Red and White Wrestleoffs: Favorites get expected wins, freshman show out in upsets

Category:  Sports
Friday, November 1st, 2019 at 11:50 AM
Red and White Wrestleoffs: Favorites get expected wins, freshman show out in upsets by Paul Petrianni & Shayma Musa
Lucas Rodriguez and Richie Markulics battle for the starting spot. | Photo: Shayma Musa

Edinboro’s Red and White Wrestleoffs took center stage at McComb Fieldhouse on Oct. 24. This provides an opportunity for teammates of the wrestling team to match-up against one another and for second-year Head Coach Matt Hill to get a good look at his team.

Hill spoke on how Wrestloffs help the team. “Preparation is a big thing, getting our guys used to making weight [is another], and having a live ref there helps wrestlers get a feel for what a real match is like.”

This year, the Fighting Scots look to bounce back from a tough 2-9 season, their first losing campaign since 2015-2016.

Familar favorites performed well, starting with Carmine Ciotti, last year’s starter at the 141 pounds. He duked it out with redshirt senior Nate Hagan early in the evening for a 2-0 win in the first of their best-of-three match. He won the next match 1-0.

“We are working hard, doing everything right with our workouts and diets to wrestle our best in preparation for the Saturday dual and matches,” Ciotti said.

At 133 pounds, freshman Tye Varndell fought to make his mark on the mat against last year’s starter Richie Gomez. Varndell is a two-time PIAA placewinner who graduated right down the road from Edinboro at Cambridge Springs High School. 

Varndell was victorious, which is expected to earn him the starting spot, with a 6-1 advantage. “He came in as a true freshman and beat a veteran guy, and [he] established himself as a guy that is going to be at that weight class this year,” said Hill.

“I was expecting to compete a lot harder, [but] I got a little banged up in my first match and didn’t wrestle as hard as I could have in my second,” Gomez said.

He continued, praising Varndell’s performance on the mat and in the practice room. “He’s a true freshman, and he’s already making his presence known in the room by being such a hard worker and competitor. I’m excited to work with him, as well as push each other to get better all year. He’s a great kid, and I think having someone like him at the same weight as me will make us both train harder and keep improving through the season.”

Another match that had the room buzzing was Dylan Reynolds, who was responsible for 32 wins last season, wrestling against Zach Ancewicz, who is expected to redshirt. Reynolds won by a 3-2 decision at 197 pounds over Ancewicz.

The 2019-2020 season starting lineups for the Fighting Scots are tentatively as follows:
125 lbs: Lucas Rodriguez
133 lbs: Tye Varndell
141 lbs: Carmine Ciotti
149 lbs: Tyler Vath
157 lbs: Peter Pappas
There were no bouts at 165 pounds in the Wrestloffs.
174 lbs: Jacob Oliver
184 lbs: Neahemiah Diggs
197 lbs: Dylan Reynolds
Heavyweight: Jon Spaulding

The Fighting Scots will open their season this Saturday at Kent State University at the Mid-American Conference Dual, along with Ashland University and Mercyhurst North East.

“We are going to go into Kent to wrestle a good Kent State team. It should be a tough MAC conference match,” Hill said of this weekend’s bout. “We are looking forward to getting out there, wrestling hard and having some fun.”

Additional Photos:

Lucas Rodriguez and Richie Markulics battle for the starting spot. | Photo: Shayma MusaTyler Vath attempting a double leg take down. | Photo: Shayma Musa

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