Senior Ian Evans took 5th place at 157 pounds at the NCAA Mideast Regional Sunday as The University wrestling team finished its record breaking season.
The Royals amassed a 15-4 record, shattering the previous season win total of 13 (1980-81).
Evans finished his career with 122 victories, the second most in school history, and finished the season 32-5, tying his personal season win total. The team captain had the weekend’s highest finish for the Royals to cap off his stellar career.
“Personally, I’m more proud of [the team wins record] than anything I’ve done individually,” Evans said. “From where we started my freshman year to where we ended up my senior year, it took a lot of change amongst the wrestlers and amongst the coaches and everyone involved in the organization in order to turn it around. My freshman year … We couldn’t even fill a whole lineup.
“It was a big change and it means a lot to me.”
Evans was the No. 2 seed heading into Sunday but lost to Oswego State University’s Rocco Russo, 8-2. He then dropped a 13-2 major decision to Washington & Jefferson College’s Hunter Neely before finishing the day with a 5-1 victory over Messiah College’s Jeff Hojnacki.
“It just wasn’t my weekend,” Evans said. “I lost a few and wish I could get it back.”
Senior Salvatore Montuori also finished the season with a career high in victories, going 29-11 on the season. Montuori finished in the consolation bracket at 285.
The wrestling team has plenty of young talent, with four underclassmen competing in the Regional competition’s consolation bracket last weekend: freshman Nicholas Ciaccia at 133, junior Zachary D’Apolito at 174, sophomore Daniel D’Agostini at 184, and first year Keegan Connelly at 197.
Connelly capped the season with 25 victories, which is tied for 13th most in a single season at The University.
“As a freshman I can build off of this and make the next season even better,” Connelly said.
The Royals started the season winning 12 dual meets in a row. In the middle of that streak was a 22-22 criteria victory over State University of New York at Oneonta at the Electric City Duals Nov. 12. Evans and Connelly agreed that this meet was a defining moment of the season.
“I think that was a big confidence booster to everyone in the organization and that helped us continue on that hot streak and wrestle the way we did all year,” Evans said.