By Tyler McCord, Staff Writer
The Hofstra Pride wrestling team travels to Rider University for the annual Colonial Athletic Association Wrestling Championships on March 4-5.
Hofstra, ranked No. 2 in the conference behind Binghamton, will look to capture its eighteenth conference championship and add to its 177 individual NCAA qualifiers. The CAA is guaranteed 17 qualifiers, but could send more.
Senior Lou Ruggirello (133 lbs.) has a chance to become a four-time CAA champion. Ruggirello (26-3, 6-0 CAA) is in the only weight class in the CAA with three nationally ranked wrestlers. No. 5 Ruggirello is joined by no. 12 Kyle Hutter of Old Dominion and no. 17 Fred Santaite of Boston University. Ruggirello won by identical 4-0 decisions over Hutter and Santaite.
Along with Ruggirello, redshirt sophomore Steve Bonnano (2009), junior P.J. Gillespie (2009, 2010), senior Ryan Patrovich (2008, 2009), and junior Ben Clymer (2010) are past NCAA qualifiers.
No. 19 Bonanno (125 lbs.) is second in the CAA behind no. 4 James Nicholson of Old Dominion. Nicholson defeated Bonanno by decision 8-3 earlier in the season. No. 17 Gillespie is second in the CAA behind Drexel's Joe Boothe, even though the pair split two matches during the season.
Senior Ryan Patrovich (174 lbs.), ranked second in the CAA behind no. 20 Rob Morrison of Rider, will look to earn his third trip to the NCAA tournament. Morrison won a 6-4 overtime decision over Patrovich in their lone meeting this season. Junior Ben Clymer (184 lbs.), also second in the CAA, trailing no. 16 Nate Schiedel of Binghamton. Clymer is up against long odds as the CAA only sends one qualifier in his weight class.
Sophomore Paul Snyder (285 lbs.) is the top seeded heavyweight in the CAA, finishing with a 5-0 record in conference.