Hempstead, NY - The Hofstra Wrestling team will close out its 2012-13 home schedule this Saturday when the Pride will host the 10th-ranked Big Red of Cornell University at the Mack Sports Complex. The match will start at 1 p.m. with Senior Day ceremonies beginning at 12:45 p.m.
The Pride, who will be wrestling their ninth Top-25 opponent of the year, has won five of the last six matches, including three consecutive contests.
Hofstra is coming off of two non-conference victories over American University (21-9) on Jan. 25 and a 23-9 win Columbia University two days later. Hofstra captured seven of the 10 weight classes in each match to continue their winning ways.
Since the start of 2013, the Pride has defeated Rider (17-15), Boston University (20-19), George Mason (32-8), American and Columbia with only a loss to CAA-foe Old Dominion (19-12) on the slate.
Hofstra has been led by a trio of grapplers who have been rolling since the new year. Seniors Steve Bonanno at 125 and Paul Snyder at 285 and sophomore Jermaine John at 174 are all 6-0 during the Pride's recent run. In addition, junior Luke Vaith has posted a 5-1 mark at 141 to help the Pride cause. John was named the CAA Co-Wrestler of the Week for Jan. 21
Hofstra now has five wrestlers ranked in the latest national polls. Bonanno is ranked 16th by InterMat, 17th by WIN, 18th by the Wrestling Report and 20th by AWN at 125 pounds. Bonanno is the top-ranked wrestler in the CAA with a 5-0 ledger and is 13-7 on the season.
Junior Luke Vaith is ranked 16th by Amateur Wrestling News, 17th by the Wrestling Report, and 18th by WIN Magazine at 141 pounds. Vaith, who dropped to third in the CAA at 141 pounds two weeks ago, is 16-10 on the season including 3-2 in conference action.
Snyder, who is ranked 23rd by the Wrestling Report, is the Pride starting grappler with the best record at 18-7 overall and 5-0 in the CAA at 285 pounds. He climbed into the No. 1 spot in the conference two weeks ago after defeating previous No. 1 Kevin Innis from Boston University on Jan. 19.
John, who is 20th by AWN and 26th by the Wrestling Report, is 16-9 overall and 5-0 in the CAA at 174 pounds. He is now ranked second in the conference in that weight class. Junior Jamie Franco is the latest Pride member to join the national rankings and is ranked 33rd by the Wrestling Report at 133 pounds. He is 11-12 on the season.
The Big Red of Cornell enter Saturday's match ranked seventh by InterMat, ninth by the Wrestling Report and tenth in the WIN Dual Poll and in the USA Today/NWCA/AWN Poll. Cornell has wins over Binghamton (30-7), Drexel (40-0), Central Michigan (17-15), Oklahoma (25-13), Lehigh (20-13), Princeton (42-0), Brown (35-6), Harvard (24-15) and Penn (24-9). The Big Red losses have come against Missouri (22-12), Oklahoma State (21-16) and Oregon State (23-20).
Cornell has five grapplers currently ranked in the Top-20 of their respective weight classes by InterMat this week. Leading the way is three-time national champion and senior Kyle Dake, who is 20-0 and ranked first at 165 pounds. He has previously captured national titles at 141, 149 and 157. Classmate Steve Bosak is 9-2 and ranked fourth at 184 pounds. Freshman Nahshon Garrett is 27-3 on the year and ranked sixth at 125 pounds. Junior Mike Nevinger is 27-6 and ranked 10th at 141 pounds while classmate Chris Villalonga is 15-7 and ranked 14th at 149 pounds.
Hofstra and Cornell last met on February 4, 2012 in Ithaca with the then-third-ranked Big Red posting a 22-12 victory. Cornell has won the last eight encounters with the Pride since an 18-15 Hofstra win on January 10, 2004.
In pre-match ceremonies, Hofstra Athletics will honor its six graduating senior wrestlers who will be making their final home appearance. Bonanno at 125, Matt Spataro at 149, Tyler Banks at 157, Taras Luzhnyy at 184, Tim Murphy at 197 and Snyder at 285 will receive recognition before the contest.