Bouncing back from a tough season-opening loss, the College’s wrestling team pounded Hunter College 27-10 on Nov. 17 and put in a solid performance at the Central Jersey Open three days later.
The victory against Hunter gave Head Coach Joe Galante his first win at the helm of the 20th-ranked Lions (1-1).
“It was a pretty interesting meet, a hard-fought match,” Galante said. “The guys were excited about the win. We can definitely build on it.”
The Lions took several close bouts en route to six consecutive victories to start the meet, including a 2-1 win by senior Chris Lombardi (149-pound weight class) and a comeback win from sophomore P.J. Schmidt (133), which gave them a commanding 18-0 lead.
Wins by decision came from Lombardi, Schmidt, freshman Joey Dicarlo (125), senior Brian Bollete (141) and sophomore Zach Zotolo (165), while junior John Darling (157) and senior Mike Denver (184) pinned down their opponents.
The Lions continued their good form when they hosted the Central Jersey Open on Nov. 20.
Denver went undefeated through five bouts to win the 184-pound weight class in convincing fashion, beating opponents by a combined score of 161-13 and earning a pin-down in the final.
Bollete went 4-1 to reach the final in the 141-pound weight class, Schmidt earned a third-place finish in the 125-pound weight class, and junior Trevor Salvatore (285) reached the semifinals by winning four bouts, two by pin-down.
The positive performances marked improvement for the Lions, psychologically and technically.
“I was impressed with all of our guys. Our mental toughness has improved,” Galante said. “They are looking to win, to control the match, control their positions, scoring techniques.”
The Lions are still looking to get better, though, as they start a two-month road trip on Wednesday, Nov. 30 with a meet at King’s College.
“The guys are working on their weaknesses,” Galante said. “We are improving, but we aren’t where we want to be.”