Undermanned wrestling team conquers five straight

With just a half-game lead in the MAAC, the Rider men’s basketball team went out to the Times Union Center in Loudonville, N.Y. last Saturday and showed on national television that it was the top dog with an impressive 89-75 win.By Charles Guthrie

The Rider wrestling team (6-9 overall, 3-2 CAA) came from behind and won four of its last five individual bouts, including the last three, to pull out a 19-14 win against Drexel (9-11 overall, 4-2 CAA) in Alumni Gym on Wednesday.

With the win, Rider extends its winning streak to five matches.

Junior Jason Lapham had the bout of the night, defeating junior Billy Hadyt in a 2-1 overtime thriller that was a crucial victory for the Broncs.

“That was the pivotal bout of the evening and it was important for both teams to win that one,” Head Coach Gary Taylor said. “Jason came through and battled against a very tough kid and did what he had to do. Jason’s been sick the past couple of weeks so he hasn’t been wrestling as well. He’s stayed right in there and helped this team.”

After Scott Hunter’s 28-12 tech fall win over senior Dan Silberman gave the Dragons a 14-8 lead in a 174-pound bout, nationally ranked No. 12 junior Doug Umbehauer and No. 12 senior TJ Morrison tallied back-to-back major decisions to give the Broncs a 16-14 lead.

Umbehauer beat freshman Justin Weiller 10-2 in a 184-pound bout and Morrison beat junior Brian Stouffer 20-6 in a 197-pound bout.

In the final match of the night, junior Eddie Bordas sealed the win with a 1-0 decision in the heavyweight bout against redshirt freshman Bryant Deinhardt.

“The three upper weights have come through in all three of these matches,” Taylor said. “We needed them to do that and they did. The last three matches have come down to the heavyweight and Eddie has been very consistent in getting the job done.”

In Rider’s other two wins of the night, sophomore Thomas Lorenzo won a 14-8 decision over John McDermott in a 133-pound bout, and in a 141-pound bout, sophomore Fred Rodgers beat Morgan Remillard 4-0.

For the Dragons, No. 11 Steve Mytych won in a major decision over freshman Ilyass Elmsaouri 15-1 in the 125-pound opening bout, and No. 10 Ryan Hluschak defeated sophomore Rob Morrison 7-3 in a 157-pound matchup.

This was Rider’s third straight home win, with the other two coming on Saturday in a doubleheader as it defeated Clarion 24-16 and Rutgers 19-13.

The Broncs were down 16-9 to Clarion, but rallied for 15 straight points with wins in the last three matches by Umbehauer, Morrison and Bordas.

Rider again came from behind in its final three matches in the second game of the twin-bill with 10 unanswered points.

“I think the last three matches have been a total team effort and I’m really proud of the guys for putting that together as a team,” Taylor said. “We haven’t been 100 percent for any match this year, but the guys have stepped up and made some adjustments and have tried to help each other.”

While the trio of upper weights has been strong in anchoring the team to wins, it’s been a collaborative effort by the undermanned Broncs that has helped them through the stretch.

“We have had some role-type people like Danny Silberman, who’s wrestling well out of his weight class, but he protects and doesn’t give them those extra points,” Taylor said. “He’s done a great job and we’ve moved [freshman] Dustin [Renelt] up two weight classes [against Drexel].”

The next match will be on at No. 22 Old Dominion at 5 p.m. on Sunday.

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