By Jim & Tony Nordland

      Fourteen former New York State prepped wrestlers, including a defending NCAA champion and two All-Americans, should make a huge impact on the upcoming collegiate season.

     Leading the way will be sophomore sensation, NCAA titlist and the Freshman of-the-Year,
Kyle Dake (34-2, formerly from Lansing HS, he will move up to 149 pounds and pace top-ranked Cornell University. Other  returning AAs are; Torsten Gillespie (Webster-Schroeder HS) also at 149, of Edinboro, and pinner Justin Lister (South Jefferson HS) at 157, of Suny-Binghamton. Both Gillespie (6th) and Lister (4th) recorded 32 victories last season.

     Other highly-touted and ranked collegians according to the
Amateur Wrestling News are former Gorrarian Award winner, Lou Ruggirello. Ruggirello (Valley Central HS) is coming off a red shirt year and will compete at 133 pounds for Hofstra University. Ruggirello (99-21 career mark) is currently ranked sixth, but could be a NCAA finalist in a wide open weight class. Also to watch will be Pride teammates juniors, Steve Bonanno (20th at 125) of Wantagh HS and PJ Gillespie (12th at 165) of Long Beach HS, along with senior Ryan Patrovich (14th at 174) of Islip HS.

     Also in the mix on the NCAA mats this season will be junior
Kevin Smith (10th) of Mexico HS, now Buffalo and sophomore Ian Paddock (11th) of Warsaw HS, now at Ohio State, both will be at 133 pounds. Three other 149-pounders will vie for NCAA medals; juniors Desi Green (9th) of Rush-Henrietta HS, now at Buffalo and Corey Jantzen (11th) of Shoreham-Wading River HS, now at Harvard, along with slick sophomore Donnie Vinson (Whitney Point HS), now competing for Binghamton. Rounding out the Empire State  contingent will be  sophomore Joe Booth (19th at 157) of LI Lutheran HS, now at Drexel (PA)  and senior Eric Schuth (13th at 197) formerly from Brockport HS now at Ohio University.

Mat Notes...
Hofstra's opening home match will be against the University of Maryland on Saturday, December 11th, at 2:00 PM. The match will feature the return of Longwood HS star and two-time NCAA champion Kerry McCoy (Penn State) who is the head coach for the Terrapins. Another premier dual will be against number-one ranked Cornell University on Saturday, February 5th at 1:00 PM.
NCAA Mat Notes...
Three defending champions are in the field of 330 collegiate wrestlers, they are Matt McDonough (23-1) of Iowa at 125, sophomore Kyle Dake (26-2) of Cornell at 149 and Andrew Howe (22-2) of Wisconsin at 165 pounds. Two former NCAA champions drew the top seed in their respective weight classes: Darrion Cladwell (14-0) of North Carolina State at 149 and Jordan Burroughs (31-0) of Nebraska at 165.

Cornell returns the most NCAA points with 71, but the Big Red and their 9 qualifiers will have to dethrone defending champion Iowa who have won three consecutive NCAA team titles along with strong challenges from Penn State, Oklahoma State and Boise State. The last Eastern team to win the NCAAs was Penn State in 1953.

   A total of 15 undefeated wrestlers pace the NCAA meet with three at 157 pounds: top-seeded Adam Hall (25-0) of Boise State, #2- Steve Fittery (28-0) of American and #3-David Taylor (34-0) of Penn State. There are 60 returning NCAA All-Americans in the tournament.

New York State has 26 NCAA qualifiers, the leader in entrants is Pennsylvania with 46. The Mey's brothers from Shenendehowa HS are both entered at 174 pounds; Austin (21-9) of Lehigh and Hunter (24-7) of Boston University. Hofstra has 6 qualifiers including potential finalist #5 ranked Lou Ruggirello (28-3) at 133 pounds, along with possible AAs Paul Gillespie (25-7) at 165 and Ryan Patrovich (15-5) at 174 pounds...


Hofstra's Lou Ruggirello