Replay of 2011 NYS D1 Championship Finals

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Visit for the replay of the Divison 1 Finals webcast.

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Editor’s Message

drive-sunset With disappointment and relief, I wish to inform the Lighthouse audience that our coverage of the 2010-11 season was our last. Many factors contributed to this decision. Suffice it to say, it regrettably did not work.

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Teaching Drills for Improving the BIG THREE: Part 3 Deadlift Drills

Teaching Drills for Improving the BIG THREE: Part 3 Deadlift Drills

By John Gaglione Continue reading

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Teaching Drills for Improving the BIG THREE: Part 2 Bench Press Drills

Teaching Drills for Improving the BIG THREE: Part 2 Bench Press Drills

By John Gaglione

Bench Press with RNT

Supine Bench with RNT

The bench press is probably without a doubt the most popular exercise in the United States. No one ever asks “How much do you deadlift?”, but at some point someone will ask you “How mucha bench?!?” Whatever you answer be it 225 or 495 that person will tell you how they used to bench that before a shoulder injury or their buddy’s cousin benched 600 back in high school, but let’s not get off topic…

If you walk into any commercial gym you will see many variations of the bench press and most of them are NOT good. Whether it be half reps, benching to what seems like their neck region or just bouncing it off their chest or what seemed like a contest on who can break their sternum first! The bottom line is most people just need to learn how to bench properly.  Of course there are finer points for competition lifters, but athletes and general fitness trainees alike can take a lot of technique pointers from a good competition bench press.

The first learn we will talk about it elbow and shoulder position in the bench press. The elbows should be “tucked” in towards the body at the bottom of the press. The upper arm should form about a 45 degree angle with the body. You will see many people’s upper arms form a 90 degree angle with their body (keeping the elbows out). This creates a lot of stress on the shoulder.  By tucking the elbows it will reduce the rotation of the shoulder and provide a lot less stress on the joint when going through a full range of motion. Remember the bench press is a total body exercise we aren’t looking to isolate the “pecs” here. Our goal is to build maximize upper body strength and power so we want to be as efficient as possible.

Bench With RNT Standing

We can use a band around the wrist to teach proper pressing technique. The band we force the wrist together and cause the elbows to “flare” out.  By spreading the band apart this will activate the muscles in the upper back and cause the lifter to press with a more efficient technique.  The band will help the lifter feel the stabilizer muscles in the upper back “turn on” and can be used to help the lifter feel what tucking the elbows feels like for the bench press.  This is another form of RNT(reactive neuromuscular training) because it forces the lifter into the problem and lifter must actively fire their muscles in order to correct themselves.

Give the bench press with RNT a try if you are having trouble tucking the elbows and achieving the upper back during the bench press. It is important to think about “bending the bar” or “pulling the bar apart” when pressing to activate the upper back and keep the elbows tucked. Here is a video below.

Notice how I “tuck” the elbows as I lower the band to my chest and “flare” them out as I push the band away from me.  A useful cue for this is to think about “pulling the bar apart” or my personal favorite try and “bend the bar” as you lower it. By utilizing this style of pressing in your workout you will greatly reduce the stress on your shoulders (versus a typical “body building” style bench) as well as increase your overall stability in the lowering phase of the bench press.

This style of benching is more beneficial in the long run and will help activate more musculature as well as reduce shoulder injuries in the future.

Reverse Band Bench Rows

Reverse Band Bench  Rows

In the previous section we discussed working on tucking the elbows in the bench press. In this section we are going to talk about proper set up for the bench press and activating the lats during the movement. Reverse Band Bench Rows are a great way to teach an athlete to activate their lats in the bench press.

The lats are a very important stabilizer for all pressing movements. The athlete should think about “pulling” the bar down and keeping the “belly up” when benching. This will allow great control of the press and eliminate any bouncing you see at the local gym. The larger and thicker the upper back and lats are will also help create a very stable base to press from.  Reverse band bench rows are a great way to strengthen the lats as well as teach proper technique for the bench. If the athlete tries to pull the bar down to high on their chest with their elbows out they will have a much harder time getting the bar down. When the athlete set up with good technique and creates tension throughout the entire body  they will have a much easier time getting the bar down and they will find their natural bench groove(bar path).

Set up bands on top of a power rack as if you were performing a reverse band bench press. The bar should sit right about where you would lock out a bench. Get a good set up on the bench with the shoulder blades pulled down and back and get the feet and legs set tight on the bench. Grab the bar with your normal bench grip and focus on pulling the bar down and keeping the belly up. It is important to drive the heels down into the floor and suck big air in the belly to create tightness throughout the entire body. By doing this the athlete will get tight through their lats, abs and glutes. This creates a very stable platform to press from.

Reverse Band Bench rows are a great way to improve pressing technique and teaching the lifter to utilize the lats in the bench press. This exercise will help you become rock solid during all of your pressing attempts!

Educate, Motivate, Dominate

-Coach Gaglione

About the Author

Coach John Gaglione is a Sport Performance Specialist out of Long Island New York and the director of strength and conditioning for Plainedge High School’s Football and Wrestling Programs. An avid strength sport athlete John also competes in powerliftering and kettlebell strong sport competitions. If you would like to learn more about John you can reach him at or e-mail him at

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Teaching Drills for Improving the BIG THREE: Part 1 Squat Drills

Teaching Drills for Improving the BIG THREE: Part 1 Squat Drills Continue reading

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Congratulations Chris Perez on Winning the 2011 Lighthouse Ranking Contest

First, I’d like to congratulate Chris Perez on an outstanding season culminating with a Silver Medal finish at Senior Nationals this weekend. Congratulations Chris, and I wish you well at Princeton. Continue reading

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The Pride Bring Home All-American Honors

Lou Riggirello vs Futrell

Lou Riggirello vs Futrell

PHILADELPHIA – After three grueling days of competition, heart attack moments, setbacks, incredible determination, and persistence in spite of the ever present obstacles, two Hofstra Pride wrestlers emerged from the cheers and hollers of Philadelphia with All-American honors in the 2011 championships. Senior Lou Ruggirello captured a 7th place finish at the 133lbs weight class, and junior PJ Gillespie returned with an 8th place finish at 165lbs.

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2011 Consolation Finals Photos

[album: http://lhw/wp-content/albums/2011-ncaa-consolationfinals/]

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2011 NCAA Semifinal Photos

[album: http://lhw/wp-content/albums/2011-ncaa-semi/]

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NCAA 2011 Tournament Semifinal Preview

PrintPHILADELPHIA – By Bill Miller and Pete Candito, After bouncing between 2 and 4 in the standings, the Cornell Big Red emerged the team leader after the quarterfinal round.  Only a half a point separates them from their Eastern Rival, Penn State.  The top three team leaders are Cornell with 61, Penn State with 60.5, and Iowa with 51.5 points. 

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Some Eastern Magic in Philly – Penn State and Cornell On Top in a Tight Team Race

The Wrestling Witch of the East showed up in the form of Penn State blue and Cornell red and worked its magic as the 2 eastern teams moved ahead of Iowa. One of these teams could be making a bid to be the first eastern team to win a national wrestling title since Penn State in 1953.

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What a Difference a Year Makes for the Pride?

r1-934R3574In the 2010 championships in Omaha Nebraska, the Hofstra Pride wrestling team sent two grapplers to compete for All-American titles.  Their stranglehold on the CAA conference title was smashed when their top athletes fell to season ending injuries.   Unlike season’s past when the Pride would wrestle deep and return with hardware, they exited the tournament on the first day after having compiled a 1 and 4 record.  

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2011 First Round Review

934R3484PHILADELPHIA, PA – Wrestling fans gathered this morning at the Wells Fargo Arena and devoted there attention to the mosaic of red, black, blue, and gold as battle hardened grapplers took their turn upon the stage.   The first round had its share of heartbreaks and exhilaration, and  while some of our favorites fell, others unexpectedly triumphed.

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2011 NCAA Wrestling First Round Photos

[album: http://lhw/wp-content/albums/2011-ncaa/]

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2011 NCAA Championships Live Stats

Visit for live results.

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Interviews with the 2011 CAA Champions

On Tuesday evening I had the opportunity to visit and speak with the 2011 CAA Conference champions about reclaiming the CAA title, their season, and their hopes for the big dance in Philly next week. With midterms and other responsibilities not all of the wrestlers were available, yet I was able to speak with CAA runner-ups Steven Bonanno and PJ Gillespie; Champions Ben Clymer and Paul Snyder; and Assistant Coach and now head coach Rob Anspach. Given the time when I was available and the juggling act we all do with, Tom Shifflet was unable to make it, but I have posted an interview that Tom did with Scott Casber of TDR.

Upon the end of every season, it greets with sweet sorrow as the seniors we’ve come to warmly embrace and hold dear will adorn the Pride singlet for the very last time. I believe I can speak for every Pride fan when I say that you made us all proud to say that we are Hofstra Pride Wrestling fans. There were so many memorable moments. Lou Ruggirello, you will always be remembered as the lean, mean pinning machine. You could feel the uneasiness in every top wrestler who entered the circle with you in the Mack Center. Ryan Patrovich, your gutsy hard-nosed style delivered intensity and excitement in every bout. Thanks for the fond memories, and we’re all in your corner next week in Philly.

It is sad to learn of Coach Tom Shifflet’s parting upon the end of the season. Shifflet’s first season with the Pride was the most exciting ever in Pride history. To witness the Pride defeat a number of top 10 ranked dual meet teams and finally place 7th at NCAA was amazing. Who would have thought it was possible to take on the nation’s best and reign victorious.

But what impressed me most was his perseverance after a difficult season in 2009-10 when the Pride’s stranglehold on the CAA conference was broken. He didn’t let on to how disappointed he was, but instead went straight to the business of reclaiming the title. And you did it in spite of all the challenges that could have derailed the goal again. Congratulations coach. You’re a champion and leader in my eyes. And I’m sure I can say on behalf of all the fans that you will be missed, and we wish you and your family tremendous happiness and success in your new journey. Thank you for the memories, your dedication, and commitment to excellence.

Here are the interviews. Enjoy. I have some casual conversation with the wrestlers where they talk about their college wresting experiences. I will be posting shortly, so come back.

Congratulations 2011 CAA Champions. We wish you success in Philly.

Steve Bonanno


Ben Clymer


Paul Snyder


PJ Gillespie


Rob Anspach


Tom Shifflet

Tom Shifflet Speaks with TDR on his New Opportunity

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EIWA Tourney Recap

LEWISBURG, Pa. — When the dust settled at Sojka Pavilion on the campus of Bucknell University, the 107th EIWA Championships provided a fair share of upsets, dominating performances, and all around great matchups. While the nation’s best team proved why they are the best, a handful of teams left Lewisburg, Pa., with plenty to cheer about. Here’s a look at how the top five teams finished up: Continue reading

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In Memoriam – Dr. Vince Zuaro

Vince past away last evening Friday- March 3rd, 2011

The Family has announced that there will be a wake on
Monday, March 7th from 2pm-4pm & 7pm-9pm
Franklin Funeral Home
1201 Franklin Avenue
Garden City, NY 11530

There will be a Interment Mass on Tuesday

St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church
Garden City, NY 11530

God Speed Vince and Pray for our country!

Here’s Vince at Hofstra’s Alumni day in December. There some very funny moments. For those who don’t know him, you get a glimpse into the man. He talks about the picture on the page. 

Vincent Zuaro Part 1

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Vincent Zuaro Part 2

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Cornell EIWA Updates

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Takedown Wrestling’s Annual NCAA Championship Preview

Takedown Wrestling to Host Annual NCAA Championships Preview Show Division I Brackets to be Broken Down March 9

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2011 Division 1 Preview and Predictions from Up North

by Tim Monahan
2011 Divison 1 Wrestling Championships preview and predictions.

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CJ Labate Pinning His Sights on a Title

by Nancy Triosi

Before an enthusiastic crowd at Stony Brook University Arena on the evening of February 14th, CJ Labate of Commack stepped out of the shadows and into the spotlight to declare his presence to the New York wrestling community.  On his journey to this auspicious moment, CJ slayed five of six challengers by pin fall and wrestled a total of 22.5 minutes out of a maximum 36.

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2011 New York State Wrestling Championship Coverage

Lighthouse Wrestling will cover the 2 day event beginning on Friday, February 25.  We will deliver day one coverage all day via live blog.  Day two coverage will be live audio for semifinals, live video for finals and live blog for wrestlebacks.   Visit for coverage.

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2011 New York State Wrestling Championship Preview (Division 1)

96 Pounds

Kyle Kelly (sec. 4 Chenago Forks) is the returning forth place state place-winner. But keep an eye on Nick Piccininni of section 11 Ward Melville. Dylan Realbuto of sec. 1 – Somers won the Eastern States. Kelly and Robert Person (sec. 8 pound champ from Bellmoe JFK) clash in what could be an interesting first round match.
FINALS PREDICTION: Piccininni (11) or Kelly (4) vs. Realbuto (1) Continue reading

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EIWA weekly review: Cornell claims Ivy League crown

While a 40-9 win over Harvard may seem like just another day at work for Cornell, the season-ending dual victory marked the ninth-straight year in which the Big Red claim the Ivy League crown.

Harvard’s heavy hitters got their licks in with Stephen Keith (125) and Walter Peppelman (157) scoring wins in individual bouts, but outside of those two matches, Cornell was in total control. Mike Grey (133), Justin Kerber (165), Mack Lewnes (174), and Cam Simaz (197) all claimed pins as the Big Red finished the dual meet portion of their schedule with a 13-1 record.

Earlier in the week, Cornell earned its 12th win of the season when the team blanked Brown, 44-0. Seven of 10 grapplers earned bonus points for the Big Red. Continue reading

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EIWA weekly review: Rutgers comes from behind to best American

It all came down to bonus points Wednesday night in New Brunswick in a conference against two of the EIWA’s top programs in Rutgers and American. Both the Scarlet Knights and the Eagles claimed five bouts apiece, but in the end a major decision from Alex Caruso (174) and a pin from Dan Rinaldi (184) gave Rutgers the 19-15 victory.

The win is the 16th in a row for the Scarlet Knights as they improved to 20-1 and the loss drops American to 12-6 in dual meet action. Continue reading

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