The wrestling team (8-4, 3-0 Ivy) tightened its stranglehold on first place in the Ivy League standings this weekend as it went undefeated in three dual meets, defeating Penn (10-4, 3-1), Princeton (5-9, 0-4), and non-conference foe Rider (10-6-1, 5-0-1 Colonial).
The weekend was highlighted by Friday night’s 20-12 defeat of the No. 22 Quakers, in which 157-pound senior Dustin Manotti sparked a Red rally, recording a 21-6 win by technical fall.
“He came in and really gave us a boost,” said senior tri-captain Joe Mazzurco. “He set the tone, got the momentum going, and luckily after that everyone was able to take care of business.”
Freshman Troy Nickerson started off the night by recording a close, 8-7, victory over Penn’s No. 18 Mike Silengo. Trailing by one point to start the third period, Nickerson chose to start from the down position and momentarily took the lead by scoring a reversal. A penalty point was awarded to Penn as time expired, but Nickerson earned the victory after gaining the match’s decisive point due to riding time advantage.
With the Red unable to muster any momentum from Nickerson’s match, the Quakers jumped out to an early lead as they swept the next three bouts at 133, 141, and 149 pounds. Penn’s No. 10 Matt Valenti defeated senior No. 14 Mike Mormile 4-0 at 133 pounds. Cesar Grajales took down junior Matt Easter 6-4 at 141 and Matt Dragon recorded a 6-2 victory over junior Keith Dickey at 149.
With the score reading 9-3 in Penn’s favor, three-time All-American senior Dustin Manotti took matters into his own hands and got the team back on the winning track, earning five points for the Red in what turned out to be an offensive clinic. Manotti scored three takedowns in the first period, added two more along with a three-point near fall in the second, and then recorded a point for an escape in the final period to finish off the match.
Sophomore Steve Anceravage copied Manotti’s winning formula as he went on to defeat Lior Zamir by a score of 8-3 in the 165-pound match. Leading by two points going into the final period, Anceravage seemed to surprise Zamir as he went on the offensive, recording a takedown and a two-point near fall before the period expired. Anceravage gained an extra point for riding time advantage.
At 174, senior Dan Miracola orchestrated a quick flurry late in the final period but came up a point short in his upset bid of No. 20 Matt Herrington. Miracola led the bout going into the third period but allowed an escape and a takedown before escaping to pull the match within one point. The senior took many shots but failed to catch any legs in hopes of scoring a late takedown.
After Miracola’s match, the Red would go on to sweep the last three bouts. Senior Joe Mazzurco, ranked third in the country at 184 pounds, defeated Dustin Wiles by a score of 3-2.
“This was my third time to wrestle the guy I faced,” Mazzurco said. “Whenever I wrestle him it always is the same kind of match. He’s tough to score on and so I just tried to stay in position and everything worked out.”
Junior Jerry Rinaldi followed in Mazzurco’s footsteps in the 197-pound match as he rode out Paul Veleki to win the bout, edging out his competitor by a score of 4-1. Heavyweight Zach Hammond then put the final touches on a Red victory as he recorded a 10-3 win over Jayson Bowlsby. Hammond recorded two takedowns in the final period and was awarded a point for riding time.
On Saturday, the team traveled to Princeton and blanked the Tigers, 47-0, behind pins from Manotti, Anceravage, Miracola and senior heavyweight Matt Pollock. Miracola’s victory came at 184 pounds, one weight class heavier than the one he wrestled at the day before. Mazzurco was held out of the lineup as a safety precaution as the Mahopac, N.Y., native tweaked his knee against Penn.
The team also recorded two five-point victories, as both Nickerson and Mormile recorded wins by technical fall. Sophomore Nick Bridge won at 141 pounds and Dickey notched a major decision with a 15-1 win over Andrew Iannuzzi. At 174 pounds, sophomore Mike Mackie recorded a victory, as did freshman Taylor Moore at 197 pounds.
Later that night the team traveled to Lawrenceville, N.J., and defeated Rider by a score of 23-12. Anceravage recorded a victory by technical fall while Nickerson, Manotti, and Pollock each recorded major decisions. Senior Mike Mormile was upset in the 133-pound bout after wrestling in his third match in two days, losing 3-2 to Zach Cunliffe.
Archived article by Tim Kuhls
Sun Staff Writer