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.