Rider University 22, Hofstra University 18
LAWRENCEVILLE, NJ—It was 50 years ago today that Sgt. Pepper’s band played on the Ed Sullivan show for the first time.
With a Little Help From his Friends, Rider’s lone senior was able to enjoy a Rider victory on Senior Day. The Rider fans were Glad All Over.
The Broncs won six of the 10 bouts to defeat long-time rival Hofstra Sunday evening. “Both teams went at it pretty hard,” said Rider head coach Gary Taylor.
For Rider (13-7), senior Ramon Santiago (Sayreville, N.J./Sayreville), junior Clint Morrison (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Cedar Cliff), sophomore Conor Brennan (Brick, NJ/Brick Twp.), sophomore Greg Velasco (Union Beach, NJ/Keyport) and sophomore Robert Deutsch (Cherry Hill, NJ/Eastern Regional) won.
For Santiago, Rider’s only senior in the line-up on Senior Day, it was time for him to Get Back. “I’ve had my ups and downs this year, it’s been a long year for me, so winning my last match here meant a lot to me. Especially since I had a top-ranked opponent and this was a chance for me to turn my season back to where I want it.”
Santiago won over three-time NCAA qualifier Joe Booth and his 26-5 record to give Rider a 15-12 lead. “Booth is having a great year and he’s a great wrestler,” Taylor said. “For Ramon to come back and wrestle that way was great to see because that is who we know Ramon to be.”
“Booth is always good,” Santiago said. “I knew I was going to have a tough match. I needed this.”
The 2014 calendar year has not exactly been a Magical Mystery Tour for Santiago, who is 5-7 since New Year’s day. “This last month or so has been down for me,” Santiago said.
Santiago knows that All Things Must Pass and now, he can just Let it Be.
For Morrison, it was just another Day in the Life. Morrison won by a major decision, his fourth major decision (along with a tech fall) in his last five bouts. “Clint is on target,” Taylor said.
Deutsch, ranked 12th in the nation, won to give Rider a 6-0 lead. Deutsch is now 25-4 overall, 19-1 in duals.
Brennan, who moved up two weight classes this year due to injuries to his teammates, continues to Carry the Weight as he won for the 10th time in a row, improving to 21-7
Heavyweight Velasco, usually the final bout of the match, wrestled first, sort of a Helter Skelter beginning of the match, and got Rider off to a 3-0 lead. “Greg wrestled a very smart match,” Taylor said.
For Hofstra (6-7) Luke Vaith, ranked eighth in the nation, was losing 4-3 to freshman Paul Kirchner (Somerville, NJ/Somerville) before winning by fall. “Paulie just needs to do two things,” Taylor said, “settle down and think about his positioning more.”
This was the 42nd meeting between Rider and Hofstra, with the Broncs winning 18. “This has been a rivalry since the day I got here,” Taylor said. “It is always a hard-fought match.”
For Hofstra, it was a Hard Day’s Night.
The last time Rider beat Hofstra was during the 2009-10 season. Hofstra has won 13 of the last 15 meetings with Rider. “That was a great win for our team,” Santiago said. A win that Rider would take Eight Days a Week. “Hofstra has been beating us over the years so to come back and beat them shows how good our team is.”
Rider and Hofstra were conference rivals from 1973-74 until this year, competing in the East Coast Conference, the East Coast Wrestling Association and the Colonial Athletic Association.
Rider now competes in the EWL (4-1) while Hofstra competes in the EIWA (4-2).
After a disappointing loss, not Yesterday but The Night Before, the Broncs had to Come Together. “Obviously we were disappointed the other night so we sat down as a team and it was one of the most productive talks I’ve had with the team in years as far as everyone opening up," Taylor said. "They responded tonight.”
Rider travels the Long and Winding Road to Cleveland State Saturday for an EWL dual meet. “That’s a long trip,” Taylor said. “We’ve never wrestled them in a dual before but we’ve wrestled some of their kids at tournaments and they are good.”
The Broncs hope on the long bus ride home they will enjoy Golden Slumbers.
“That’s our last conference match so we want to go out there and dominate,” Santiago said after his final match at home. “It was nice to end here at Rider on a good note, and it will be nice to end the conference regular season the same way.”
Rider 22, Hofstra 18
285 Greg Velasco-R dec. Mike Hughes-H 3-2 3-0
125 Robert Deutsch-R dec. Jamie Franco-H 4-0 6-0
133 Chuck Zeisloft-R forfeit 12-0
141 Luke Vaith-H wbf Paul Kirchner-R 2:17 12-6
149 Cody Ruggirello-H dec. Curt Delia-H 6-5 12-9
157 Jahlani Callender-H dec. Wayne Stinson-R 4-3 12-12
165 Ramon Santiago-R dec. Joe Booth-H 6-1 15-12
174 Conor Brennan-R dec. Frank Affronti-H 7-4 18-12
184 Clint Morrison-R major dec. Victor Pozsonyl-H 12-4 22-12
197 Zeal McGrew-H forfeit 22-18