The RIT Wrestling team may not be off to the best start this season (0-3), but that doesn’t mean they can’t put on one hell of a show. On December 9, the men in orange tights took on Ithaca’s Bombers. And you were probably cooped up in your room. For shame.
RIT took the mat, pacing back and forth like hungry predators stalking their prey. The way they carried themselves inspired hope in the audience as their hunger for victory steadily became apparent. If one were to judge the competition’s outcome solely on both teams’ show of adrenaline, then Ithaca’s idle approach to preparation would not inspire much confidence.
Second year Illustration major, Shin Wakabayashi, from the 125 lbs. weight class was first to take the mats. Within about a minute and a half, he made several shots at the legs of Ithaca’s Jon Gregory, but was brought down and kept on the mat. The match ended with a whimper when Gregory finally contorted Wakabayashi into a pin, but not before Ithaca racked up six points and the
first match win.
The 133 lbs. weight class was next with second year New Media Publishing major Chris Keeler facing Ithaca’s Chad Winowich. In the first round, they seemed evenly matched; each athlete threw frequent leg shots only to see the other reflexively sprawling away. Winowich caught lucky breaks in the second and third rounds to take Keeler to the mat, keeping him there for the remainder of each round. By the time the match was called, Ithaca had accumulated another six points while RIT was stuck with the goose egg.
The 141 lbs. weight class representative approached the mat. Unfortunately, it was going to get worse for RIT before it got better. Ithaca’s Jeremy Stierly overwhelmed first year Business Management major Tim Banks by making frequent, effective shots that Banks rarely seemed to get a break from. Using his agility to his advantage, Banks was able to escape Stierly’s grasp a few times. Although both athletes effectively wore each other down to the point of vulnerability, time ran out and Ithaca claimed another four points, bringing the score to 0-16, Ithaca.
University Studies major Dominique Graham was the next to represent RIT against Ithaca’s Evan Conor in the 149 lbs. weight class match. Soon after they shook hands and the match began, Conor had already established his dominance by refusing to relinquish Graham’s legs. This perilous position for RIT prompted coaches and teammates to shout out advice like “Sprawl!” and “Get outta there!,” but Conor had already brought Graham to the mat.
After two minutes of keeping RIT suppressed, Conor finished Graham off with an incredibly acrobatic pin to clinch it. 0-22, Ithaca.
With the emergence of RIT’s heavier weight talents came a slight bout of optimism as fourth year Accounting major Jason Wake steadily tipped momentum in the Tiger’s favor. Wake toyed with his prey, knocking the head of Ithaca’s Jason Fraser around to assert his power. Most of the match was spent fighting for wrist control as both of the competitors appeared evenly matched. Each party looked as if they could anticipate the other’s moves, resulting in several interesting stalemates which resulted in the ref bringing the wrestlers back to the center mat. In the later rounds, both competitors were steadily losing energy, but Wake never let Fraser get the better of him, escaping from his increasingly desperate attempts. Wake recognized this weakness and finally brought Fraser to the mat for RIT’s first non-escape points of the night. Wake struggled to keep the fight on the ground for the remainder of the match, scoring the first win and chalking up three points to Ithaca’s 22.
With RIT forfeiting due to the lack of wrestlers in the 165 lbs. weight class, Computer Engineering major Ben Johnstone stepped forward to continue with the
174 lbs. weight class match. He proved his strength by pulling and manipulating Ithaca’s Josue Mendez in an effort to catch him off guard. RIT brought Ithaca to the mat and used this opportunity to tire Mendez out. Although Mendez escaped once, RIT took the match, improving their score to six versus Ithaca’s 28.
If anything is to be noticed about hard-of-hearing first year Biotechnology major Dakota Tiger, let it be his uncanny speed. By taking advantage of his swiftness, he racked up a couple escapes throughout the match and let Ithaca fight themselves into a losing position. At the end of the three rounds, Tiger had shut out Ithaca 4-0 and clinched another win for RIT. The board now read 9-28, Ithaca.
Third year Mechanical Engineering major Stephan Avorkilya may have been a little discouraged walking to the middle circle, but still managed to brawl a long, arduous match. Avorkilya slipped up in the beginning, getting taken down by Ithaca’s David Sbriscia. Avorkilya, however, bounced back with an easy escape. The remainder of the match was essentially a series of these repeated events. Ithaca conclusively clinched the battle of the hard-to-spell last names simply by spending their energy wisely and stringing 3 points out of the Tigers to bring the cumulative
score to 9-31.
The final match between first year Game Design and Development major Somara Atkinson and Ithaca’s Matthew Mahon for the 285 lbs. weight class brought the night to an appropriate close. After Atkinson hilariously lost his shoe upwards of three times, Mahon exploited Atkinson’s size to wrangle him into a pin less than a minute into the first round.
Here’s to the Tigers pulling together late in the season, as they were shut out in their following contest, a 50-0 decision at SUNY Cortland.