After achieving a ranking of No. 12 in the National Wrestling Coaches Association Division III Brute — Adidas Preseason Team Rankings, the College’s grapplers began preparing themselves for their opening week of matches. Senior Justin Bonitatis showed his ability and proved himself on the mat as the 165-pound wrestler collected his 100 career win as a Lion on Saturday.
“It feels good,” Bonitatis said. “It was a goal I set for myself when I started at (the College) and started my career. So it was rewarding to get it and accomplish one of my goals.”
Bonitatis earned the milestone in the quarterfinals and continued on to win the title for his weight class, with five victories overall.
Bonitatis explained what it took to get to this point in his wrestling career.
“It has to do with hard work and dedication,” he said. “But most importantly you as a wrestler have to have the will to win and desire to accomplish the goals you set for yourself.”
The Lions showed in almost every weight class on Saturday at the Ursinus College Fall Brawl.
Senior Dan Hughes went 4-0 at 125-pounds and clinching the title with a 3-1 win over Jenkins Monzey of the University of Maryland. Sophomore Brian Broderick also won all four of his matches, collecting the title with an 8-2 win over opponent Kevin Bacci of Westchester University. Senior Mike Denver, weighing in at 184-pounds, recorded three consecutive wins, gaining the title in the finals by defeating Nate Murren of Ursinus.
The Fall Brawl tournament was the Lions’ second test so far this season, after winning their opening match against No. 18-ranked Stevens Institute of Technology 30-9 on Wednesday, Nov. 13.
“It felt good to start the year off on a good note,” Denver said.
Last season, the Lions finished 17-4 in their dual meets and recorded two championship titles. This season, Denver notes, the team is going to do things a little differently in order to get farther in the season.
“Last season there was a lot of injuries that hurt us throughout the season, but we still made it work,” Denver said. “This year the coaches are doing a lot of things differently from last season. It’s not always easy to overcome obstacles, but I think we did very well with the way we wrestled as a whole.”
The Lions are back on the mat on Wednesday, Nov. 17, as they take on Hunter College, Yeshiva University and New York University in back to back meets starting at 4 p.m.
Hilarey Wojtowicz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.