It was a long weekend to start the season as we had two home matches on Saturday and the BU Open all day on Sunday. There were some mixed results from the team and it is a good starting point that we will improve upon. I felt like the team wrestled much better on Sunday than Saturday. We looked like we had more energy and hustle as a team at the tournament.
We beat conference rival George Mason 31-11 to open the weekend, followed by a 39-13 win over Sacred Heart. I will say that Joe Russell is doing a heck of a job at George Mason and had his team ready to go. They wrestled hard and hustled. GMU will improve a lot with Joe in charge. Sacred Heart was also much improved from last year. They have a couple of holes in their line-up as Coach Cameron was hired just before the school year started and was not able to recruit so unfortunately they do not have a full line-up, but the guys they do have showed promise.
At 125 pounds, Steeley started with a big lead but couldn’t find an answer to Rodriguez's single leg and Rodriguez scored several times off that shot late in the match to win 13-11. Steeley then received a forfeit from SHU. Steeley did not wrestle well at the BU Open going 1-2. He stopped wrestling in some positions and it cost him in the tournament. He needs to be more consistant.
At 133 pounds, Patrick Hunter was aggressive and scored with a few takedowns to win his bout against Lavorato 10-4. He did not wrestle nearly as well in his next match and Polidore of SHU capitalized on Hunter’s mistakes. Polidore scored with a few tilts on top to earn a 10-2 major decision. Hunter ended up having eight matches on the weekend as he went 4-2 at the BU Open. He dropped his first match to the eventual champion. He wrestled better as the day went on. His best match of the weekend was his 7th match of the weekend where he looked very good against Wheeler. Dan Riggi went 3-2 competing unattached. He was a match from placing in the tournament. He looked solid with a fall and two different one point decision wins. His losses were to a returning national qualifier who took 3rd and to Cobb of Penn who took 4th. Colton Perry picked up a 7-0 win over GMU starter Lavarato and was also wreslting unattached. Alex Neal, wrestling unattached, also competed here and is gaining experience.
At 141 pounds, Joe Bonaldi wrestled well in his first ever collegiate match and looked solid both offensively and defensively. Keep an eye on him as he is going to get very good as the season goes on. He won 7-4 over a very tough Herndon from GMU. Joe then received a forfeit from SHU. At the BU Open, Bonaldi went 2-2 with his first loss coming to NCAA All-American Kemmerer of Penn and his second to two-time NCAA National Qualifier Kirchner of Rider. He picked up 10-4 and 7-2 decision wins on the day. Derek Heyman went 3-2 at the tournament wrestling unattached. His best match was a dominant 14-6 win over Ellis of Penn.
At 149 pounds, Donnie Vinson looked like he was ready to win a national title in both bouts. He pinned both of his opponents (Bakuckas of GMU and Belanger of SHU). Donnie scored a lot of points in each match but neither opponent was able to make it to the third period. Wrestling unattached at the BU Open was Vin Grella and Ben Price. They both went 1-2 at the open.
At 157 pounds, Justin Lister majored Bethea of GMU and pinned Evangelista of SHU. Against Bethea, he scored a couple of takedowns and some back points, but Bethea made him work hard for every score and did not give him anything. He was able to secure a pin off a takedown in the first against Evangelista. Lister went 4-1 at the BU Open, falling in the finals to 2X NCAA D1 National Champ Kyle Dake of Cornell 6-2. He had a thrilling 6-5 win over returning All-American Peppelman of Harvard to go along with his three pins. Adam Morris and Angelo Bortoluzzi both wrestled unattached with Morris picking up two tech falls and Bortoluzzi picking up two decision wins.
At 165 pounds, Matt Kaylor majored and pinned his two opponents. He wrestled very well with a good hard pace. His major came against Knepp of GMU and his fall was against Rizzitello of SHU. Kaylor went 6-1 overall on the weekend, picking up 2nd place at the BU Open. He wrestled well throughout the weekend but made a mistake in the finals and got taken down to lose 2-3 to NCAA All-American Gillespie of Hofstra.
At 174 pounds, Caleb Wallace started slow and did not wrestle well against McLaughlin of GMU. McLaughlin took it to him 17-7. Caleb rebounded with a 8-3 win over Rizzitello. In the second match, Caleb was more offensive and looked better. Caleb really started to come alive on Sunday as he placed 6th and wrestled better. He looked more confident and aggressive. Caleb picked up three wins at the BU Open.
At 184 pounds, Nate Schiedel looked very good in his only match on Saturday. He pinned Hembury of GMU with a bear hug in the second period. John Paris wrestled at 184 against Moran of SHU. He was in a tight match when he had to injury default due to a knee injury. At the BU Open, Schiedel took 3rd place. He collected four wins at the open but made a mistake and surrendered the wining takedown in the semifinals.
At 197 pounds, John Paris wrestled up in the match against Tovuujav of GMU. Tovuujav kept the match on their feet and scored with a variety of takedowns. Paris dropped the bout 3-14. Tyler Deuel scored with a pin off a takedown in the match against Morison of SHU. Cody Reed wrestled very well in the BU Open placing a strong second. He went 3-1 losing in the finals to 2X NCAA D1 All-American Simaz of Cornell. He wrestled with a good pace and a lot of energy. Tyler Deuel and Mike McKeever both competed at the BU Open as well at 197 pounds.
At 285 pounds, Nick Gwiazdowski scored a pin in his first collegiate match over Barnette of GMU in the second period, which was a preview of things to come the next day for Gwiazdowksi. Mike McKeever bumped up to heavyweight against Neidhart of SHU and dropped a 7-2 decisoin. Mckeever scored a nice takedown on the edge of the mat but Neidhart got the win. Gwiazdowksi went 4-0 and won the BU Open. He was impressive in his first collegiate tournament with two pins, a 14-4 major decision, and a 8-2 decision win.
Overall, I felt like we wrestled okay on the weekend and we will work to improve from here. We had six BU Open place winners, four finalists, and a champion. This gives us a gauge from where we are and what we need to improve upon. We will head to the Body Bar Tournament Saturday. I will preview that tournament late this week.
Check out the photos from the duals on Sautrday here. I'll be posting the ones I took at the Open as soon as I can.