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Orange take to the mats at Trailblazer Classic

12/16/2009 -

This past Saturday, the Syracuse wrestling team traveled to the Trailblazer Open at Niagara County Community College (NCCC). The Orange brought along six wrestlers. Freshmen Stephen Darby (HWT - Beverly, MA/Landmark School) and Sophomore Jacob Clark (165 lbs - Pulaski, NY/Pulaski) both made their collegiate debuts. Senior Brendan O’Brien (165 - Natick, MA/Natick) made his season debut. Also making the trip were seniors Craig Tompkins (149 - Beacon, NY/Beacon) and David Tubiolo (149 - Yonkers, NY/Fordham Prep) and freshman Connor Policastro (174 - Danbury, CT/Immaculate).
The highlight of the day came early in the match when Craig picked up his first win. Craig pinned NCCC redshirt Jim Schraff. Craig’s second match ended in a loss with a 5-2 decision against Wayne Leonard of Grand Valley State. “After Craig lost his second match, I went up to him and said, ‘win or lose I cannot say a bad thing about you’,” Syracuse head coach John Crandall commented.

The rest of the team was not as fortunate, as everyone else went 0-2. Connor went 0-3 and placed 6th at 174. Despite having so many winless wrestlers, Crandall was positive about the experience. “[Junior Colleges] are no joke. Wrestlers may only spend two years at a [Junior College], but many of them are already wrestling at [Division I] level. In fact, much of my coaching style is modeled after David Pacheco and Walter Ullrich from Sacramento City College,” commented Crandall, who spent a season with Sacramento City College as a wrestler. “My wrestlers fought in every match, and therefore should be proud. Our performance, in my opinion, should send a resounding message to the rest of the NCWA that we are as good as any of the top teams in the league. My expectation is my wrestlers will continue to improve, and will make some noise come regionals and nationals.”

The Orange are taking a break for the holidays and will be back on the mat in January at the Builder Invitational at the Newport News Apprentice School.