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  • Photo: Tony Rotundo

    Photo: Tony Rotundo

    2021-22 College Preview: Columbia

    2019 EIWA runner-up Matt Kazimir (Photo/Tony Rotundo; WrestlersAreWarriors.com)


    Columbia Lions


    "We have a young, motivated team that is chomping at the bit to compete. Without having the opportunity to compete last year, I'm excited to watch this team turn heads with what I know they're capable of. We'll be tested early and often, but it's going to be a very fun year." - Columbia head coach Zach Tanelli

    TOP RETURNERS


    During their last year of competition (2019-20), Columbia had a pair of EIWA finalists in Joe Manchio (125) and Matt Kazimir (141). Both will be back in 2021-22. Through two years of competition for Columbia, Manchio has racked up a career record of 47-26. To make the EIWA championship match, Manicho pinned a top-ten ranked opponent in Brandon Paetzell (Lehigh). Kazimir comes in with a 44-14 career mark and made the EIWA finals despite suffering five dual losses to conference opponents.

    KEY DEPARTURES


    Columbia will be back in action without the services of 165 lber Laurence Kosoy. In 2019, Kosoy was an alternate at the NCAA Tournament after posting a 26-11 record. He went on to finish seventh in the 2019 EIWA Championships. Since then, Kosoy has graduated.

    TOP NEWCOMERS


    The Lions have improved their recruiting efforts over the past few years and the results should show on the mat this season. Columbia's Class of 2021 was ranked #25 in the nation by InterMat and featured two top-100 prospects and six of the top-250. Both New Jersey state champion Aaron Ayzerov and two-time Rhode Island champion Nick Fine should contend for the starting role at 174 lbs. Another from this class that could push into the starting lineup this year is Javen Jovero at 197 lbs.

    Not a totally new face for Columbia, but one for wrestling fans is Josh Ogunsanya. Josh was a freshman in 2020-21, so he, like the rest of his teammates, did not compete last season. Ogunsanya was an Illinois state champion and a four-time All-American in Fargo. He'll fit in at 165 lbs.


    WRESTLER TO WATCH


    Stuck in the middle of Columbia's two returning national qualifiers is Angelo Rini at 133 lbs. Rini came to New York a few months after winning Fargo's Junior Freestyle tournament in 2019. He responded with a 25-10 record, as a freshman. Rini had an argument to make to get an at-large berth at nationals, as he defeated two national qualifiers. The Columbia staff is excited about Rini's progress as he was fifth at the U23 World Team Trials at 61 kg.

    Columbia had a strong showing at U23's with Manchio in sixth (57 kg), Connor Kievman eighth (70 kg), and Ogunsanya in seventh (74 kg).

    POTENTIAL LINEUP


    125: Joe Manchio (Jr)
    133: Angelo Rini (So)
    141: Matt Kazimir (Jr)
    149: Danny Fongaro (Jr)/Matt Arciuolo (So)/Jaden Le (So)
    157: Kyle Mosher (So)/Andy Garr (So)/Connor Kievman (So)
    165: Josh Ogunsanya (So)/David Berkovich (So)
    174: Lennox Wolak (So)/Aaron Ayzerov (Fr)/Nick Fine (Fr)
    184: Brian Bonino (Sr)
    197: Sam Wuestfeld (Jr)/Joe Franzese (Sr)/Javen Jovero (Fr)
    285: Dan Conley (Jr)

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