By Connor Smith
After a tough loss to open the season, the College’s wrestling team bounced back in a big way as they trounced the King’s College Monarchs on Wednesday, Nov. 16, with a 33-6 victory. The Lions also earned one win and two losses on Saturday, Nov. 19, in the York College Duals.
“The guys are wrestling hard,” head coach Joe Galante said. “They’re using good strategies that we’re using in practice. That’s translating to the mat, so it’s good to see.”
Sophomore Luis Rivera, who finished last season with a 10-4 record in dual meets, opened the College’s match against King’s at 125. Behind in the final seconds of the bout, Rivera managed a reversal, as he edged out his opponent with a 5-4 decision. With an early 3-0 lead, the Lions never looked back.
At 133, freshman Mike Plaska wrestled in his first dual match of his career. Once again, a bout went down to the final seconds. Although it took until overtime, Plaska earned his first dual match win with an 11-9 decision.
Fellow freshmen Anthony Gagliano (141) and Giancarlo Crivelli (149) earned back-to-back major decisions that put the Lions ahead, 14-0.
According to Galante, the team’s freshmen are working hard and buying into the team’s mentality.
“The young guys are fresh, excited and motivated,” he said. “They’re internally motivated, doing their thing and really listening to our mentality and the things we’re trying to preach.”
King’s College earned its first points at 157 with a 5-1 decision, but the Lions fired back at 165 when senior Nick Herring scored a 19-9 major decision, which poised his team for to a blowout with the score at 18-3.
Freshman Marcus Sherrod won the Lions second overtime decision at 174, while freshman Dan Kilroy scored the first pin of the night at 184. By then, the dual was out of hand, but the Lions didn’t slow down from there.
At 197, sophomore Alex Mirabella pinned his opponent in under a minute — 59 seconds to be exact — and King’s ended the night with a heavyweight decision, which was only a brief reprieve from a 33-6 thrashing.
“I think we did a good job keeping our composure, when the match was close and, especially, in the third period,” Galante said. “The guys stayed composed.”
In the York College Duals, the College went against Shippensburg University, Camden County College and York College.
Against Shippensburg, the College kept it close until the final three bouts. There, Shippensburg combined two major decisions and a win by fall to take the first win of the day, 28-19.
The College seemed more comfortable against Camden. Junior Austin Maltez opened the match at 125 with a 2:47 win by fall. Freshman Mike Plaska pounced with an early lead as he notched a shutout win by technical fall.
Gagliano and senior Billy Reardon combined decisions at 141 and 149 to further extend the Lions lead. Both teams traded decisions at 157 and 165, but Kilroy scored another pin, this time at 1:54.
With 26 points overall, the Lions lost the final three weights, but won the dual 26-16.
The final dual, against York was another tough loss for the Lions. The usual Lions lead never materialized, as York opened up by scoring a technical fall and decision in the first two bouts.
Gagliano won by fall at 141, and the Lions strung together points at 157, 165 and 174. York, which already beat Camden 35-9 and Shippensburg by a single point, secured points in the final three bouts, and ended the day with a 21-14 win and a 3-0 record on the day.
The Lions, now 2-3, look forward to the New Standard at York on Saturday, Dec. 3, where they hope to build on last year’s successful performance in which they earned four placings, including a first place at 141.
According to Galante, proper mentality will be key.
“My senses were heightened (against Stevens), and they’re the same against King’s,” he said. “The guys need to be the same. They need to be ready, whether it’s Stevens or King’s, they need to prepare and execute the same way. The opponents shouldn’t matter.”