UCF Alumni Match
This past weekend the Knights kicked off their competition season with an alumni match instead of the traditional sanctioned college tournament. “The match was intended to launch our young team into the competition season with a fun event that encouraged team camaraderie and reaffirmed our young and growing tradition,” said Head Coach Jason Balma. “In order to continue and build our team tradition, it was important to the coaches and older teammates to get alumni, who made their mark on the NCWA, together with the young wrestlers. It was neat to see a lot of the alumni, from the team’s NCWA revival in 2001, back together wrestling; it was an event that reminded us what makes the sport of wrestling so great ,” said Balma.
Although the alumni team featured “older” team members, many never stopped training over the years and came ready to do battle with current team. While conditioning was certainly a factor for many of the alumni in the(3) 90 sec. periods, many continue to train and support wrestling by coaching at local high schools, volunteer coaching at for the current team, or training in mixed martial arts.
The evening was filled with many fun events, including speeches, wrestling, raffles, and a post event BBQ; however everyone couldn’t help but be entertained when Tom Lawlor came onto the mat dancing to MIA’s “Paper Planes” handing out autographed photographs of him as Daniel Polaski waited at the center of the mat. Lawlor is currently on the Spike TV’s “The Ultimate Fighter”.
“We are very excited about this season and this was a perfect event that will launch our team into a successful start,” said Balma.
The Knights kick off their season with an open tournament hosted by The Citadel in Charleston, SC on November 8.
Although the current team finished on top (24-21), the alumni made an impressive showing and really came ready to rumble. The dual meet came down to the final match featuring alumni and current radio DJ Shawn (“ShawnJaya”) Stuart who lost a close match to junior Andres Munoz.
Here are the results:
James Schumacher (alumni) dec. Daniel Polaski
Steve DeAugustino dec. Frito Cherenfant (alumni)
Matt Bohren (alumni) dec. TJ Gillin
Jorge Benzsquen dec. Paul Rothenberg (alumni)
Ryan Witzel dec. Rob McCarty (alumni)
Jayson Patino (alumni) dec. Willie Rothenberg
CJ Hauser dec. Mike Lemieux (alumni)
Joe Gibson dec. Jeff Ruberg (alumni)
Raun Jessee (alumni) pin Justin Crimmins
Richard Rippy pin Jason Ruberg
Tom Lawlor (alumni) pin Daniel Polaski
Andres Munoz dec. Shawn Stuart (alumni)