By Evan Wheaton
SPRINGFIELD — The glow of a single light kept Blake Arena from being enveloped in utter darkness. This was enough for the crowd to witness the Springfield College wrestling team as they took on No. 13 Roger Williams for the annual Friday night lights matchup.
“The Friday night lights event is an awesome event that our athletic administration puts on for us,” Springfield graduate assistant Jimmy Kaishian said. “We’re really fortunate to have the staff that we have here to be able to put on a show for the wrestlers and the athletes and the student body here at Springfield.
“We’re fortunate enough to have a really good crowd and it’s a good time. We get to compete against one of the better schools, Roger Williams, and it’s a good test for our guys to see where we’re at in the region and move forward from here.”
The two schools competed closely with multiple lead changes throughout, although Springfield was unable to rally back and fell, 20-14. Junior Ian Tolotti was a noticeable standout after winning 5-1 at 133.
“Going into the match I just do my typical routine,” Tolotti said. “I get a good sweat going, some stretching, a quick prayer, and then it’s just right back to getting into the zone. I listen to some music, just stuff that calms me down. As soon as they ended that 125 match I just looked across the mat and said ‘no one’s stopping me today, it’s my day.’”
The highlight of the night for the Pride came from sophomore Ryan Peters. Peters tied the round 11-11 at the buzzer leading into the third period. After originally being down 8-2, Peters rallied an explosive comeback to finish 15-13
“It was 11-11 heading into the third period and just looking down and seeing someone on the mat knowing that they’re broken, that just fires me up,” Peters said. “I mean, we work hard in here everyday and obviously there’s more to be done because we didn’t win tonight, so we’ll get back to the drawing board as a team. I’ve bumped up to 149 today to help the team and I’ll do whatever it takes to help the team win and tonight it took bumping up and coming back from 8-2.”
The crowd erupted into cheers after every point scored by Peters. Never out of the fight, having the home-arena energy helped fuel Peters’ performance.
“It’s always nice to wrestle at home,” Peters said. “We had a great crowd tonight. I couldn’t thank everyone enough for their support and I’m sorry we couldn’t pull out the win, but that obviously fires you up and keeps you going. We wrestle hard in here with our hands-on drilling and stuff and that’s how I practice everyday, I try to score a million points in practice so I can score a million points in my match.”
Williams then pulled ahead from a 14-14 tie to finish the winners, 20-14. A close contest, the Pride will now evaluate and look ahead to the Spring semester.
“We got a lot to work on. We weren’t winning some tough positions, we were in tight matches and not pulling it out,” head coach Jason Holder said. “Our swing matches didn’t go the way we wanted them to go tonight, so we need to get better at that. I think just like every Ithaca, just like Doug Parker, and just like Messiah, right now it’s December 7th and there’s a long time until March so this is just an evaluation of where we need to go.”
The Pride will return for the Williams Open January 5 in Williamstown, Mass.
Featured photo courtesy of Chris Barry