After three years of speculation and anticipation, the news came down Friday evening that section IX standout, Cody Ruggirello, will join his older brother Lou, at Hofstra University in the Fall of 2010. Following the younger Ruggirello’s decision to give a verbal commitment to Pride Head Coach, Tom Shifflet, rumors immediately started that older brother will take a redshirt season in ’09-’10 to allow the siblings one year to wrestle together, something they last did in 2006 when Lou was a senior and Cody an eighth grader at Valley Central High School.
Cody Ruggirello, who set a sectional record for single season wins with 54 in 2009 as a junior, has been something of a hot commodity for colleges/universities this summer, as he was believed to have been drawing immensely strong interest from schools the likes of Cornell, Columbia, Harvard, Maryland, Virginia, as well as the Pride’s primary Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) rival, Old Dominion University….Ultimately, it was the 2007 NYS Champion’s burning desire to always want to reunite with his big brother on the collegiate scene that eventually proved to be the difference between what Hofstra could offer versus other institutional suitors….The full athletic scholastic that the rising senior was offered certainly could not have hurt either.
In addition to the aforementioned State title during his sophomore season, the four-time section IX champion has been no stranger to the podium at the NYS tournament. In four trips to the federation event, Ruggirello has never failed to finish lower than third (2006 @96 pounds; 2009 @130 pounds), and was a runner-up in 2008 when he lost a 2OT decision to current HU true freshman and future teammate, Steve Bonanno 5-4….He won his State crown by pinning another of his future teammates, fellow class of 2010 committee, Nick Arujau of Syosset.
This past March, Ruggirello proved that he is not just a big fish in a little pond when he travelled to Virginia Beach and placed 4th at the NHSCA Junior National tournament…This is an event that even older brother Lou did not win as he finished as the runner-up in 2005. However, if Lou’s level of progression between junior and senior year of high school is indicative of Cody’s, it could be said that the Pride just got themselves a steal….Lou would go on to put an emphatic cap on his high school career by winning the 2006 NHSCA national title….Cody will be hungry to mirror his brother’s accomplishments…But alas, Lou’s are not footsteps that are easily followed.
Since coming to the Hempstead, NY based school in the Fall of 2006, Lou Ruggirello has been about as impressive as one can be….Already a three-time conference champion, the NWCA Academic All-American selection has twice made it to the round of 12 at the NCAA tournament, and was the recipient of the Gorrarian award in 2008 as the top pinner in St. Louis….When he takes to the mat as a fifth year senior in 2010-2011, he will do so one victory short of joining the century club (99-21). In addition, with 42 careers wins by fall, the Zarb School of Business attendee is quickly fortifying his place as the University’s most prolific pinner of all-time.
Cody, who much to the dissatisfaction of several Empire State enthusiasts (myself included) did not make the InterMat top-100 recruits list, is the second high profile wrestler from New York this week to made his college announcements….On Monday, #68 recruit Stephen Dutton (Rocky Point) revealed his intentions to compete for the Mountain Hawks of Lehigh University.
With the addition of Ruggirello, who projects at 141 pounds at the next level, the Pride appear well on their way towards establishing great depth in the light and middle weight classes. Among Bonanno, Arujau, current HU RS freshman Justin Accordino (2009 CAA runner-up at 141 pounds), as well as a pair of talented 2009 signees in the persons of Jamie Franco and Luke Vaith, cracking the starting in 2011 will be no easy task…The future looks bright for the eight-time defending CAA Team Champions.