Lions wrestle a victory from Violets

The College started off its wrestling season right as it began the dual meet section of its schedule by routing the Violets of New York University (NYU).

The eighth-ranked Lions claimed their first official victory of the season by roaring past the 30th-ranked Violets by a score of 30-6.

This meet was the second event this week in which the wrestling team faced a school from New York, but the result remained the same.

The Lions trailed the Violets early after suffering a loss in the 125-pound match.

After that, however, the Lions took over by winning seven of the final eight matches.

Leading the surge for the College in the victory was senior Ray Sarinelli, who put forth an astounding effort in his major decision win.

Sarinelli, who went 5-0 last weekend at the Ithaca College Invitational, won his match 14-5. Sarinelli is also ranked No. 8 nationally in his weight class (133 pounds).

Not to be outdone, junior Al Wonesh (165 pounds) recorded the second major decision in which he easily defeated NYU’s junior Pat Knight 11-1.

Wonesh credits the work ethic of the team as well as the coaching staff for his success.

“We push our opponents until they can’t go anymore and that’s when we excel, in the third period,” Wonesh said. “It also makes it a lot easier to be successful since we have excellent coaches showing us great technique in the practice room.”

“They really focus on eliminating our mistakes and making us the best wrestlers we can be,” he added.

Freshman John Barnett (141 pounds) recorded yet another major decision in his weight class by crushing NYU’s Mark Arpaia en route to a 12-4 win.

Freshman success was a theme of the evening, as freshman Justin Bonitatis (174 pounds) needed only 1:22 in order to claim his win.

Bonitatis was pleased with his first home performance for the Lions.

“Soon after the referee called the pin . I got an adrenaline rush followed by excitement,” he said. “It was really cool to get a quick pin my first home match.”

Senior Tyler Branham (149 pounds) pulled out a slim victory by a score of 3-2 over senior Steve Hult after the match went into overtime.

Subsequent decision wins recorded by sophomore Dan DiColo (7-2 at 157), senior Shawn Vanwingerden (4-3 at 197) and senior Steve Carbone (8-3 at heavyweight) put the meet out of reach for the Violets.

“I attribute our success this weekend to hard work,” Sarinelli said after the meet. “Plain and simple, everybody pushed themselves to the limit and it showed when we wrestled.”

“It’s a good feeling knowing the guys around you want to win as badly as you do,” he added.

Bonitatis said he thinks success is in the cards for the Lions this year because of the amount of work the team has been putting in.

“We are off to a very fast start and it really feels good for us,” Bonitatis said. “No one sees what we do in our wrestling room: the sweat, the blood and the tears.”

“We are pretty much isolated from the other sports teams,” he continued, “so having these good seasons really means a lot to us personally.”

The Lions’ next event is a dual meet on Wednesday, Nov. 14, at Packer Hall against the Hawks of Hunter College at 7 p.m.