January 4th, 2013—With a combined record of 6-2 between the two teams, there is little doubt who the top dogs in New York City are among the NCAA III ranks. Whether you grew up being a fan of the Violets or the Hawks, there is no debating that over the course of recent history, it has been these two programs that have separated themselves from the rest in terms of competitiveness on the big stage. On Saturday afternoon, we will find out who the best of the best will be in 2013 as the new year will commence with the renewal of this inter-city rivalry. To the victor not only will go the spoils, but also a year’s worth of priceless bragging rights. Last Season, it was Hunter University snapping a 10 year losing streak to their rivals, entering the hostile (slight exaggeration for effect) confines of the Jerome S. Coles Sports Center and winning six of 10 bouts to emerge with the 29-13 dual victory. For HC Head Coach, Michael Simmon and his staff, this weekend will be all about proving that last year represents a changing of the guard in Gotham City…On the flip side, the #28 ranked Violets and their leader Bruce Haberli, will be intend on demonstrating that 2012 is the exception and not the rule.
With only half of the student-athletes who led them to victory last season back, if Hunter College hopes to make it two in a row, they will need to get huge efforts out of he likes of Kenny Albert (133), Musa DeReese (184), and big man Leon Bodden. Combining to score 13 of the teams 29 points in 2012, it will be essential for this trio to come up big once again in order to pull off the repeat. Of these three, it is DeReese, who came one win short of making All-American last season who is likely to be the biggest lock to earn an individual victory. He is an Honorable Mention selection in the latest D3 Wrestling.com rankings. Owning a 7-3 record on the year, DeReese has not been as sharp as may have been expected, but his past credentials certainly justify him as being a very dangerous match-up. For Albert, tomorrow will be a chance to show what he is capable of doing against his peers. With three of his four losses this season coming at the hands of DI wrestlers, Albert has not yet had much of an opportunity demonstrate how solid a competitor he is when pitted against DIII foes. A product of powerhouse, Wantagh High School on Long Island, the sophomore had an epic battle last season in the dual against NYU, winning a hard fought 3-2 decision over Janik Santana-Quintana. He will need to bring his “A” tomorrow as he finds himself opposed by freshman extraordinaire, Corbin Lee, who like DeReese, is currently regarded as a national Honorable Mention caliber wrestler…Bodden has posted a .500 record (5-5) at the halfway mark of his junior season, but has been on a bit of a cold streak of late, dropping five of his last seven bouts. The Hawks cannot avoid for this stat to become 6-of-8 if they hope to extend their winning streak. While nothing is ever for certain when the big fellas roll around, Bodden should be considered a slight favorite on paper against junior transfer, Anthony Chu. Chu, who competed the last two seasons for San Joaquin Delta College, has taken some lumps early in his DIII career, dropping the majority of his matches. His coaches did praise him however for his clutch performance in their last dual, pulling out a 5-2 decision to preserve the team’s 20-13 win over Stevens Tech. With such ice water in his veins, should tomorrow’s dual come down to 285, one would be a fool to overlook NYU’s biggy daddy…Another Hunter wrestlers who is expected to make a significant contribution will be freshman 125-pounder, Jaydon Rice. Rice is the third Honorable Mention wrestler participating in this dual and has shown early on why he is regarded as one of the best diaper dandies in the nation. He comes into the dual with a 9-2 overall record, but an unblemished 8-0 mark against DIII competition. Rice opened a lot of eyes when he placed 7th at the 2012 NYS Collegiate Championship Tournament, competing against wrestlers from the DI and DII ranks. It will he who draws the assignment of fending off a hungry Santana-Quintana.
In addition to the previously cited Lee at 133 pounds, NYU will be led by senior 165-pounder, David Rice. A sixth place finisher at the NYS Collegiate tournament, Rice is the final Honorable Mention selection with ties to tomorrow’s dual. A wrestler with an 11-3 overall record in 2012/2013, Rice just missed heading to the national tournament last season, compiling a 31-2 record, but finishing third at the conference qualifier. He has his mind set on righting that wrong in his swan song. Last season, Rice was one of the four Violet wrestlers who got his hand raised in the dual against Hunter, defeating Jesse Capello-Colon, 8-6. With Capello-Colon having spent some time at 157 early in this season, it remains unknown whether or not we will see a rematch. However, if we do, it should be one for the ages…Another weight class that likely favors the host Violets will be 174 with former Brooklyn Tech stud, Chris Amro holding down this weight class. Not in the line-up last season for NYU, Amro takes a 9-8 overall record into tomorrow’s dual, having won an individual title at the Ted Reese Invitational. Making the upperclassman a sizable favorite is the fact that earlier this season, he defeated teammate Pat Sheehan for the starting duties at the weight class. Sheehan won a 9-3 decision at 184 pounds last season against HC. In fact, 3/4 of the NYU’s victories came back-to-back-to-back at 165-184, suggesting that they may possess the stronger middleweights…Speaking of student-athletes who were not in action this time last season, words cannot express how pleased NYU is to have senior Sam Galassi back int he line-up after he elected to take the entire 2011/2012 season off. A winner of 24 matches the previous season, the Bergen Catholic (NJ) product earned the second top-8 placement of his career at the NYS Collegiate tournament this past November, finishing 8th at 197-pounds. In 2010, he took home sixth place honors against a less distinguished field…11-match winner, Jake Pawlowski is tied with Rice for the team lead in wins. While the cards are stacked against him with DeRees being at his 184 pound weight class, should the senior from Rockaway Park, NY be able to pull the upset, such a feat would go a long way towards guaranteeing that there would no repeat of last season with regard to the dual winner.
Those wishing to attend should note note that tomorrow’s dual is only one part of a quad that will also include Southern Maine and Scranton. The action will begin at 11am with NYU hosting Southern Maine on one mat, while Hunter faces Scranton on another. At 1pm, the two New York schools will switch opponents. The main event will then follow at 3pm.
MAY THE BEST TEAM REIGN SUPREME !!!!