In preparation for the Desert Duels Contest in Las Vegas, the Rhode Island College wresting team first needed to focus on defeating two marquee opponents in Western New England University and Wesleyan University on the road. The Anchormen suffered a loss against the WNEU Golden Bears by a final score of 25-19 however, they were able to earn an impressive victory against NEWA rival the Wesleyan. With both matches on the road, it was a chance for the team to prepare for what is sure to be a tough test in the heat of the desert.
The Anchormen could not pull off a win on Wednesday, Dec. 7, with only four of their wrestlers earning match victories. That evening, the Golden Bears opened dual completion and junior Robby Ferrante and sophomore Daniel Beck recorded pins for their team. The match-up between Ferrante and RIC junior Mike Sugermeyer was the most stirring match-up of the evening as Ferrante rallied from a 7-5 deficit in the final minute of action to pin Sugermeyer at 6:26 in the 133lbs. weight class. Beck defeating freshman Paul Cafone secured the win for the Golden Bears with a pin in only 1:07 into the match at the weight of 174lbs. and brought the Bears to a 25-11 advantage.
Western New England wrestler Jamison Sacco made a successful comeback to mat after not competing since the 2009-10 season after winning the New England heavyweight title as a freshman. He defeated sophomore Brian Nicoll, who also took last year off, by a close final of 4-2 when Sacco notched a takedown with 10 seconds remaining to close out the match. RIC’s All-American senior Brandon Gauthier won a 12-4 decision over freshman Sean McAllister at 125lbs. while teammate junior Kevin Barrucci won 16-5 at 157lbs. and freshman Humphries compiled a 6-2 win over senior David Baldyga in the opening match at 197lbs. and sophomore Adam Lynch won 10-3 the closing match in the 184lbs. weight class. The Anchormen, however, could not stave off the WNE Golden Bears suffering the 25-14 loss.
On Saturday, Dec. 10, RIC would make a terrific comeback against NEWA rival Wesleyan University. Two of their top wrestlers who did not compete in the previous contest, senior Mike Trasso and sophomore Shawn Giblin, were back in action. Trasso was able to forward the Anchormen to victory by notching a 9-7 win over Cardinals wrestler Howard Tobochnik and Giblin managed to stave off Nick Scotto for a marginal one-point lead 20-19. A technical fall helped Barrucci defeat Tom Oddo to open the match and give the Anchormen a 5-0 advantage.
The Cardinals notched three straight wins including one pin and a major decision which helped them seize the lead from the Anchormen making the score 13-11. Brandon Gauthier gained a 3-1 victory at 125lbs. and Nicoll recorded an 8-2 win at 285lbs. to help the Anchormen. Trasso finished off the NEWA rival on the way to picking up his ninth win of the year and ensured the 24-19 victory for the Anchormen.
In upcoming action for the Anchormen, they will travel to Las Vegas, Nevada in the hopes of bringing home an impressive performance just before the holiday season on Sunday, Dec. 18. There they will be matching up against four schools; Wartburg College, Coe College, Alma College, and Simpson College at the beautiful Flamingo Resort Hotel in downtown Vegas. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, usually; however the Anchormen hope to bring home a great performance and a few wins before continuing the season and improving their 3-1 NEWA record, and their 3-2 overall record.