ESU Wrestling returned to the mats at the ESU Open last Sunday at Koehler Fieldhouse after a two-year break because of the global pandemic.
A total of 21 programs across the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA’s) three divisions competed in the tournament.
It was the 54th ESU Open for the men, but it was only the second time for the women.
Anibal Nieves serves as the Head Coach for both the men and the women.
“We are happy to be back in the season. It’s been a long two years,” Nieves said.
Nieves was also grateful to ESU’s administration for their support.
“Last year, we were able to practice but not compete. So we are very happy to get this event going for ourselves and everyone else,” Nieves said.
The competition was most definitely tough for the Warriors.
ESU Men’s Wrestling finished in a tie for 11th place with 21.5 points.
Army was first with 209.5 points.
ESU Women’s Wrestling also finished in 11th place with 11 points.
Tiffin University won the competition with 113 points.
Nevertheless, there were several Warriors who turned in some outstanding performances.
In particular, the freshmen duo of Emily Klein and Haley Delia were two bright spots for the ESU women.
Klein competed at the 130-pound weight class.
Klein wrestled her way into the round of 16 where she beat Tiffin’s Abbi Montgomery 6-0 to advance to the quarterfinals.
Then Klein beat Hiram College’s Bethany Smith 13-0 to get to the semifinals.
But Gannon University’s Anya Knappenberger beat Klein 12-6 in the semifinal match.
Klein claimed fifth place by forfeit when her opponent did not show up for the consolation match.
Teammate Haley Delia wrestled at the 101-pound weight class.
Delia advanced to the quarterfinals where she was defeated by Tiffin’s Olivia Shore in a 2-0 technical decision.
But Delia finished in sixth place overall for the tournament.
Other wins for the women came from sophomore Natalie Dunn and junior Shola Cascen.
Competing at 116 lbs., Dunn defeated Hiram College’s Kenedi Keesey via an 11-0 tech fall.
Competing at 191 lbs., Cascen notched a 13-4 decision over Delaware Valley University’s Caira Jaynes.
The men were led by junior Matthew Rosa and sophomore Eric Falleni.
Rosa competed at the 157-pound weight class and posted a 3-1 record for the day.
Rosa won a 12-6 majority decision over Centenary’s Adrian Pietri and a 22-14 majority decision over Pitt-Johnstown’s Kyler Crawford and won another match by forfeit.
Falleni wrestled at the 149-pound weight class and went 2-2 for the day.
One of Falleni’s two wins came by forfeit and the other by a 14-2 majority decision over Drexel’s Aboubakare Dlaby.
Falleni was just happy to get back to wrestling.
“There are a lot of tough teams from NCAA Division I (DI) all the way to NCAA Division III (DIII), so there is a wide-range of competition,” Falleni said.
“I love it. I missed wrestling so much last year,” Falleni said.
Other strong performances were turned in by freshman Luke Ciampa and sophomore Matthew Richardson.
Ciampa competed at the 165-pound weight class and posted a 2-2 record for the day.
Ciampa won a 6-4 majority decision over sophomore teammate Alex Leon and earned a fall against ESU junior Christopher McMonegal for his two wins.
“I’m a freshman, so there is a huge difference from high school. I wrestled a couple of my teammates, but it was a lot of fun getting my hands on these DI guys,” Ciampa said.
“I think it was great for everyone who performed and for the people who didn’t perform, I think we could all learn from this. So in my mind, that makes it a success,” Ciampa said.
Richardson wrestled at the 197-pound weight class and went 1-2 for the day.
Richardson only needed two-and-a-half minutes to pin freshman teammate Kody Edwards.
“It was nice especially since we had Division I schools and Division III schools. We got a feel for everyone,” Richardson said.
“It was nice to finally compete after two years of waiting because of COVID. So it was a nice way of getting back into it,” Richardson said.
Nieves thought that it was a great day to be a Warrior.
“The level of competition was very intense, so I was happy with their performances,” Nieves said.
ESU Men’s Wrestling will host the University of Scranton at Koehler Fieldhouse on Thursday, Nov. 11, at 7p.m.
ESU Women’s Wrestling will travel to play NJCU (New Jersey City University) this Sunday, Nov. 11, at noon.
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