Rider University 22, Duke University 16
Rider University 35, Sacred Heart University 9
LAWRENCEVILLE, NJ— Rider wrestling fans are hoping Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow Sunday, so they will have six more weeks of wrestling the way the Broncs wrestled Saturday.
In a doubleheader with Duke and Sacred Heart, Rider won 14 of the 20 bouts to sweep the day.
The day started with the Rider community congratulating head coach Gary Taylor for his recent 400th career win. Taylor is one of just two active coaches to have compiled 400 wins at a Division I institution.
Now Taylor has 402.
For Rider (12-5), sophomore Robert Deutsch (Cherry Hill, NJ/Eastern Regional), junior Chuck Zeisloft (Woodbury Heights, N.J./Gateway), freshman Paul Kirchner (Somerville, NJ/Somerville), sophomore Conor Brennan (Brick, NJ/Brick Twp.) junior Clint Morrison (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Cedar Cliff) and sophomore Greg Velasco (Union Beach, NJ/Keyport) all won twice Saturday.
Morrison won both of his matches by major decision. “Clint is training hard and working hard and keeps getting better,” Taylor said.
Deutsch, ranked 15th in the nation, won twice by forfeit.
Against Duke, Velasco won at heavyweight for the final score. “Greg looked good today,” Taylor said. ‘I thought he wrestled a very smart match (against Duke). In the second match (against Sacred Heart) he was able to show some of his athleticism.”
“I felt pretty good today,” said Velasco. “I like it when it comes down to my match to decide the win, with the pressure on the line. I get more energized to win. I like being the last guy.”
Morrison won a major decision to give Rider a 19-12 lead over the Blue Devils. Brennan won to break a 12-12 tie. “Conor is a very good wrestler and very aware, one of the more aware wrestlers we have right now, in terms of seeing what is there when it is there and he doesn’t hesitate.”
Zeisloft and Kirchner won back-to-back to give Rider a 12-0 lead over Duke. “Chuck did a nice job,” Taylor said of his 133 pounder. “The Duke wrester was pretty good. When the shots were there Chuck got the takedowns.”
Kirchner returned from an injury to collect a pair of wins. “Paul’s timing and conditioning are still off for being out for 30 days,” Taylor said, “so he’s working hard in practice. He’ll come back around.”
For Duke (4-9), Marcus Cain won at 165 to tie the score at 12-12. Connor Bass upset 20th ranked sophomore Curt Delia (Mullica Hill, NJ/Delsea) to cut the Rider lead to 12-6. Immanuel Kerr-Brown won at 157 to improve to 17-7 on the season. Conner Hartmann won a major decision at 197 to cut the Rider lead to 19-16.
Rider had never faced Duke in wrestling before. “That was a good match,” Taylor said. “The Duke kids wrestled hard and took a couple of our guys out of their game-plan. We were fortunate that some guys stepped up in the upper weights.”
Against Sacred Heart (2-7) senior Ramon Santiago (Sayreville, N.J./Sayreville) won by tech fall and Brennan won by fall.
Velasco, Morrison and Zeisloft won by major decisions and Delia won to give Rider a 16-0 lead.
Rider and Sacred Heart are former ECWA and CAA opponents.
Rider and Scared Heart have now met 13 times since the series began in 2000-01 with Rider winning all 13, including 57-0 last year and 44-3 in 2011-12.
Rider travels to Drexel February 7. “We’re going to work hard and get ready for them,” Taylor said. “It should be a tough match,” Velasco said. “We’ll need all 10 guys to go out and wrestle hard.”
Six more weeks, before the NCAA Division I Championships in Oklahoma City, OK.
Let’s hope for a sunny Groundhog Day in Western PA.
Rider 22, Duke 16
125: Robert Deutsch-R wins by forfeit 6-0
133: Chuck Zeisloft-R dec. Evan Botwin-D 10-6 9-0
141: Paul Kirchner-R dec. Xaviel Ramos-D 12-7 12-0
149: Connor Bass-D wbf Curt Delia-R 4:13 12-6
157: Immanuel Kerr-Brown-D dec. Wayne Stinson-R 9-2 12-9
165: Marcus Cain-D dec. Ramon Santiago-R 3-0 12-12
174: Conor Brennan-R dec. Trey Adamson-D 7-4 15-12
184: Clint Morrison-R major dec. Jacob Kasper-D 13-5 19-12
197: Conner Hartmann-D major dec. Jeff McElwee-R 17-4 19-16
HWT: Greg Velasco-R dec. Brian Self-D 5-2 22-16
Rider 35, Sacred Heart 9
125: Robert Deutsch-R wins by forfeit 6-0
133: Chuck Zeisloft-R major dec. Kyle Brady-SH 13-3 10-0
141: Paul Kirchner-R dec. Andrew Polidore-SH 9-4 13-0
149: Curt Delia-R dec. Brendan Goldup-SH 6-5 16-0
157: Casey Mitchell-SH dec. Wayne Stinson-R 6-0 16-3
165: Ramon Santiago-R tech fall Johnny Vrasidas-SH 18-2 (6:24) 21-3
174: Conor Brennan-R wbf Zach Moran-SH 2:37 27-3
184: Clint Morrison-R major dec. Tomasz Filipkowski-SH 12-2 31-3
197: Sam Morison-SH won by forfeit 31-9
HWT: Greg Velasco-R major dec. Daniel Hayden-SH 11-3 35-9