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SBU Wrestling looking to have a strong second season

The SBU Wrestling team has big plans for their second season. [PHOTO COURTESY OF SBU WRESTLING'S FACEBOOK PAGE]
The SBU Wrestling team has big plans for their second season. [PHOTO COURTESY OF SBU WRESTLING’S FACEBOOK PAGE]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In just their second season, the Stony Brook Wrestling team has become one of the top club sports on campus. The team has come a long way after just one season, adding more wrestlers to roster. Head coach Shaun Lally started the team last fall and has already sent a few wrestlers to the national tournament and will have the team compete at Madison Square Garden in December.

The team competes in the National Collegiate Wrestling Association Northeast Conference and faces teams from Maine all the way down to New York. The conference consists of 17 teams and has competition ranging from Yale and Northeastern University to Washington County and Hudson Valley Community Colleges. The northeast conference also has a few other teams from the State University of New York system, including Albany, Cobleskill, Cortland, Stony Brook and Westchester.

“Last year we finished in sixth place, this year we want to win the conference,” Lally said. “We want to send as many guys to nationals and we also want eight academic All-Americans.” The team had four academic All-Americans last season, and Lally feels more wrestlers can be above the 12 credits and 3.5 grade point average requirement.

The Wrestling team has over 30 wrestlers this season, with weight ranges from 125 pounds all the way to 235l pounds and heavy weight. The team also added two freshman girls to the roster, along with Amena Asar, a junior. Stony Brook has two national qualifiers coming back this season; Scott Dunkirk, a sophomore, wrestling at 165 pounds and Kyle Folk-Freund, a senior captain, who wrestles at 235 pounds. Folk-Freund was one match away from being an All-American last season.

Mike Shimer, another season captain, who wrestles at 149 pounds, will only be with the team for a semester, as he is graduating in December. Other big names to keep an eye on for the Seawolves are Joe Jackson, a sophomore, who wrestles at 141 pounds and Matt Frey, a graduate student, who wrestles at 157 pounds.

“The rest of the guys, even though they are freshman, I still expect a lot of freshman to be great wrestlers for us this year,” Lally said.

The roster is not the only thing expanding for the Wrestling team, the team had also received a increase in backing and support.

“There’s way more backing behind us, right here on campus, and that feels really good,” Lally said. “The support from the university, from dean of students, to USG, to campus rec[reation] has been amazing. And they’ve given us everything it takes to be a successful program.”

The team will also have “Stony Brook Wrestling Night” at Buffalo Wild Wings in Centereach on Wednesday Oct. 30, with proceeds going to support the team.

Their first match is Saturday, Nov. 9 at home against Montclair State and UConn in a home tri-meet. The following week they face Rutgers and the University of New Haven in another home tri-meet. Stony Brook will then travel to Ithaca for the New York State Intercollegiate Tournament, before the Grapple at the Garden.

It is the second year for the Grapple at the Garden, and it has expanded to 16 teams. This year’s tournament features Stony Brook and Westchester Community College, along with men’s varsity teams from Army, Boston University, Hofstra and Illinois.

“It’s the big time. It doesn’t get any bigger than this,” Lally said. “We are going to be at the World’s Most Famous Arena, representing this university, competing against another New York school in front of thousands of people.

“This is probably going to be the biggest event that these kids even partake in their whole lives.”

Lally was able to secure a spot for Stony Brook by attending the event last year and wanting to find a way to get the team’s name out. Fortunately for Lally and his team, they were able to secure a spot in this tournament.

The team will have one more meet before winter break, and will continue with matches just before the spring session is underway. Stony Brook will have more meets in January and February, before senior night at Ward Melville High School.

“In February we’ll have our senior night and that will be very special because we able to get a big crowd out for that and say goodbye to our seniors,” Lally said.

The season will wrap up for Stony Brook in March, with the NCWA Northeast Conference Championships in New Hampshire and the NCWA National Championships in Dallas, Texas. “The kids are all bought into the system, they understand that this is something special we are building and they are so excited to be a part of it,” Lally said.

 

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