CAA Tournament Preview (UPDATED W/RESULTS)

This weekend, Hofstra University will be looking to add their ninth consecutive conference tournament championship to the trophy case.  However, unlike the previous eight seasons where the Pride entered the tournament as the favorites, 2009 marks a new role for Coach Tom Shifflet’s team, that of underdog.

Much of this shakeup at the top can be attributed to the emergence of Old Dominion University.  Under the leadership of Coach Steve Martin, the Monarchs have assembled some of the deepest recruiting classes over the course of the last two or three seasons.  And, all of a sudden, the efforts off of the mat are starting to pay significant dividends on it, as more than half of the Monarch starters found themselves seeded either #1 or #2 when the official tournament brackets were released late last night.

Having already snapped the Pride’s consecutive conference dual winning streak (formerly the longest in the nation) earlier in the season, the Monarchs would like nothing better than to be able to complete the sweep by becoming the first school not named Hofstra to hoist the CAA title at the end of competition on Saturday evening.

Equally important, as the team race, is the fierce individual battle as wrestlers from eight institutions of higher learning will assemble at Oscar Smith High School (Chesapeake, VA) today to begin a journey that hopefully ends with an automatic birth to the NCAA National tournament in St. Louis, Missouri.   Under the new qualification system, the Colonial Athletic Association is guaranteed 20 automatic qualifiers (125/2; 133/1; 141/1; 149/1; 157/2; 165/2; 174/4; 184/2; 197/4; 285/1). 

Action starts today at 11am and will conclude with tomorrow’s finals beginning at 1pm.


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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

#23 Hofstra/#3 Cornell Preview (UPDATED W/RESULTS)

athletics

What: #23 Hofstra University vs. #3 Cornell University

When: Sunday February 8th, 2009

Time: 5pm EST

Where: David S. Mack Sports and Exhibition Complex

Coverage: Live Text (Courtesy of Light House Wrestling)

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#23 Hofstra vs. #3 Cornell—Live Text (COMPLETED)

LIVE RESULTS (FINAL)

#3 Cornell- 27

#23 Hofstra- 12

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#21 Hofstra/UPenn Preview (UPDATED W/RESULTS)

athletics

What: #21 Hofstra University vs.  The University of Pennsylvania

When: Saturday January 31st, 2009

Time: 1pm EST

Where: The Palestra (Philadelphia, PA)

Coverage: Live Video (Courtesy of the UPenn Network)

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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. 

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#20 Hofstra/#5 Ohio State—Live Text (COMPLETED)

LIVE RESULTS (Final)

#5 Ohio State- 19

#20 Hofstra- 13

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#20 Hofstra/#5 Ohio State Preview (UPDATED W/RESULTS)

athletics

What: #20 Hofstra University vs. #5 Ohio State

When: Sunday January 25th, 2009

Time: 1pm EST

Where: David S. Mack Sports And Exhibition Complex

Coverage: Live Text Coverage (Courtesy of LighthouseWrestling)

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#18 Hofstra/North Carolina State Preview (UPDATED W/RESULTS)

athletics

What: #19 Hofstra University vs. North Carolina State

When: Sunday January 11th, 2009

Time: 1pm EST 

Where: David S. Mack Sports And Exhibition Complex

Coverage: HAWC (Hofstra Online Radio)

Continue reading “#18 Hofstra/North Carolina State Preview (UPDATED W/RESULTS)”

#19 Hofstra/Binghamton Preview (UPDATED W/RESULTS)

athletics

What: #19 Hofstra University vs. Binghamton

When: Friday December 12th, 2008

Time: 7pm EST

Where: David S. Mack Sports And Exhibition Complex

Coverage: Live Text (Courtesy of LighthouseWrestling.com)

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LHW’s Wrestler of the Week (12/1): Stephen Bonanno

When you think of Wantagh, the first wrestler that comes to most people’s mind is Paul Liguori, but greatness often comes in pairs, and in Wantagh’s case, greatness came in 3’s with the trio of Paul Liguori, Paul Greishiemer, and Steve Bonanno: a kind of Three Musketeers, if you would.

When you think of Wantagh, the first wrestler that comes to most people’s mind is Paul Liguori, but greatness often comes in pairs, and in Wantagh’s case, greatness came in 3’s with the trio of Paul Liguori, John Greishiemer, and Steve Bonanno: a kind of Three Musketeers, if you would. 

Over the last three years this trio of Wantagh wrestlers has been devastating the local competition, and now with Steve Bonanno, starting freshman at Hofstra University, we are seeing a sneak preview of what this trio plans to unleash upon their NCAA D1 competitors.  It’s gonna be AWESOME! Continue reading “LHW’s Wrestler of the Week (12/1): Stephen Bonanno”

Missouri – 22 Hofstra – 12

Hofstra comes up short against Missouri losing 22 to 12

Hofstra arrived at Missouri with high hopes for an upset that was not to be; however, they continued to show the promise of this young Pride team. Many of the matches were razor thin: Ryan Patrovich loses by one giving up a point to riding time; Alton Lucas loses a nail biter in overtime, and Jordan Eck loses a tough battle in the 3rd period when he gives up a reversal to lose 4-2.  If the Pride win any two of those bouts, they win the dual meet and add another impressive upset in their drive to March.   The Pride have put the nation on notice: The Pride mean business, and you better bring your “A” game to beat them. Continue reading “Missouri – 22 Hofstra – 12”

NYS Champ Franco Commits to Wrestle For Pride

It is now being reported by InterMat that 2008 New York State Champion, Jamie Franco, gave a verbal commitment to Hofstra University over the weekend.

Franco, whose DI title last season came at 125 pounds when he defeated fellow junior Shawn Brown 2-0, becomes the second member of the class of 2009 to make Hempstead, NY his home for the next 4-5 years.  He joins Minnesota’s Luke Vaith who committed in early October.

The Monroe-Woodbury product has placed at the state tournament every year since 8th grade.  If he is successful in finishing top-6 again this year, which almost everyone expects him to do, he will join a very exclusive company of wrestlers who have earned all-state honors five times in their career.  Equally impressive is the fact that he has never suffered a loss at the NYS tournament to a wrestler who did not go on and win an eventual state crown.
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Okie Hokie….Pair of Top-100 Recruits Spurn Pride

On October 13th, I contacted an inside source within the Hofstra University Wrestling program to congratulate him on getting a verbal commitment from three-time Minnesota AAA State place-winner, Luke Vaith.

On October 13th, I contacted an inside source within the Hofstra University Wrestling program to congratulate him on getting a verbal commitment from three-time Minnesota AAA State place-winner, Luke Vaith.

The commitment of Vaith, a 2008 State Runner-up who also brings with him a resume that includes three All-American finishes in the international styles at the cadet and junior levels, was said to be the precursor; The first of what was shaping up to be a very promising recruiting class; An indication that the Pride were well on their way towards maintaining the stranglehold they have enjoyed in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) for the past seven seasons; An answer to Old Dominion Coach, Steve Martin, who had already secured verbals from the #44 and #53 recruits in the nation…Vaith was the beginning, but certainly not the end.

Two more elite recruits were believed to be on their way…As late as last week, each had informed the HU coaching staff that the Hempstead based campus remained their top choice. The verbals were coming “any day now”….And then, one week later, it all fell apart. There would be no blue and gold in the futures of Erik Spjut and Jake Kemerer. Both had elected to go in different directions. On October 20th, the former pledged his allegiance to Virginia Tech and Coach Kevin Dresser. Just yesterday, the latter announced that he is Norman, Oklahoma bound to wrestle for Jack Spates’ Sooners.

Spjut, the #66 recruit out of the Lone Star State is a two-time State Champion (2007-119; 2008-125) who took third as freshman, losing only to Tennessee-Chattanooga recruit in the Jeremy Sandoval 2-0 in their 112-pound quarterfinal bout. In 2006, the product from Conroe the Woodlands also displayed a knack for the international styles, finishing 7th @112 pounds under the Fargo Dome to become a Cadet National Freestyle All-American.

Projected as a 133-pounder at the collegiate level, many (myself included) envisioned Spjut as being the eventual successor to two-time defending CAA Champion/2008 NCAA Honorable Mention All-American, Lou Ruggirello….With SUNY-Binghamton having already received a verbal commitment from the #25 recruit in the country, Jimmy Chase, coupled with a third ODU recruit, 2008 Minnesota State Champion, Justin LeValle (beat Vaith 6-1 in the finals), landing a recruit the caliber of Spjut was perceived as an important step in helping the Pride remain the class of the conference.

While it is disappointing to lose Spjut, there is one silver lining that Pride enthusiasts can take solace in…Prior to his decision to continue his academic and athletic career in Blacksburg, Va., it is a known fact that Spjut was being heavily recruited by Coach Martin and the Monarchs.. Therefore, even though Hofstra failed to land their man, at least we can take some comfort in knowing that our rivals struck out in their pursuit as well.

If the loss of Spjut is equated to the discomfort one feels after suffering a paper cut on their finger, then having the rug pulled out from under us at the 11th hour by Oklahoma may best be described as the pain one might feel if that finger was amputated without warning. I did not view Jake Kemerer as just another great pickup; I saw him as the franchise…The one who might finally deliver the NCAA title that HU fanatics have been waiting for since 1977 when Nick Gallo last achieved the honor; The title that should have been ours last season if not for Mike Pucillo’s decision to follow Tom Ryan to Ohio State; The title that great HU wrestlers of yesteryear—Ed Pidgeon (4th in 1981), Peter Capone (2nd in 1985), Chris Skretkowicz (5th in 2004), Jon Masa (3rd in 2005), Charles Griffin (3rd in 2007 & 2008), etc…—were supposed to deliver…In a wrestling world dominated by Pennsylvania, where zero time state champions like Keith Gavin and Phil Davis go on to win NCAA crowns, having a likely 2xer in your back pocket is usually a sign of great things to come!!!

If the Pride had been successful in adding Kemerer, the #16 recruit in the country, he would have been the highest profile member of the class of 2009 to commit to a CAA school thus far…More importantly, locking down a commitment from the 2008 Pennsylvania State Champion would have provided Tom Shifflet with security at the 165 pound weight class.

With speculation that Ryan Patrovich will move up to 174 pounds following the graduation of 2008 NCAA All-American, Alton Lucas, the addition of W.I.N. Magazine’s #3 ranked wrestler at 160 pounds would have afforded the HU coaching staff the opportunity to breath a little easier and focus on adding depth rather than concerning themselves with plugging potential holes.

Perhaps what hurts the most about losing Kemerer is that no one saw it coming. Unlike Spjut, who in a Brandoesque way, was given an offer he could not refuse by the ACC conference member, Kemerer to Hofstra was always perceived to be a foregone conclusion; The rare money in the bank scenerio; Never in doubt. In speaking to a person with knowledge of the Keystone Stater’s recruitment, the situation was described like this, “we knew he was going out there but everything he had told us indicated that he would not like the school [Oklahoma]. [Jake] didn’t want a big school or large class sizes or a party school.” I suppose the lesson to be taken from all of this is that nothing is certain until the ink drys.

National Letter of Intent day is still several months away. Hence, there remains plenty of time for Hofstra to regroup and emerge with a few blue-chippers. However, with 47 of the top-100 recruits having already provided commitments to the colleges of their choice, the time is now for the Pride to hit the recruiting trail hard.

HOFSTRA SCHEDULE 2008 -2009

Hofstra’s 2008-2009 wrestling schedule with links to competitor’s web site.

Saturday, November 08, 2008 – Brockport, NY
Hofstra University at Oklahoma Gold Tournament 10:00 AM

Wednesday, November 12, 2008 – Hempstead, NY
Wagner College at Hofstra University  07:00 PM

Continue reading “HOFSTRA SCHEDULE 2008 -2009”