Lions’ All-Americans come through in 3-1 weekend

A great weekend for the College’s wrestling team was highlighted by sophomore David Icenhower Jr.’s win against the number one wrestler in the country in his weight class.

The Lions participated in the 2005 National Wrestling Coaches Association National Duals, held at Cleveland State University in Ohio.

Icenhower Jr. won a 6-4 decision over senior Clinton Manny of Simpson College, who was the top-ranked wrestler in the 149-pound weight class.

Head coach David Icenhower praised his son’s performance in the big win.

“That was a very unexpected win,” he said. “The previous two times they wrestled each other, David got pinned. He just wrestled a great match and pulled it out.”

In their first match of the weekend, the College defeated the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point by a score of 19-13. The Pointers had come into the match with a record of 7-3.

Junior Brian Dempsey started the match off strong with a tough win at the 125-pound weight class and then senior Carmine Sarno followed it up with another win. The College used that starting momentum to carry them through the rest of the match, which included a major decision win by senior Nick Vinciguerra at 197 pounds.

In their second match of the day on Friday, the Lions had to face the second-ranked team in the country, Wartburg College. The Lions were only able to win one individual match against the Knights when junior All-American Paul Vaccaro defeated Wartburg’s senior Nathan Specht 6-2. After the loss to Wartburg, the College was eliminated from the winners’ bracket but still wrestled in two consolation matches on Saturday against two very tough teams.

In their first match of the day, the Lions took on Simpson College and won 22-14. Racking up wins for the Lions were Dempsey, Icenhower Jr., sophomore Joe Galante, Vaccaro, Vinciguerra and junior heavyweight Keith Bjorhus.

Their final match on Saturday pitted them against Ithaca College, a team they lost to the week before. It was a very hard-fought match and with just two more bouts remaining, the Lions trailed 9-15. However, Vinciguerra and Bjorhus came up with two huge wins, a major decision and a pin respectively. The Lions won the match 19-15.

Head coach David Icenhower felt that the weekend was productive. “We’re wrestling a lot better as a team than we were earlier in the season,” he said. “The win over Ithaca was a great turnaround from last week. Everyone had a real good win at some point during the weekend.”

While everyone wrestled well, it is clear that the stars of the weekend were All-Americans Vaccaro and Icenhower Jr. Vaccaro was the only Lion to win all four of his matches over the four dual meets.

Icenhower was not the only one pleased with the way the team wrestled over the weekend. The wrestlers themselves were excited about their 3-1 record over the two-day span. Sophomore Tony Crespo is excited about how things look in the future for his team.

“I think we are coming along great,” Crespo said. “We had a rough beginning with a bunch of kids getting hurt, but we are back now and just getting all the kinks out.”

Freshman Jeff Harrington said he’s adjusting to the team very well. “It’s a big step up from high school,” Harrington said. “My workout partners are some of the best in the country with Joe Galante, Sean Flynn and Vaccaro.”

Next up for the Lions is a big intrastate rivalry match against Montclair State University on Thursday, which is also being dubbed the Sesquicentennial Match and Alumni night. On Sunday the Lions will have another home match against Springfield College.