Hempstead, NY - The Hofstra Wrestling team will close out the first semester of the 2012-13 season when they travel to Northwestern University's Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston, Illinois this weekend for the 50th Ken Kraft Midlands Championships.
One of the most prestigious regular season tournaments in college wrestling, the Midlands begin on Saturday, December 29 with two sessions at 9:30 a.m. (CT) and 7 p.m. (CT). Semifinals, consolations and the seventh-place matches begin at noon on Sunday, December 30. The final session which features an opening ceremony at 6:30 p.m. followed by first, third and fifth place matches beginning at 7 p.m. Many of the top wrestlers and teams will be in attendance.
The Pride will be making their seventh appearance at the Midlands Championships since 1998 but their first since the 2003-04 season. That season, Hofstra placed fourth in the tournament with 87.5 points as five Pride wrestlers placed in the top eight of their respective weight classes. Hofstra's Tom Noto defeated top-seeded Luke Eustice from Iowa, 7-5 in sudden victory for the 125 pound title while Ralph Everett was second at 165, Chris Skretkowicz was third at 197, Paul Siemon placed seventh at 157 and Ricky LaForge placed eighth at 133.
In addition to the 2003 Midlands, the Pride placed ninth in 2002, 13th in 2001, fourth in 2000, 20th in 1999 and 11th in 1998.
Hofstra (0-11) is coming off dual match losses to fourth-ranked Ohio State (38-3) and fifth-ranked Iowa at the Grapple at the Garden event at Madison Square Garden on Sunday, December 16.
Hofstra has five wrestlers ranked in one of the four national polls this week. Seniors Steve Bonanno and Paul Snyder, junior Luke Vaith, graduate student Justin Accordino and sophomore Jermaine John, the newest member of the Pride to be ranked, are among the top 33 in the national weekly rankings as of December 24.
Senior All-American Steve Bonanno (Wantagh, NY) is ranked in the top 20 in all four polls, coming in at 17th in the Division I Wrestling Report, 18th in the Amateur Wrestling News and WIN Magazine and 19th by InterMat at 125 pounds. Bonanno, who placed eighth in the NCAA Championships last March, is 7-7 this season. Bonanno is not expected to compete at the Midlands.
Junior Luke Vaith (Hastings, MN) is also ranked in all four polls at 141 pounds this week. He is ranked ninth by WIN, 13th by InterMat, 15th by Amateur Wrestling News and 16th by Division I Wrestling Report. Vaith is 9-7 on the season including 5-6 in dual matches.
Graduate-student All-American Justin Accordino (Wilkes-Barre, PA) is ranked in two polls at 149 pounds this week despite not wrestling in a match this season. He is ranked sixth by InterMat and seventh by WIN. Accordino, who placed sixth in the NCAA Championships in St. Louis, was expected to compete at the Northeast Duals on November 24 but tweaked his leg just days before the four-match event. Like Bonanno, he is also not expected to compete this weekend.
Senior Paul Snyder (Greensburg, PA), who is off to the best start of his career, is ranked 28th at 285 pounds by the Division I Wrestling Report again this week. He leads the Pride starters with a 10-5 record including a 6-5 slate in dual contests.