The Pride Bring Home All-American Honors

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.

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.

Continue reading “The Pride Bring Home All-American Honors”

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.

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.

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

What a Difference a Year Makes for the Pride?

A year later, a year stronger, and determined to exorcise the curse from their wrestling souls, the Pride reclaimed the CAA title ripping away the title from the Binghamton Bearcats, the team who terminated their championship streak in 2010 at 9 straight, and qualified 7 athletes for the championships in Philadelphia PA.

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.  

Continue reading “What a Difference a Year Makes for the Pride?”

An Old Fashioned Long Island Wrestling Party…

It’s always exciting heading up to Albany to see the New York State high school wrestling championships. Long Islanders are used to being leaders at the annual state wrestling party.

long-islandIt’s always exciting heading up to Albany to see the New York State high school wrestling championships. Long Islanders are used to being leaders at the annual state wrestling party. Continue reading “An Old Fashioned Long Island Wrestling Party…”

Who Will Earn the Crown at the UE Duals?

On January 2nd, 13 ambitious teams from around New York State will make the trip to Union-Endicott to compete in New York’s most competitive dual meet tournament. Often the tournament champion is selected by the New York State Sports Writers Association (NYSSWA) as the number one team in the state. Though they use many events in their final selection, it is the keystone event in their analysis.

duelOn January 2nd, 13 ambitious teams from around New York State will make the trip to Union-Endicott to compete in New York’s most competitive dual meet tournament. Often the tournament champion is selected by the New York State Sports Writers Association (NYSSWA) as the number one team in the state. Though they use many events in their final selection, it is the keystone event in their analysis.  “Pound for pound U.E., for lack of a better system, is the closest thing to a NYS Dual Meet Championship Tourney,” said Glen Irving, the Wrestling Editor for the New York State Sportswriters Association.
Continue reading “Who Will Earn the Crown at the UE Duals?”

The John Glenn Tsunami Aims for the Team Title

Like a tsunami, the John Glenn wrestling program has been steadily and quietly closing in on Section XI dominance. From an undistinguished Section XI finish in 2003 followed by incremental and steady improvement, the John Glenn tsunami hit shore in 2009 leaving a path of destruction in its wake. There were hints of what was to come in 2008 when they placed fourth in Section XI behind perennial powerhouses Brentwood, Hauppauge, and Huntington. Still, many have pierced Section XI’s top 5 standing only to have fallen out contention the following season.

Tahiti WaveTsunami – an unusually large sea wave produced by a seaquake or undersea volcanic eruption.

Like a tsunami, the John Glenn wrestling program has been steadily and quietly closing in on Section XI dominance.  From an undistinguished Section XI finish in 2003 followed by incremental and steady improvement,   the tsunami hit shore in 2009 leaving a path of destruction in its wake.  There were hints of what was to come in 2008 when they placed fourth in Section XI behind perennial powerhouses Brentwood, Hauppauge, and Huntington.  Still, many have pierced Section XI’s top 5 standing only to have fallen out contention the following season. Continue reading “The John Glenn Tsunami Aims for the Team Title”

Why “NOT” Wrestle

While reading Coach Bevilacqua’s article “WHY WRESTLE” it certainly got me to thinking. His understanding of wrestling is obvious, and he seems to have been involved with the sport forever. He points out many of the details that make the sport of wrestling in my option the greatest sport in the world. I will not go over all the reason Coach Bevilacqua gives because if you have read the article, you already know. If you haven’t, then go and do so.

Alexander Karelin
Alexander Karelin

While reading Coach Bevilacqua’s article “WHY WRESTLE” it certainly got me to thinking. His understanding of wrestling is obvious, and he seems to have been involved with the sport forever.  He points out many of the details that make the sport of wrestling in my option the greatest sport in the world. I will not go over all the reason Coach Bevilacqua gives because if you have read the article, you already know. If you haven’t, then go and do so. Continue reading “Why “NOT” Wrestle”

Mike Simon Leads the Hawks (Hunter College)

Hunter College, a New York City Division III wrestling program, takes to the mat for the 2009-2010 season under the leadership of interim head coach, Mike Simon. After thirty continuous seasons, Bob Gaudenzi will take a temporary leave from his head coaching duties. For Simon, the head coaching role is the realization of a dream that was first planted when he began wrestling in the 8th grade at Warwick Rhode Island.

Interim Head Coach Mike Simon
Interim Head Coach Mike Simon

Hunter College, a New York City Division III wrestling program, takes to the mat for the 2009-2010 season under the leadership of interim head coach, Mike Simon. After thirty continuous seasons, Bob Gaudenzi will take a temporary leave from his head coaching duties. For Simon, the head coaching role is the realization of a dream that was first planted when he began wrestling in the 8th grade at Warwick Rhode Island. Continue reading “Mike Simon Leads the Hawks (Hunter College)”

Top 10 Signs Wrestling Season is Near

As a new wrestling season approaches, there are things I notice that get me longing for the start of the season and competition. Here’s my list. Pick your top sign of the start of new wrestling season with a vote in the poll, or submit your own top 10 with a comment.

As a new wrestling season approaches, there are things I notice that get me longing for the start of the season and competition.  Here’s my list.   Pick your top sign of the start of new wrestling season with a vote in the poll, or submit your own top 10 with a comment.

10 – Everyone has stopped talking about Fargo.
9 – Summer heat tournament has come and gone.
8 – School has started.
7 – The Giants are 5 and 0.
6 – Pre-season rankings are posted on many wrestling web sites.
5 – The super-32 is a week away.
4 – Marty and Bobby debate on the forums about how wrestling was better in 70’s.
3 – The leaves have all fallen from the trees.
2 – HS football playoffs have started.
1 – Thanksgiving is here, and it’s the last big meal until March.

Vote in the poll to identify your top sign from the list.

[poll id=”30″]

A Schoolboy All American Journey

In the “Way of Lao-tzu” it is said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” For most athletes taking their first step on a wrestling mat, the destination often proves elusive. Of the few wrestlers who manage to defy the odds and attain All American honors, even fewer attain the title so shortly after the referee’s first whistle. For many, the journey starts as early as five and only after many years of practice and competition.

matt leshinger 2
Matt after Award Ceremonies

In the “Way of Lao-tzu” it is said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” For most athletes taking their first step on a wrestling mat, the destination often proves elusive.  Of the few wrestlers who manage to defy the odds and attain All American honors, even fewer attain the title so shortly after the referee’s first whistle.  For many, the journey starts as early as five and only after many years of practice and competition.   And yet, after only eighteen months, Matt Leshinger of Sayville High School stood tall among the podium earning School Boy All American honors on June 10 in Orem, Utah on the campus of Utah State University, having taken the Gold Medal in the New York State Greco Roman championships, the Silver Medal in the New York State Freestyle Championships, and the Silver Medal in both the Eastern Regional Freestyle and Greco Roman Championships along the way.  “I was kind of surprised by the success,” said Matt. “I was not ready to wrestle 68 matches in the offseason.” Continue reading “A Schoolboy All American Journey”

Wrestling is a Way of Life

Someone once said, “Wrestling is not a sport, it is a way of life” Often “civilians” laugh at this statement, thinking it just a silly boast. However, I hope now when you are frustrated trying to explain to one who mocks and says, “What’s the big deal about this wrestling anyway?” you will hand them this letter and just maybe they will begin to understand. anyway I know that you do!

This was written on December 15th 1998 and published in Wrestling USA magazine at that time.

Last year, I was fortunate enough to be hired to teach at my former high school. In addition, I was ecstatically happy to be working closely with the new Island Trees wrestling coaches. They were diligently rebuilding a program that had for many years been a wrestling powerhouse, until the death of their legendary coach Ted Petersen. Continue reading “Wrestling is a Way of Life”

Program provides opportunities for youth

It’s a cool summer evening at the Linden Recreation Center where people are taking time out of their day to enjoy the weather. As some sit on park benches talking, kids play on the playground and the North East Falcons youth football team begins fitting its players with equipment. One way or another, the people there are taking it easy, except for those inside the center itself. continue reading

Why Wrestle?

I’m working on an essay to be published on this site with the title, Why Wrestle!   I thought it would be fun to hear views from the wrestling community as to why they embrace this sport as avidly as they do.   I’m looking for views not just from the competitors.  I’d like to hear from the fans, the parents, the spouses, coaches, prominent figures in the media, and of course the competitors.  Depending on the response, I will take some of your thoughts and weave it into the essay with full attribution.  If you’d like to contribute your thoughts, please submit a comment (all comments are moderated so there is a delayafter submission before they appear on the site ) or email me at webmaster(at)lighthousewrestling(dot)com. 

Mighty Max: Soria Finishes A Great Year for the Brother Tandem As A National FS Runner-up

Two minutes ! This was how close to the 98-pound Junior National freestyle title rising Kings Park senior, Maxwell Soria, was this morning as he kicked off the final day of the week long festivities under the FargoDome….Winning the first period 2-0 against his finals opponent, Ruben Navejas of Washington, on the strength of a counter roll-through, Soria was the closest to the crown that any Empire Stater had been over the course of the past seven days….But, as simplistic as it may sound, a championship for New York was just not meant to be. Continue reading “Mighty Max: Soria Finishes A Great Year for the Brother Tandem As A National FS Runner-up”

Back Home In Indiana: Former Pride Assistant, Dubuque, Returns to Hoosiers

Following several weeks of underground rumor and scuttlebutt that Joe Dubuque would not be returning for a fourth season on the Pride bench, the news came down yesterday morning that the former two-time NCAA titlist would be returning to the place that made him the champion that he is today, Bloomington, Indiana. Continue reading “Back Home In Indiana: Former Pride Assistant, Dubuque, Returns to Hoosiers”

His-Story & Lessons Learned

The rapid growth of club wrestling in recent years has brought numerous positive impacts to scholastic wrestling. Year around training under the guidance of highly skilled club coaches, as well as personal trainers, has raised scholastic wrestling skills to unprecedented levels.

Club Training Issues 

by Dave Caslow

caslow The rapid growth of club wrestling in recent years has brought numerous positive impacts to scholastic wrestling.  Year around training under the guidance of highly skilled club coaches, as well as personal trainers, has raised scholastic wrestling skills to unprecedented levels.  Continue reading “His-Story & Lessons Learned”

Ivy-League Cornell Takes On College Wrestling’s Giants

“Arising from the east may be the most prodigious group of red wrestlers since the fall of the Soviet Union — and the least likely. Cornell University, coming off its third straight victory in the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association tournament held this past weekend in Philadelphia, has the second-ranked wrestling team in the nation. Rarely has an East Coast team been ranked so high; for the Ivy League, it is unprecedented.”

by DAN ACKMAN

“Arising from the east may be the most prodigious group of red wrestlers since the fall of the Soviet Union — and the least likely. Cornell University, coming off its third straight victory in the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association tournament held this past weekend in Philadelphia, has the second-ranked wrestling team in the nation. Rarely has an East Coast team been ranked so high; for the Ivy League, it is unprecedented.”

Read more at the Wall Street Journal

Altons Double the Gold!

Brothers Andrew and Dylan Alton (earlier in the season we published an interview with their father) take home the gold Saturday at the PIAA Class AAA State championships as they become the first Central Mountain wrestlers to take back-to-back state titles. This marked the first time the brothers won major titles together.

Brothers Andrew and Dylan Alton (earlier in the season we published an interview with their father) take home the gold Saturday at the PIAA Class AAA State championships as they become the first Central Mountain wrestlers to take back-to-back state titles.  This marked the first time the brothers won major titles together. Continue reading “Altons Double the Gold!”

Farrell Wins First CHSAA State Crown Since 1990; 5 Champions Repeat

As I rode upstate to Athol Springs, NY with Monsignor Farrell Assistant Coach, Jason Bross, I was told the story of how the Lions’ coaching staff assembled one day approximately four years ago and looked to the future. With a talented, but still raw group of freshmen staring them in the face, the MF brain trust knew that the day was near that the Staten Island based school would again claim the hardware

msgrfarrelAs I rode upstate to Athol Springs, NY with Monsignor Farrell Assistant Coach, Jason Bross, I was told the story of how the Lions’ coaching staff assembled one day approximately four years ago and looked to the future.  With a talented, but still raw group of freshmen staring them in the face, the MF brain trust knew that the day was near that the Staten Island based school would again claim the hardware that had eluded them for nearly two decades.  A lot of insiders felt that 2008 would be the year that the Lions returned to the top of the hill.  However, having been left without the services of senior leader, Rich Benigno, due to unfortunate circumstances, the Lou DeStefano led Lions had to watch as Chaminade High School claimed their sixth consecutive Catholic State Crown. Since that day, every hour, minute, and second of the past year has been focused on one common goal, to win it all in 2009.  With a core group of four returning champions, and six additional CHSAA State placewinners returning from last year’s runner-up squad, it there was ever a time to believe that the CHSAA State crown was S.I. bounded, it was now….

And today, at a little past 6pm, belief turned itself in reality.  Led by five champions and four runners-up Monsignor Farrell had finally earned the right to call themselves the best Catholic league wrestling team in New York State.   The blood, sweat, tears, etc endured over the last 365 has yielded a gold mine.  And in this gold mine, was a community of parents, coaches, and overall friends of the program that were brought to outbursts of tears as they watched their boys realize their collective dreams. Continue reading “Farrell Wins First CHSAA State Crown Since 1990; 5 Champions Repeat”

A Day When Big Dreams Came One Day Closer to Being Realized

After a day when every competitor put it all on the line for their dreams, I left the arena that evening in awe of all the athletes: winners and losers. Everyone one of these boys came to wrestle their hearts out, and if you were present on Friday, you were privileged to witness an exciting day of wrestling from the opening pigtail round to the final whistle of the 285 pound wrestle backs.

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Jon Hoeg(Mt. Sinai) dec Kyle Wade(Islip) 5-3 OT

After a day when every competitor put it all on the line for their dreams, I left the arena that evening in awe of all the athletes: winners and losers.  Everyone one of these boys came to wrestle their hearts out, and if you were present on Friday, you were privileged to witness an exciting day of wrestling from the opening pigtail round to the final whistle of the 285 pound wrestle backs.  Continue reading “A Day When Big Dreams Came One Day Closer to Being Realized”

Cornell Pounds Hofstra 27-12;
Sends Senior Lucas Out With A Whimper

The last time that the Hofstra University wrestling team took the mat in their home arena, they fought tooth and nail, making the Ohio State University earn every inch of their 19-13 dual victory.  Sunday February 8th was an entirely different story.  On a day that the Hempstead based university honored greatness and committment, the athletes representing the host school seemed to struggle to find that same magic that made their dual with the Buckeyes so special, falling to the third ranked team in the country, Cornell, 27-12.

Kicking off the dual at 125 pounds, Cornell’s two-time All-American, Troy Nickerson won a battle of former New York State Champions, controlling the action from the feet to the tune of four takedowns, including a final score with approximately five seconds remaining in the match to secure bonus points for the visiting Big Red.   While Bonanno did battle valiantly, avoiding any nearfall points against the always tough on top Nickerson, his inexperience showed, as he was repeatedly out muscled and outworked by the Cornell veteran.   Continue reading “Cornell Pounds Hofstra 27-12;
Sends Senior Lucas Out With A Whimper

Buckeyes/Charities Are Winners In Ryan’s Homecoming

tom-ryan(Hempstead, NY)—At the end of the day, the scoreboard read: Ohio State University 19, Hofstra University 13.  However, if you are someone who only looked at the box score, you really have no idea what today’s festivities were all about.  Yes, it was a dual meet between two top-20 teams.  However, it was also a lot more than that.  It was a return home for Buckeye Coach, Tom Ryan, who in addition to calling Hofstra University home for 11 seasons (1995-2006) as their head coach, is also Long Island born and bred, shaping his craft at Wantagh High School before going on to NCAA glory at first Syracuse and then Iowa;  It was also a day for paying respect to three people whose names will forever live in the hearts ad minds of HU fans everywhere—Ray Downey, Rudy Fiorvanti, and Teague Ryan.  Ohio State may have won a wrestling match. Yet, for the approximately 2,000 people in attendance this afternoon, Sunday January 25th was a day were we all got our hands raised. 

Continue reading “Buckeyes/Charities Are Winners In Ryan’s Homecoming”

Sometimes When You Believe The Impossible the Incredible Comes True!

Remember in the movie “Field of Dreams” the voice said.. build it they will come…I heard the voice.. I built it and they did come!..60 and strong wrestling alumni from Island Trees High School encircled the brand new mat that had just been dedicated.

bulldogRemember in the movie “Field of Dreams” the voice said.. build it they will come…I heard the voice.. I built it and they did come!..60 and strong wrestling alumni from Island Trees High School encircled the brand new mat that had just been dedicated. Mrs Petersen “the Mother of Island Trees wrestling” was called forth to cut the red ribbon the wrestlers held across the new mat. Continue reading “Sometimes When You Believe The Impossible the Incredible Comes True!”

Wrestling Mentality

Many people think I’m crazy…crazy about the sport of wrestling, but those of us that know better know it’s more than being a sports fanatic. Someone said once that “wrestling is not a sport, it’s a philosophy – a way of life”.

Many people think I’m crazy…crazy about the sport of wrestling, but those of us that know better know it’s more than being a sports fanatic. Someone said once that “wrestling is not a sport, it’s a philosophy – a way of life”.

In the sport of wrestling you and your adversary are matched by weight but not necessarily as “equals”.  Both know why they are there facing each other, both have the same goal.  The goal is to put the opponent to their back for the pin, “the ultimate win !” Continue reading “Wrestling Mentality”