Columbia impresses in 27-12 home opener over VMI

NEW YORK -- The Columbia wrestling team secured bonus point victories in three matches, leading to a 27-12 triumph today over VMI.

With the win, the Lions move to 1-0 on the season, while the Keydets drop to 2-5.

"For us right now trying to rebuild a culture, we lost a lot of really influential starters in our lineup so it's exciting," said the Andrew F. Barth Head Coach of Wrestling Zach Tanelli. "To see them step up the way they did, get bonus points, and close out tough, gritty matches is something to be excited about."

First-year Joe Manchio got the Lions off to fast start, posting a 10-1 major decision against Clifton Conway III at 125 pounds to improve to 9-4 this season. Shortly thereafter, VMI cut the Columbia lead to 4-3, when Hunter Starner came away with a 4-3 decision against Matt Kazimir at 133.

The Lions would win the next four matches, which included a pin in the process.

Rookie Danny Fongaro took the next match at 141, defeating Dominick Gallo by a 4-0 decision. Sophomore Riley Jacops impressed at 149, earning a birthday win over Zach Schmitt, 10-4.

At 157 pounds, Dan Reed got Jerrod Hunziker on his back in the second period, forcing the official to slap the mat 35 seconds into the frame, making it a 16-3 advantage for Columbia with his first pin of the year.

"To come out in our home opener, after taking a year off, it was really exciting to be able to put on a show for our Columbia Wrestling fans," said Reed, who improved to 8-1 this season.

After the Reed pin, Laurence Kosoy blanked Jakob Kennedy, 6-0, at 165 pounds, giving the Lions a 19-3 lead for his 10th win this year. The Keydets would make up three points with a victory at 174, before Brian Bonino got those three back with a 8-3 decision at 184.

VMI's Chris Beck picked up a third period pin over Michael Bulkin, making it a 22-12 match, before first-year Danny Conley finished off the Keydets with an impressive 16-0 victory in the heavyweight bout for his first career tech fall, helping the Lions earn the 27-12 win.

Columbia is back in action at the Blue Gym on Monday, Dec. 10 at 6:00 p.m. in a dual against Northern Colorado.

125: Joe Manchio MD Clifton Conway III, 10-1 (Columbia, 4-0)
133: Hunter Starner DEC Matt Kazimir, 4-3, (Columbia, 4-3)
141: Danny Fongaro DEC Dominick Gallo, 4-0 (Columbia, 7-3)
149: Riley Jacops DEC Zach Schmitt, 10-4 (Columbia, 10-3)
157: Dan Reed FALL (3:35) Jerrod Hunziker (Columbia, 16-3)
165: Laurence Kosoy DEC Jakob Kennedy, 6-0 (Columbia, 19-3)
174: Neal Richards DEC Max Elling, 10-5 (Columbia, 19-6)
184: Brian Bonino DEC Max Gallahan, 8-3 (Columbia, 22-6)
197: Chris Beck FALL (6:38) Michael Bulkin (Columbia, 22-12)
HWT: Danny Conley TF (4:51) Tre Momon, 16-0 (Columbia, 27-12)


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