College makes the competition quack

Starting off the dual meet portion of the season on a high note, the wrestling team won seven of 10 bouts at previously nationally-ranked Stevens Institute of Technology before putting five wrestlers in the quarterfinals of the East Stroudsburg Open.

The 21st-ranked Lions (1-0) avenged last year’s home loss to the Ducks with a dominant 31-11 victory, taking the lightest three and heaviest four weight classes while only dropping points in the middle three.

“We wrestled pretty well. It was nice to come back and win after they beat us last year,” head coach Joe Galante said. “I thought we had a chance to win nine bouts, a couple of them were pretty close.”

The Lions moved up five spots in the rankings by beating the Ducks. (Courtesy of the Sports Information Desk)

Freshman Kevin Churchill (125 pounds) earned his first six dual meet points for the Lions in a forfeit to start the meet, and junior Steve Godine (133) doubled the team’s advantage with a technical fall at 5:41.

Freshman Steve Schneider (141) added another three points with a win by decision while emphasizing the team’s younger lineup, with three freshmen starting against the Ducks and underclassmen earning all of the Lions’ 31 points.

“We still have returning All-Americans on the team, but we’re a little younger, a little bit more hungry,” Galante said. “I see competitiveness — the younger guys wrestle with a lot of intensity and they’re fierce.”

Stevens Institute responded to the Lions’ hot start with 11 straight points of their own, with three of them coming in a hard-fought clash between third-ranked Joe Favia (165) of Stevens and fourth-ranked senior John Darling (165) of the College.

The Lions closed out the match convincingly, though, rattling off four wins — including two major decisions and a technical fall — through junior Zach Zotollo (174), junior Brian Broderick (184), sophomore Nathanial Leer (197) and junior Jeff Furbish (285).

No wins — or even team scoring — were earned at the East Stroudsburg Open on Saturday, Nov. 17, where Division I and II teams competed alongside the College.

Churchill, Darling, Broderick, senior Dan Brill (197) and Furbish advanced to the quarterfinals of their weight classes with a pair of wins, while PJ Schmidt (141) picked up three successful bouts of his own.

“I would consider the East Stroudsburg Open to be one of the best Open tournaments in the country,” Galante said. “We didn’t see the success we wanted to. Just because we’re in D-III doesn’t mean we shouldn’t win these bouts, we could have been better in a couple of weight classes.”

Next up for the Lions is their home opener against King’s College on Tuesday, Nov. 27 at 7:30 p.m., and they will travel to York College for the New Standard Corporate Invitational on Saturday for the third tournament of the season.