By Michael Mack
March has begun and, as always, that means one thing: it’s tournament time. But March Madness isn’t just for basketball. The Rider wrestling team will travel to Binghamton, N.Y. this weekend to compete in the CAA Championship Tournament.
With 23 spots open for CAA wrestlers in the NCAA championship, the Broncs will be looking to send as many people to nationals as they can.
Sophomore Chuck Zeisloft, who wrestles at 125-pounds, is among the hopefuls for the NCAA tournament.
“I work hard,” Zeisloft said. “Now I just have to wrestle and believe I can win it.”
Zeisloft holds a 22-11 record this season with one pin. He finished third in the Keystone Classic back in November, and is currently ranked third among CAA wrestlers in his weight class.
Unfortunately for Zeisloft, there is one thing working against him: the NCAA only allows one spot for the 125-pound weight class of the CAA. In order for him to reach the NCAAs, he will have to win his division.
Another hopeful this season is junior Jim Resnick, who wrestles at 174 pounds. The NCAA takes two wrestlers in this weight class from the CAA.
Resnick holds a 17-3 record with three pins and key victories in the Binghamton Open and the Keystone Classic. Resnick is currently atop the rankings of the CAA’s 174-pound weight class and holds a national ranking of 13, according to themat.com.
Jimmy Kirchner, the lone senior on the team, will also look to parlay his performance in the tournament into an NCAA Tournament bid. Kirchner is 16-11 with two pins this season and is currently ranked third in the CAA at 141 pounds.
Other hopefuls include junior Zac Cibula, sophomore Ramon Santiago and freshmen Jimmy Morris and Clint Morrison. All four wrestlers are ranked in the top four of their respective weight classes.
Aside from the individual goals of the tournament, the team will look to take home its first-ever CAA championship.
“I think our team has a lot of potential,” Zeisloft said. “We just have to go out and wrestle confident and believe in what we do. We work hard; we just have to trust it.”
Rider is currently third in the CAA with a record of 4-2 and 10-9 overall. The Broncs trail Hofstra and Binghamton.
“This young team has had a pretty good season overall,” Head Coach Gary Taylor said. “They have had a winning season and beat Old Dominion, who is ranked 24th in the nation at this time.”
The Broncs that manage to earn a bid to the NCAA Championship tournaments will travel to St. Louis, Mo. on Thursday, March 15 to take on the country’s best college wrestlers.