Rider University 23, Lock Haven University 12
LAWRENCEVILLE, NJ— Fifty years ago today several shots changed the course of human events.
Friday night sophomore Conor Brennan (Brick, NJ/Brick Twp.) took several shots that changed the course of the match.
Brennan upset 11-match winner Adam Mackie with a major decision at 174 to give #22 Rider a 16-9 lead.
It was one of six Bronc victories to defeat Lock Haven in Rider’s first ever Eastern Wrestling League dual meet. “It’s nice to get the first one,” said Rider head coach Gary Taylor, who now has 394 career wins.
“I’ve wrestled with the lighter weights my whole life,” said Brennan, who was listed as a 157 pounder before the season started but due to injuries on the Rider squad has been wrestling, and winning, at 174. “Being a ’57 pounder I’m used to taking a lot of shots. The bigger guys I’m wrestling now aren’t really about that. I usually take more shots. All week I’ve been working on finishing those shots.”
“Conor wrestled at 157 last year and he is certified there but he’s more than likely a 165 who has built himself into a 174 pounder,” Taylor said. Brennan is now 3-2 at his heavier weight class. “He’s beaten some very good 174 pounders. Conor is a quality wrestler at that weight class now.”
“I feel like it is a huge advantage because my opponents are cutting weight and I’m not,” Brennan said. “I’m not hungry before the weigh-in. They are bigger but I get through it.”
For Rider (4-1, 1-0 EWL) sophomore Robert Deutsch (Cherry Hill, NJ/Eastern Regional), ranked 10th in the nation, won by pin to improve to 4-1 and to give Rider a 6-0 lead. “Rob got us started real nice,” Taylor said. “He’s a real tough kid who is capable of catching you, and tonight he went for it and got it.”
“The first period the plan was just to attack, attack,” Deutsch said, “and get as many points as I could get on the board. He took a bad shot and I took advantage of it and finished it.”
Senior Ramon Santiago (Sayreville, N.J./Sayreville), ranked 13th in the nation, won to break a 9-9 tie.
Junior Donald McNeil (Plainville, Mass./Wyoming Seminary) won at 197 to seal the team victory. “Don did a good job of being patient,” Taylor said. “When you are in the role to seal the match you have to wrestle smart and he did that.”
Junior Chuck Zeisloft (Woodbury Heights, N.J./Gateway) won at 133 for the second time this year for a 9-0 Rider lead.
Sophomore Greg Velasco (Union Beach, NJ/Keyport) won the final bout by a major decision for the final score. “I thought Greg wrestled a great match,” Taylor said. “He showed a lot of heart getting that takedown at the very end.”
Junior Clint Morrison (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Cedar Cliff) lost a close, 9-8 battle to the 14th ranked wrestler who was a national qualifier last year. “That was a tough match,” Taylor said. “Clint wrestled really well. He’s having a good start to the year. The two matches he’s lost were both winnable and they were to very good wrestlers.”
For Lock Haven (2-2, 0-1 EWL), 14th ranked Fred Garcia won 9-8 to cut the Rider lead to 16-12. Mac Maldarelli won at 149 and Billy Randt won at 157 to tie the score at 9-9. National qualifier Dan Neff, ranked 17th by InterMat, got the Bald Eagles on the board, cutting the Rider lead to 9-3 with a win at 141.
“You had two good teams tonight who were going at it very hard,” Taylor said. “The fans got a chance to see a lot of good battles.”
Rider won 19-14 at Lock Haven last year, the first meeting between these two teams since 2009, and Rider has won the last four meetings. Lock Haven leads the all-time series 16-6. “I have a lot of respect for Lock Haven,” Taylor said. “They have a great program and their kids wrestled tough.”
Rider takes part in the 19th annual Keystone Classic, hosted by the U of Pennsylvania, Sunday at the Palestra. “Very, very tough tournament,” Taylor said. “It is always tough. That’s going to be a real battle. There are some great teams coming in.”
“There is a wrestler ranked in the top 10 in my weight class,” Deutsch said, “so I’m looking forward to that Sunday.”
Expect Rider to be taking plenty of shots.
125 Robert Deutsch-R wbf Kaleb LeMaire-LH 4:10 6-0
133 Chuck Zeisloft-R dec. Cody Wheeler-LH 8-6 9-0
141 Dan Neff-LH dec. Paul Kirchner-R 11-8 9-3
149 Mac Maldarelli-LH dec. Curt Delia-R 9-3 9-6
157 Billy Randt-LH dec. Wayne Stinson-R 9-4 9-9
165 Ramon Santiago-R dec. Jake Kemerer-LH 10-7 12-9
174 Conor Brennan-R major dec. Adam Mackie-LH 13-5 16-9
184 Fred Garcia-LH dec. Clint Morrison-R 9-8 16-12
197 Donald McNeil-R dec. Phil Sprenkle-LH 8-2 19-12
285 Greg Velasco-R major dec. Brad Emerick-LH 8-0 23-12