By Nick Pantages
The Springfield College wrestling team is set to hit the mats on Friday in the Ithaca Invitational after a successful season last year. The Pride had eight regional qualifiers, and one national qualifier. Head coach Jason Holder returns the majority of his solid core from that team, and they will be headlined by a talented senior class.
Two of these seniors are twin brothers Gianni and Joey Manginelli, the latter of which is coming off of an appearance in the Division III National Championship in the 125-pound class.
“They are great kids… they just do everything right,” Holder said.
Gianni, who wrestles at 133, was ranked as the 14th best wrestler in the country at 133 in the preseason coaches poll, with Joey taking third place at 125 in that same poll.
Seniors Chase Parrott and Joey Parsons also return for the Pride, with Parrott coming off a fifth place finish in regionals. Parsons is making the move down from 149 to 141 to fill the void left at 141 by the departing Chris Trelli.
Jacob Deguire is a sophomore at 157 that is coming off a spectacular first-year campaign with the Pride.
“[Deguire] is super talented, fun to watch, gets after it. He goes out there and goes for it,” Holder said.
His aggressive approach led to a fifth place finish in regionals as a first-year, something Deguire will look to improve on in his sophomore season.
Michael Filieri, a regional qualifier at 285, is also coming back for the Pride. Filieri was ranked as an honorable mention nationally at the heavyweight class, and he will headline that class for the Pride.
Fellow regional qualifier Sam Ware, a senior, returns at 197.
“These are all guys who have done a lot and worked really hard over the summer and it’s showing so far in the wrestling room,” Holder said.
Despite having a successful group of experienced leaders of all age groups, the X-Factor of Holder’s squad may be the newcomers.
With a class of 15 incoming first-years, Holder’s young and hungry class will contribute from day one.
“They should do some big things this year,” he said.
Having this mix of experienced, talented wrestlers on the team and a myriad of young talent looking to make a name for themselves will be a great asset to Holder.
“It will be interesting to see how they blend in and how they find a role, they’ll definitely get a taste of action,” he said.
Holder’s team has been working hard so far in the offseason, and the culmination of all that hard work will show itself on Friday.
“They mix it up every day and they go really hard.”
With the first tournament this week, Holder’s squad is itching to get on the mat with another team, and get that adrenaline rush that comes with competition in a real match, and not practice.
“It’s good for our guys to get a taste of competition after beating each other up for a month,” Holder said. “Let’s go scrap with another team and test ourselves.”
With the start of the season right on the horizon, Holder’s intentions are clear in what is his 12th season as head man of the Pride.
“No matter how we do this weekend, win, loss, or draw, there’s going to be a ton of stuff to take feedback, and move forward and keep improving,” Holder said.
Photo Courtesy Springfield College Athletics