By Logan VanDine
Rider wrestling’s subpar season continued after it lost four in a row with the last three coming against Rutgers, Lock Haven and Princeton.
Following a loss to Bucknell, the Broncs searched for a win as they traveled to Piscataway, New Jersey, to take on Rutgers at Jersey Mike’s Arena.
Rider was overmatched by the No. 15 team in the country as it fell 36-3 on Feb. 3 to begin the first of a three-match weekend. The Broncs struggled from the beginning as the Scarlet Knights took the first six bouts of the night and were in a 20-0 hole.
The match ended with freshman David Szuba getting pinned by Rutgers redshirt sophomore Boone McDermott to close out a lopsided victory for the Scarlet Knights.
“I liked their fight, they came and they gave me everything they had,” Head Coach John Hangey said of his team’s effort. “They need to develop better discipline in their positioning on their feet, they need to defend their leg attacks from the other team a little bit better and we need to pull the trigger more and that’s something Rutgers did better than us tonight.”
The lone Broncs victory was from sophomore Shane Reitsma, who was in a toe-to-toe bout with freshman Connor O’Neill and won 5-4 right at the end of the third period.
“I thought Shane did exactly what he needed to do and wrestled for seven minutes, he found a way to win, even though I tried to challenge and maybe almost blew it for him but he fixed it and figured it out on his own,” Hangey said of the sophomore wrestler.
Reitsma also gave his thoughts on his team’s performance and how he was able to win his team’s only match victory.
“It was very exciting for me,” said Reitsma. “Overall I was just really excited for this match because that’s the same kid [ O’Neill] that beat me in the state finals in my senior year so I kinda took it personal and tried to stay zoned in throughout the whole week and focusing on little things for that match.”
Rider fell to Lock Haven 21-10 on Feb. 6 at Alumni Gym.
After losing their first bout, the Broncs took the next three and were up 10-4 and looking good early on in the match.
Lock Haven’s Ben Barton then took the next bout against Rider junior Alec Bobchin and the Bald Eagles never looked back, winning the next five bouts scoring 11 unanswered points.
“Not the way we expected, we need people to step up, I know we don’t have some of the experience that we need to be relying on but when you get the opportunity, you got to step up and perform for your team,” Hangey said.
Perhaps one of the bright spots of the match was redshirt junior Richie Koehler winning a contested bout against Lock Haven’s Gable Strickland, 3-2.
“I’m used to winning close matches, if you’re blowing kids out 14-2, 15-3 that’s good and all but when it comes to marching you got to get that gut check and you wanna win those close matches,” Koehler said.
The Broncs had to turn right around and play their second straight match of the day against Princeton but they were again overmatched as the Tigers dominated the Broncs 32-7.
The match began with Princeton’s Patrick Glory cruising through Rider sophomore Tyler Klinsky 15-3 but Rider responded with a bout victory of their own as Koehler won his second bout of the day, 5-3 against Brandon Spellman.
“Richie Koehler had a good day in that match and he found a way to win on a bad call in my opinion and Quinn Kinner looked good and Cole wrestled well in a loss,” Hangey said of his team’s efforts.
The Broncs again faltered down the stretch losing their final six bouts of the night and again losing in lopsided fashion.
“We need a reality check and we need a culture change, we’re a program that’s been built on winning. I can remember three years ago we went to Minnesota and beat the number five team in the nation,” Koehler said on his team’s recent skid. “We’re losing to teams that we should not be losing to, granted we have some injuries, we have some holes but kids gotta step up and we got to win the matches we were favored to win in.”
The Broncs will be back at home on Feb. 11 when they face Clarion at 7 p.m.