Rider wrestling drops both weekend matches

By Logan VanDine

IT was not the best weekend for Rider wrestling.

After winning a huge matchup against Princeton, the Broncs were feeling good as they began a two-match weekend against Lock Haven and Bucknell. Unfortunately, luck did not go the Broncs’ way as they dropped both of their matches 21-12 against Lock Haven and 19-15 against Bucknell dropping Rider 4-4 on the season.

‘It was not our best performance’

Looking to build off an impressive victory against Princeton on Jan. 21, the Rider Wrestling team was looking to continue its momentum when it traveled to Pennsylvania to take on Lock Haven. But its steady climb came to a screeching halt, as it did not stand a chance against the Bald Eagles, falling 21-12 to begin a two-match weekend.

After the Broncs lost their first two matches, and in a 6-0 hole, they were able to get on the scoreboard thanks to junior No. 24 McKenzie Bell pitching a shutout against Ty Linsenbigler.

Rider never stood a chance the entire night, as they were only able to win two more bouts thanks to freshman Hunter Mays and No. 7 Ethan Laird to give the Broncs just 12 points on the night.

“It was not our best performance, we started slow and wrestled down several points in most matches. We blew an opportunity to make a statement in the Mid-Atlantic Conference (MAC) today, we have our work cut out for us moving forward,” Head Coach Jon Hangey said.

‘They wrestled terrible’

In a match they were once up 11-4, the Broncs crumbled down the stretch, falling to the Bucknell Bisons 16-15 on Jan. 28 to lose both weekend matches.

The contest started out promising for the Broncs as they took an early 5-0 lead thanks to a strong performance by junior Tyler Klinsky. After redshirt senior Richie Koehler lost the second bout of the night, the Broncs went on to win the next three bouts, one of them being a thrilling back and forth bout with junior McKenzie Bell coming out on top, helping Rider to an early lead.

“[Bell] wrestles every second, constantly he’s looking to improve, to score and the positions changed and he doesn’t stop wrestling, he keeps wrestling one to the next to the next and that’s how you beat good kids and he wrestled a good kid he’s ranked No. 20 in the country for a reason and that’s what you have to do, you have to bring the energy to beat the better kids, you can’t just go out there and get one takedown and think you win a match,” Hangey said.

Bell also talked about how he performed individually and how great he is feeling right now during the middle of the regular season as the team is out to a 2-1 conference record.

“I feel great right now,” the wrestler said. “My diet’s on, my workout schedule is going perfect right now and as long as I don’t get hurt I feel like I can really do some damage this year.”

Despite Bell’s strong performance, the Broncs fell apart after a short intermission, and lost five out of the final six bouts to go from being up by seven at one point to an embarrassing 19-15 loss at the Alumni Gym.

“They wrestled terrible, other than McKenzie [Bell], Tyler [Klinsky] and Ethan [Laird] everybody wrestled terribly, they did not bring energy, they didn’t wrestle smart, they didn’t wrestler strategically, they didn’t wrestle well positionally, they just looked like it was their first day doing the sport so we have a lot of work to do,” Hangey said of his teams lackluster performance.

Bell too was disappointed in his team’s effort saying, “For the kids who won, we did our job, we won all the positions we should’ve but the kids that lost obviously weren’t giving it their all, all we need was one match and it was in our fingertips so I’m at a loss for words.”

The Broncs will have a week off to prepare for their next opponent when they head to the Sooner State to take on Oklahoma on Feb. 5.

With that week off to prepare Hangey emphasized the key details to get better as a team.

“We need to pay attention to details, hand controls on bottom, don’t dive in and land on your stomach, ride people, fight now and have pride. We are missing a lot of that stuff,” Hangey said.

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