By Maximillian C. Burgos
The wrestling team traveled to Ithaca, New York on Saturday, Feb. 24 for the NCAA Mideast Regional championship, where the Lions took fourth place out of 17.
Five Lions placed in the tournament, with sophomore Dan Kilroy taking first at the 174-pound weight class for the second consecutive year. Kilroy was also the only All-American for the Lions, continuing the wrestling team’s long standing tradition.
With this win, Kilroy punched his ticket to Cleveland to wrestle in the NCAA national tournament. In the championship round, Kilroy won by pin versus senior Jaison White of Ithaca College, who was ranked No. 8 nationally according to InterMat wrestling.
Head coach Joe Galante was impressed by Kilroy’s determination to win.
“Kilroy dominated in all of his four matches,” Galante said. “Dan is very goal-oriented and focused. He’s constantly preparing with his strong daily routine. (In wrestling) You need to be strong, fast and conditioned.”
Senior James Goldschmidt placed fourth at the 133-pound bracket. In the semifinals, he fought hard, but ultimately fell to SUNY Oneonta senior Austin Sisco.
In the wrestlebacks, Goldschmidt managed to win by a slim margin, but lost the following round.
Senior Ryan Budzek lost to SUNY Brockport’s Sean Peacock at the 149-pound bracket, who was nationally ranked No. 9 according to InterMat wrestling. Budzek lost again in the wrestlebacks, but won his last bout of the day to finish fifth overall.
Freshman Robert Dinger won a spectacular bout at 141 in wrestlebacks at the fourth minute mark with a stunning pin.
He then lost to Centenary University junior Maxwell Nauta by a slim margin, with a final score of 6-5. He finished the tournament with a pin to take fifth place.
Senior Luke Balina won a bout at 165 by technical fall in the wrestlebacks. He then continued his momentum by winning his next bout, 10-2.
He followed up his previous performance with another win of 19-7, but his momentum was halted by sophomore Alex Herringshaw of SUNY Oswego State, who was nationally ranked No. 9 according to InterMat wrestling. Balina ultimately lost in a close 8-5 bout. Balina ended up placing fifth with a 6-4 win to finish the tournament.
Galante is thankful for the contributions made by the senior class.
“Balina, Budzek, Cocozza, Gallo, Goldschmidt, Maltez, Schinder and Whitney have made the program and system better overall,” Galante said. “I wish them the very best in their futures.”