By Paige McAtee and Jillian Shutt
Last weekend, Rider’s wrestling team competed at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational and finished 15th as a team. Ed Bordas came in 5th and Tyler Smith came in 7th, in their respective weight classes.
On Friday, the Broncs competed in Primm, Nev. on the first day of the Invitational at the Star of the Desert Arena. Senior heavyweight Bordas and sophomore 197-pounder Smith qualified for day two of the tournament.
“I thought this tournament was a good performance for our student-athletes,” said Head Coach Gary Taylor.
Bordas won 11-1 against Steve Larson of Air Force in the first round. In the quarterfinals, Bordas lost 4-0 to the seventh seed, Tucker Lane of Nebraska, but then came back to defeat the ninth seed, Corey Morrison of Ohio State, 3-1.
On Saturday, Bordas defeated Kyle Frey of Drexel 6-0. Bordas, who is ranked 17th in the nation, then lost to the No. 4 heavyweight in the nation, Mitch Monterio of Cal State Bakersfield. He then won the match for 5th place by medical forfeit over Bill Nye of Arizona State, whom he had defeated 3-2 in the second round the day before.
Smith won five of his six matches on Friday, all by pin. Taylor was pleasantly surprised with Smith’s great performances over the two-day tournament.
“Tyler’s two losses were to Anthony Biondo of Michigan, ranked 17th in the nation, and Chad Hanke of Oregon, who was not ranked nationally,” said Taylor. “Tyler also beat Patrick Bond of Illinois, who was ranked 15th in the nation.”
After Smith’s loss to Biondo, he came back to pin Anthony Pike of Arizona State in 55 seconds. He pinned Jack Callander of Drexel in 1:19 and then pinned Bond of Illinois, the 17th ranked wrestler in the country for the 197 pound weight class, in 3:30.
On day two, Smith took a chance while leading 1-0, but was pinned by Hanke of Oregon State in the wrestle backs, despite defeating him the day before by a pin in 5:23. Smith also pinned Matt Powless of Indiana in 5:15 for seventh place overall in the tournament.
Smith received an award for the most pins in the tournament.
“Tyler had six pins at this national caliber tournament that had 42 teams throughout the nation represented,” Taylor said. “Twelve of the top 25 teams in the nation were there. This is quite an honor for Tyler.”
Senior Michael Kessler, who was seeded 11th in the 149 lb. weight class, had a rough weekend after being eliminated in the consolation round. He made the quarterfinals but was unable to progress from there.