By Christine Houghton
Over winter break, the wrestling team had a huge winning record, improving to 13-1 overall.
First competing in the Mariner Duals on Dec. 9, the team took down New York University by an overall score of 29-15 and defeated the United States Merchant Marine Academy 34-12.
During a home quad match against Muhlenberg College, King’s College and New York University on Jan. 4, the Lions topped both Muhlenberg and King’s by a team score of 37-14 and 58-0 respectively.
From Jan. 11 to Jan. 12, the team competed in the Budd Whitehill Duals at Lycoming College, continuing its winning streak. Wrestling first against Castleton University, the College won by a final score of 34-9. The team then topped University of Wisconsin-EAU Claire 28-13 and closed out the day by taking down Lycoming College 37-9.
Securing a record 10th team title at the Budd Whitehill Duals, the Lions took down two more teams the next day. Taking down Springfield College, the team started off the day strong with the 37-3 win, followed by a 37-10 victory over University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
On Friday, Jan. 25, the team took down Springfield again in a dual meet by a score of 38-7. Wrestling at 125 pounds, sophomore Jacob Falleni fought to a major decision victory, while sophomore Jake Giordano fought hard for the win at 133 pounds. Sophomore Robert Dinger quickly pinned his opponent, easily securing the win at 141 pounds.
At 149 pounds, senior Ryan Budzek pushed the Lions to a 17-0 lead, while senior Mark Gerstacker helped seal the deal for the Lions with at win at 157 pounds. Junior Dan Kilroy delivered another pin at 174 pounds and freshman Quinn Haddad pinned his opponent at 197 pounds to finish out the match.
The team rounded out its winning streak with three victories at the John Reese Duals on Sunday, Jan. 27. The 13th-ranked Lions extended their record after a 13-game win streak during winter break, with the second win of the tournament being the 100th victory for head coach Joe Galante.
To start the day off, the Lions topped SUNY Oneonta by a score of 37-12 and finished the day beating out Lackawanna College in a 43-0 shutout, but the most eventful match of the day came against 21st ranked Rochester Institute of Technology, whom the Lions beat 21-19.
Against Oneonta, the team won its first eight matches, leading to a very impressive 37-0 lead and several pins. After a hard-fought match against RIT that went down to the wire, the College was able to edge its way to a win.
Exemplary performances throughout these matches included freshman Johnny Garda with five pins, Dinger with six pins and Kilroy with seven pins. Kilroy’s performance allowed him to take the fourth spot in program history for pins.
The Lions are now ranked 13th with a 13-1 record, undefeated since their first match. The team hosts Centenary University for its next match on Friday, Feb. 1, followed by an away match against Messiah College on Saturday, Feb. 2, hoping to extend its win streak over these two matches.