Hempstead, NY - With a little more than a week before the season opener at Minnesota, the Hofstra Pride Wrestling team has been ranked 18th in the InterMat NCAA Division I Preseason Tournament-Strength Poll, released this week.
Individually, four Pride wrestlers are ranked in the top 20 of their respective weight classes as senior Steve Bonanno (Wantagh, NY), who earned All-America honors by placing eighth at the NCAA Championships last March, is ranked fourth at 125 pounds. Classmate and fellow All-American Justin Accordino (Wilkes-Barre, PA), who placed sixth at 149 pounds last March, is ranked eighth by InterMat. Junior Luke Vaith (Hastings, MN) is ranked 14th at 141 pounds while junior Jamie Franco (Monroe, NY) is picked 15th at 133 pounds.
Penn State, the defending national champions, are in the top spot in the poll followed by Iowa, Minnesota, Oklahoma State and Ohio State. Illinois leads off the second five followed by Missouri, Cornell, Central Michigan and Oregon State. The second 10 starts off with Northwestern and followed by Nebraska, Virginia Tech, Oklahoma and Pittsburgh. Boise State is 16th followed by Kent State, Hofstra, Michigan and Northern Iowa.
Hofstra, which posted a 12-3 dual record, captured their 10th Colonial Athletic Association championship in the past 11 years, and placed 23rd in the NCAA Championships in 2012, officially open their 2012-13 season on Friday, November 9 at Minnesota, which is ranked third in the InterMat poll.
But before then, more than a dozen Pride wrestlers are expected to see outside competition when they travel to Salem, Virginia on Sunday, November 6 for the Virginia Tech Hokie Open at the Salem Civic Center. Weight class brackets, live match-ups and live scoring can be accessed by registering, free of charge, at the official tournament homepage at www.hokieopen.com. While not a team event and with almost all 10 weight classes decided upon, Pride Head Wrestling Coach Rob Anspach will be most interested in seeing how some of his wrestlers compete for back-up spots in preparation for the long season ahead. Hofstra will have seven dual matches, the New York State Collegiate Championships and the Hokie Open in the first 30 days of the season.