2007-2008 University Central Florida Season Outlook
After claiming back to back national titles in 2004 and 2005 and a fourth place finish in 2006, the Knight’s wrestling team ended their 2007 season as the NCWA National Runner-Up team behind Grand Valley State University. The Knight’s were also proud to add Paul Rothenberg to the ranks of 4x NCWA All-American; a club that only consists of fourteen wrestlers. Rothenberg now joins his former teammates, David Miller, Todd Hauser, and Tom Lawlor, with this prestigious recognition. UCF is also proud to add Rothenberg to its coaching staff while he completes his Industrial Engineering Degree. Rothenberg joins the prestigious coaching staff which includes former teammate Jason Balma and National Wrestling Hall of Fame inductees Johnny Rouse and Scott Sherman. Also contributing to the Knight’s practice room is NCAA DIII All-American Jason Snow, 2x NCAA DI All-American Matthew White, and 4x Big 10 place winner Karl Nadolsky.
Also returning this season are seven NCWA All-Americans, some of which have had multiple successes at the national tournament. Leading the senior dominated team towards a third national title are senior captains Rob McCarty and Zach Sanford. Both Rob McCarty (6th 2006, 2nd 2007 - 149 lbs.) and Zach Sanford (4th 2006, 2nd 2007 - 174 lbs.) look to join the NCWA ranks of other 3x All-Americans. Other returning All-Americans include Federico Carosio (2nd 2007 – 125 lbs.), Matt Bohren (5th 2005, 6th 2007 - 141 lbs.), Danny Fernandez (2nd 2004, 3rd 2005 – 197 lbs.), Brian Pierson (7th 2007 – 235 lbs.), Jesse Pinson (2nd 2007 – 285 lbs.). Also returning to the Knight’s line-up are All-American hopefuls Willie Rothenberg, Michael Lemieux, CJ Hauser, and Billy Rippy.
The Knights are proud to add several of Florida’s outstanding high school wrestlers to the roster including Stephen DeAugustino, TJ Gillin, Kyle Stoodt, Ryan Witzel, Richard Rippy, Connor Kelly, and Daniel Rowe. These and other young talented wrestlers will add depth to the current line-up and carry on the tradition of successful wrestling at UCF. Developing these athletes will be a primary goal of the season as the Knight’s will graduate nine wrestlers.
Following the preseason tournament hosted by Georgia Tech, the Knights kick off the season with the Citadel Classic. Next, the Knights travel to University of North Carolina – Pembroke for their annual Wrestling Classic. November competition closes with the team hosting the Knight Brawl Duals and Central Florida Open the following day.
The Knights kick off December with the Cavalier Duals hosted by Darton College. Darton looks to have a successful season as they prepare for their transfer to the NJCAA. Next, the Knights will compete in the Gator Duals against NCAA DII and DIII powerhouses Luther College, SUNY Cortland, and UNC-Pembroke. On December 28 the Knights will compete with some of best NCAA DIII teams in the long established Sunshine Open. December will close with the team hosting the Central Florida Duals on December 31.
January competition begins with Cliff Keen National Duals hosted at the University of Northern Iowa by the National Wrestling Coach’s Association. After suffering defeat the past two seasons at the National Duals to NCWA National Champions Grand Valley State University, the Knights hope to bring home their first title. Also representing the NCWA in Northern Iowa are Bowling Green University, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Marion Military, Ohio State University, Newmann University, and Kansas State University. This tournament will certainly prove to be once again a premier tournament of the season. Finishing January the Knights will host the Florida Dual Meet Championship followed by the Shipbuilder Classic in New Port News, Virginia on January 26.
In preparation for the Southeast Conference on March 1 in Albany, GA, hosted by Darton College, the Knights will compete in the Doug Cherry Classic (Lafayette, PA) on February 2 and to the Seminole Invitational (Tallahassee, FL) on February 16. Closing out the season will be the 11th Annual NCWA National Championships held in Lakeland, FL on March 13-15. The Knights hope to bring home a national title while wrestling in their own backyard in front of passionate Florida wrestling fans. This promises to be an exciting year for the veteran team which looks to build on a successful tradition that is UCF Wrestling.