This past weekend was experimental, to say the least, for most of the teams that attended the wrestling tournament at Ithaca College in Ithaca, N.Y. Springfield College, currently ranked No. 22, was able to test the waters and see where they’re ranked among the region’s best. After finishing third overall at the tournament, Coach Jay Holder was pleased with his team’s efforts but did not want to settle for the result.
“Whether they didn’t win, whether they didn’t place or whether they didn’t place high enough, this tournament is the beginning of the season, and it’s pretty much an evaluation to see how they do in competition and what we need to work on and progress, so they can compete well later on,” said Holder.
The team made out well amongst its individuals, even though it was missing some of its more veteran wrestlers like captains Nick Camera and Joe Grippi, the latter of who had to injury default to sixth and didn’t compete in the final day of the tournament. Derrick Longo, who is also a captain and is coming off a stellar performance last year, struggled early but found himself in old form later in the tournament to place fifth.
Where the team made up the difference was in the lighter weight classes. The 125-lbs weight class got a second-place medal from junior Tom Casper. The 133-lbs weight class had a second-place finisher, sophomore Derek Adams, and in the 149-lbs weight class, sophomore Dylan Foley finished second as well.
The upperweights saw some spotlight with another second-place finish from grad student John Gabordi in the heavyweight division. Springfield had an overall point total of 142, but it wasn’t enough to topple first place Johnson and Whales University (181 points) or second-place host Ithaca College (172 points).
Holder went on to note that the team has depth and a solid freshman class that just needs to fine-tune its ability to be effective at the college level. That class was represented strongly by Brendan Morgan, who Holder specifically noted wrestled well and took a respectable fourth place.
The competition didn’t lack, and the tournament was good for all the wrestlers on the team, whether it was defined as the marker for how college wrestling is paced, or whether it was the reality check that a new season means a new slate. SC wrestling has its work cut out for it.
“I’m excited to see what we have coming up to the Parker [Doug Parker Tournament],” Holder said.
Holder is optimistic about the season and with good reason. As long as his team can stay healthy, the No. 22 ranked Pride may move up in the rankings within the upcoming months and have a strong showing later in the year as the rust begins to wear off.