RIC WRESTLING EXPECTS STRONG SEASON

By Leslie Crofton, Sports Information Intern

 

Last winter, the Rhode Island College wrestling team had its best season in years, posting a winning record for the first time since the 1994-95 campaign. Head Coach Jay Jones, a RIC wrestling and baseball alum himself, led the 2000-01 Anchormen to a 12-9 overall record, an 8-7 mark in the New England College Conference Wrestling Association (NECCWA) and a 3-2 (third place) finish in the Pilgrim Wrestling League.

Last season’s success had a lot to do with the high level of wrestling demonstrated by so many of the team’s members. Hard work, dedication and commitment made the team what it was. Two grapplers in particular, Mike Riley (133 lbs.) and Kevin Munley (125 lbs.), reached an elite level in their sport, earning berths in the Division III NCAA Wrestling Championships, which took place at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa last March.

Jones, now entering his third season at the helm of the program, is looking to improve upon last year’s success. He and his coaching staff, Assistant Coaches Scott Baum and Bob Smith, are excited about the potential of this year’s squad. “We have several experienced veterans returning,” Jones says, “and a good freshman class. We’re hoping to move up in the New England rankings as a team this season.”

The 2001-02 RIC wrestling team will be captained by a duo of experienced wrestlers and proven team leaders, senior Chad Lampert (Georgetown, MA) and junior Mike Riley (Lowell, MA).

Lampert was 4-15 (.211) at 149, 157 and 165 lbs. with 21 points, 15 takedowns, 12 escapes, three near-falls and one win by fall during the 2000-01 season. He has proven his versatility, having competed at several different weight classes, many times suiting up above his optimum weight class, over the past three years.

Riley qualified for the Division III NCAA National Championships as a wild-card at 133 lbs. He was named All-New England, placing second at 133 lbs. at the 2001 NECCWA Championships. He was 11-5 (.688) with 40 points, 32 takedowns, four reversals, 22 escapes and six near-falls during the 2000-01 season. Riley accomplished all of this despite the fact that he joined the team second semester and didn’t have the benefit of a pre-season or the first several matches of the season under his belt.

“I think we have a young team, but a team with a lot of depth in most of the weight classes,” says Riley. “We have a really good core of freshmen who will help to lead the team. Losing Kevin Munley will hurt us as far as experience goes, but our freshmen will really step it up and fill in. Our team goals include being in the top three in New England as well as having a high team GPA [grade point average].”

The 2001-02 Anchormen opened the season at the Roger Williams Wrestling Tournament on Nov. 10. RIC placed tenth (15 institutions) with 56.0 points. RIC will compete at home for the first time this season against Plymouth State College on Dec. 5 at 7 p.m.

“We’re hoping to get a huge fan turnout at our home matches,” Jones says. “The team really feeds off the crowd’s energy. It’s a great advantage.”

 

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