By Alex Mitchell - SPECIAL TO THE CHRONICLE After back-to-back losses to Lehigh and Rutgers Universities, Hofstra finally got a win by placing second in the New York State Collegiate Championships on Sunday Nov. 23.
Cornell took first with a team score of 144.5, giving them their third consecutive state title. Hofstra ended only half a point behind with a score of 144.0. Army placed third with 128.5. Hofstra was the best out of every school in the New York-metropolitan region.
The Pride’s hard fought effort did not go unrewarded. Individually, sophomore Jamel Hudson (141 lbs.), gradstudent Cody Ruggirello (149 lbs.) and sophomore Michael Hughes (285 lbs.) all earned the gold by placing first in their weight classes.
Hudson took the first victory of the afternoon, scoring 22 team points for the Pride after defeating four wrestlers, including a 7-2 decision in the first place match against Buffalo’s Jason Estevez.
Ruggirello and Hughes tied for the biggest contributions for Hofstra, as they both added 27 points. Ruggirello took first on three falls and one major decision (9-0), while Hughes also went through four opponents, and won by major decision in the first place match, 12-4.
Senior Nick Terdick (165 lbs.) made it to the final match up in his weight class, but ultimately came in second after losing in a major decision 13-4, while red-shirt freshman Kyle Krasavage (133 lbs.) also took second. Sophomores Jahlani Callender (157 lbs.) and Frank Affront (174 lbs.) took third and fifth in their weight classes, respectively.
On Saturday Nov. 29, Hofstra continued their upstate New York swing in Troy for the Journeymen/Asics Northeast Duals tournament. The Pride went 1-2 overall, taking losses to the University of Missouri and North Carolina State University, but beating Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA) rival Sacred Heart University.
Hofstra lost a 33-9 decision to the fifth ranked team in the nation, the Missouri Tigers, and 27-9 to the North Carolina State Wolfpack, who are ranked no. 23. They beat their EIWA foe, the Sacred Heart Pioneers by a score of 32-13. Hudson, Ruggirello and Hughes each won two of their three matches, while sweeping their efforts against Sacred Heart.
But before their easy victory against Sacred Heart, Hofstra was only able to muster 18 points over two matches against two nationally ranked teams. Terdick was the only athlete to win a match, while Hughes won by forfeit.
Against North Carolina State, Hofstra’s two nationally ranked wrestlers Hudson and Ruggirello were the only winners of the afternoon. Ranked No. 17, Hudson would have an especially impressive effort, winning an 8-3 decision against No. 15, Sam Speno.
Sacred Heart would only defeat the Pride three times, as Travis Passaro, Michael Oxley, Krasavage and Callender would tack on wins following tough outings in the days before.
Hofstra now sits at 2-4 so far, and is 1-1 in the EIWA. The Pride will complete 2014 with a trip to Las Vegas for the Cliff Keen-Las Vegas Invitational this week, then will compete in the Grapple at the Garden at Madison Square Garden. The dual event has them facing the University of Maryland and conference opponent Bucknell on Dec. 21.
The team then tops it all off with the Lock Haven University Invitational on Dec. 29.