The College’s wrestling team has always been known for its success. However, this year s team managed to make itself stand out among the backdrop of championships by winning a school record of 21 dual matches in a season.
The Lions broke the record by posting three convincing wins this weekend. The most recent win occurred on Sunday, when they buried the University of Scranton Royals 44-6, in their last dual match of the season. The Lions’ overall dual match record is 21-3, while the Royals fall to 2-16 on the season.
“We actually didn t even know about the school record,” sophomore Brian Dempsey said. “We just went out there trying to win our last matches.”
On Saturday, the College traveled to the New York-New Jersey Duals at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Oswego, where they defeated the host Lakers 30-12 and SUNY Cortland 25-10.
Several nationally ranked wrestlers helped the Lions earn three wins over the weekend.
Senior Greg Ilaria picked up three wins to finish his season with a perfect 18-0 dual meet record. He picked up a pin at 1:27 against Royals’ freshman Kevin Byrne. On Saturday he beat Oswego freshman Chuck Guttilla 11-0 for a major decision win and then earned a 17-0 technical fall over Cortland sophomore Frank Sokolowski. Ilaria is currently ranked No. 2 in Division III at 157 pounds.
Junior Nick Vincigueara also helped the Lions by going 3-0 at 197 pounds. He elevated his seasons’ dual match record to 20-1 with a 20-6 major decision win over Scranton sophomore Trevor Needham.
At the New York-New Jersey Duals he defeated Oswego freshman Matt Gough and then had a technical win over Cortland freshman Matt Eldridge. Vincigueara is currently ranked seventh nationally.
Ranked third at 141 pounds, sophomore Pat Brady earned two wins on Saturday for the Lions. One was a 20-6 major decision win over Oswego freshman Clayton Walsh, and the other was a 7-3 victory over Cortland sophomore Jason Chase. Brady finished up the regular season with a record of 22-1.
At heavy weight, sophomore Keith Bjorus picked up two victories this weekend as well. He pinned Scranton junior Mike Kelly at 2:00 to seal the Lions defeat of the Royals. He went 1-1 the day before, pinning Oswego junior Jeremy Calkins at 3:27, but losing to Cortland senior Carlos Panfili.
Bjorus is ranked eighth in the most recent poll, has a team-high of 13 pins and ended the season with a record of 27-5.
Lions junior co-captain Sean Flynn is also ranked eighth in his weight class and picked up three wins this weekend. At 165 pounds, he recorded an 11-2 major decision win over Royals senior, Tim Grover, which opened up the College s team lead to 31 points after just six matches.
In a close match, Flynn prevailed with a 6-3 win over seventh ranked junior Frank Petrucci of Oswego. He then posted a 6-2 decision over Cortland junior Matt Slate. Flynn is 28-8 on the year.
After the finish of a successful regular season, the Lions will be competing at the Metropolitan Conference Championships on Sunday, Feb. 22, at the United States Merchant Marine Academy.
“We should have at least eight people going to nationals with hopefully six people winning conferences,” Dempsey said. “There are a few tough guys in the conference but we should be able to win them.”
The Met Championship is an NCAA qualifier which decides which wrestlers from the Metropolitan region will go on to compete at the 2004 NCAA Division III Championships at Loras College from March 5-6.
Last year, seven of the 15 wrestlers who went on to compete at nationals were from the College.