By Connor Smith
Social Media Editor
The men’s wrestling team — currently ranked 10th in the National Wrestling Coaches Association’s Division III poll — found itself engaged with some heated competition on Saturday, Jan. 30, at the Metro/New England Duals hosted by Roger Williams University. The College returned to action on Sunday, Jan. 31, facing off against Springfield College and bringing their record in duals to a historic 16-2.
“We wrestle at a high level against every competitor,” head coach Joe Galante said. “We need to keep wrestling with confidence, poise and intensity. I believe in our wrestlers.”
The College has made a name for itself by dominating unranked competition this season, but their performances against ranked teams have been some of the best in the nation. This weekend was no different, as the Lions battled 16th-ranked Williams College and third-ranked Roger Williams University.
The Lions jumped into action on Saturday by defeating Bridgewater State University, 49-3. The landslide victory included three technical falls, four pins and a major decision — the College even maintained a shutout until the final bout, eventually losing 285 by a 3-2 decision.
Senior Doug Hamann added to his impressive season, scoring a technical fall at 174. Hamann ended the weekend, 3-1, with two wins by technical fall.
“We have very strong leaders this year,” Galante said. “(The late Lions wrestling coach) Dave Icenhower told me, ‘When you have good leadership, you can have a good team. When you have great leadership, you can have a great team.’”
The College was locked-in during their rematch with 16th-ranked Williams College — the Lions defeated Williams College, 24-17, in their last dual on Saturday, Jan. 9. The Lions found themselves tied, 9-9, this time around, when Hamann scored his second technical fall. The College dropped a major decision at 184, but sophomores Constantine Rissiotis (197) and Kyle Cocozza (285) combined to put the Williams Ephs to bed by scoring a 5-2 decision and a technical fall, respectively. The final score was 22-13 for another Lions victory.
Third-ranked Roger Williams University was the College’s fiercest opponent of the weekend. The Lions opened the dual in exciting fashion with 6-4 overtime victory at 125. The Hawks fired back by scoring a 5-2 decision, tying it up at 3-3. The College amassed a 12-6 lead, thanks in part to an overtime victory at 157 by senior Antonio Mancella.
Although the Lions carried a 15-9 lead into the final two bouts, the Hawks eventually rallied by scoring decisions at 197 and 285. Now tied 15-15, Roger Williams University was awarded the winning point due to scoring criteria. Now 15-2, the College was forced to regroup, despite the heartbreaking loss.
“We have knocked off highly-ranked teams before,” Galante said. “We were pleased, but not satisfied — beating the third ranked team in a dual is not our goal. Our goal is to be top four in the country at Nationals in March.”
On Sunday, Jan. 31, the Lions found themselves down, 13-15, to Springfield College, but three straight wins flipped the dual in the College’s favor. Junior Dan Wojtaszek capped off the match with a 4:12 pin.
The College will face off against Wilkes College on Friday, Feb. 5, in their first home match in Packer Hall since Winter Break.