it is improving every day.
“Even when people are back in the lineup, it takes a little while to get their timing,” Taylor said. “I think we’re starting to see that and we’re getting better.”