Hempstead, NY - The Hofstra Pride return to action this Saturday and Sunday, November 17-18 when they compete in the 44th annual New York State Collegiate Wrestling Championships at Cornell University's Newman Arena in Ithaca, New York.
The Pride will be returning to the New York State Championships for the first time since 2011 and just the second time since 2002 when they placed second. Hofstra captured New York State titles in 1998 and 2000.
A total of 21 Division I, III and junior college programs are expected to compete in this year's event, where a team champion and 10 weight class champions will be crowned. In addition to Hofstra, other Division I programs expected to participate include nationally ranked Cornell, defending New York State champions Army, Columbia, Buffalo, and Binghamton.
Hofstra, which opened the season last weekend with losses to top-ranked Minnesota (32-6) and #25 Wisconsin (18-13) will send their starting line-up to Saturday's "A" Tournament and 11 others to Sunday's "B" Tournament. The Cornell-Binghamton match at 6:30 p.m. and the coaches seeding meeting at 8:45 p.m. will open the weekend's activities Friday night. The action begins at 9 a.m. Saturday with the "A" bracket. The New York State Wrestling Hall of Fame ceremony will be held at 6 p.m. with the finals slated for 6:30 p.m. The "B" Tournament starts at 9 a.m. on Sunday and runs through to completion. Tickets are priced at $10 for a day with doors opening at 8 a.m. each day.
The Pride fell out of the top 25 in the first USA Today/NWCA/AWN Division I Coaches Poll after being 16th in the preseason poll. They did remain 16th in the WIN Magazine Tournament Power Index but are not ranked in the WIN Top 20 Dual Poll.
Hofstra is expected to use eight or nine of the 10 starters who opened the season at Minnesota and Wisconsin in the "A" Tournament this weekend. Leading the Pride is senior Steve Bonanno (1-1), who is now ranked sixth by Amateur Wrestling News at 125 pounds. Junior Jamie Franco (1-1) is 16th at 133 pounds while classmate Luke Vaith (1-1) is now seventh at 141 pounds. Senior Matt Spataro (4-3) will continue to start at 149 pounds while freshman Jay Lysne (2-2) is expected to start at 157 for Tyler Banks (1-1), who suffered an injury at Wisconsin. Sophomore Nick Terdick (0-2) will be the Pride's starter at 165, classmate Jermaine John (1-1) is at 174 pounds and senior-transfer Taras Luzhnyy (0-2) will start at 184. At 197 pounds, either freshman Victor Pozsonyi (0-2), who started the first two matches, or junior Tim Murphy will get the nod. Senior Paul Snyder (0-2) starts at 285 pounds.
Last year's New York State Championship, which was also held at Cornell University, was conducted on January 21-12, 2012. Army posted three individual champions and Cornell, Columbia and Buffalo each had two as the Black Knights of Army captured the 2012 New York State Collegiate Championship team title with 162.5 points. Cornell was second with 144.5 points while Columbia was third with 135 points. Buffalo was fourth with 117 points and Nassau Community College was fifth in the 15 team field with 102 points.
In Hofstra's last appearance in the New York State Championship in 2011, current senior Steve Bonanno captured the 125-pound title, and Ben Clymer, who graduated last spring, and current senior Paul Snyder placed second at 184 and 285 pounds, respectively to lead the Pride to a fifth-place finish at the 42nd annual New York State Collegiate Championships at Binghamton University's West Gymnasium. The Pride, who wrestled without four starters, finished in fifth place with 92.5 points. The host Bearcats of Binghamton won the state title with 149.5 points. Followed by Columbia (132.5), Army (126) and Nassau Community College (110). Nineteen universities competed in the 2011 championship.
Bonanno, the second seed, defeated Columbia's fifth-seed Penn Gottfried, 8-3 in the 125-pound championship match. Clymer, the third seed, dropped a 6-3 decision to his CAA-nemesis and top-seed Nate Schiedel from Binghamton in the 184-pound title match. Snyder, the number two seed, also faced the top seed in Columbia's Kevin Lester in the 285-pound championship match. Lester rode out Snyder in the second period and tallied an escape and a takedown in the third to add to the riding time point for a 4-0 win and the title.
On the consolation side, Tim Murphy, then-red-shirt freshman, placed fifth, while Matt Spataro and Tyler Banks, then-sophomores each placed eighth at 149 and 157 pounds, respectively.