The wrestling team started the semester with a strong 35-10 victory over Centenary College last Wednesday Jan. 20. Freshman Kenny Amponsa pinned his opponent, Centenary sophomore Nick Marchiafava in 46 seconds, the fastest pin at the meet. Graduate student Dan DiColo, and freshman Brian Broderick also pinned their opponents. Juniors Dan Hughes, Mike Denver, and Ed Broderick, as well as senior Robert Micheliche came away with victories over the Cyclones. Denver became the first Lion to reach 30 pins in one season.
“It feels good knowing that all of the hard work and time that I have put in is starting to pay off,” Denver said. “But even though I put in the time and effort, it is the people in the room that I wrestle with everyday that helps me to wrestle the way I do.”
The dual meet began as a close race. Centenary took an early lead when sophomore Jose Vega defeated Danny Franke in a 12-0 majority decision. But Hughes was able to edge out Cody Mooney 4-2 in overtime. Micheliche kept momentum going, but Jon Stillo evened out the score with a tight 3-2 victory over junior John Barnett. The meet continued to go back and forthas DiColo pinned Meagher and Matt Regan defeated junior David Kiley. But Brian Broderick’s pin in 6:50 gave the Lions enough momentum to take the last four weight classes and win the meet.
“I’m proud of my brother, even if I don’t tell him often,” Ed Broderick said. “He’s become a great asset to our team and I know he’ll accomplish what he wants as far as wrestling goes.”
Though the semester started on a high note, the rest of the season won’t be without its challenges. The number of injured starting wrestlers is steadily growing. Notable names on the list include grad student Tyler Branham as well as juniors Justin Bonitatis and Adam Koziol. While some of the Lions key players are inactive, they are still providing reinforcement for their teammates off the mat.
“Wrestling is a sport with a lot of variables that you can’t control. Injuries are expected; that’s the kind of sport it is. All you can do is keep your head up and stay positive,” Koziol said.
Even though Friday’s dual meet didn’t produce the same results as Wednesday, it was still full of close finishes and excitement. After honoring the seniors for their hard work and dedication, the Lions found themselves trailing by a big deficit.
The Colonels won the first four weight classes, giving them a 17-0 advantage with only six weight classes remaining. Sophomore Kyle Packer began the Lions’ comeback with a win over freshman Nathan White. DiColo and Denver also beat their opponents, junior James Histed and freshman Jesse Villella respectively.
Freshman Brian Broderick, who was one of three grapplers to pin their opponents on Wednesday, beat No. 5-ranked Wilkes senior Frank Hefferman with a takedown in overtime, bringing the score up to 17-14. Junior Ed Broderick beat junior Jake Weinrich by a sizeable margin of victory, but Wilkes senior Zach Pizzaro defeated Amponsa to give them a 20-18 victory over the 7th ranked Lions in their final home meet.
“The support of our family and friends means a lot to us,” Ed Broderick said. “We really appreciate that they take the time to come and get to see us wrestle. I think I speak for everyone when I say no one wants to compete in a hollow gym. Thank you for coming and supporting the team.”
The team continues their season at Williams College for the New England Duals on Jan. 30.