Although the Red Hook wrestling team seemed depleted in late December, running several grapplers in foreign weight classes and submitting several no-contests in their last triangular meet, head coach Nick Fredericks predicted that after Christmas break, Red would be running close to 100 percent.
He was right. On Jan. 3, in its first triangular meet since December at New Paltz, Red keyed two wins against the Eldred-Fallsburg Comets and the New Paltz Huguenots. Red was only missing one grappler in 14- pounder Anthony Depaoli.
“The lineup has really come together, from the bottom weights all the way to the top,” Fredericks told The Observer.
Red’s first meet was against Eldred-Fallsburg. The Raiders recorded three wins by forfeit in the 106, 113, and 120 weight classes. Jon Torres scored a pin over Fallsburg’s Ernez Ramirez at the 126 weight class. Aaron Barkstrom at 132 pounds scratched in a pin over Alanson Fluorez and 145 pounder Luis Garcia pinned Robert Anderson after only 34 seconds of wrestling. Ben Zitz was dropped on the edge of the mat in his match against New Paltz and was checked afterward for a possible concussion. Red Hook’s Leif Christensen lost an 8-5 heartbreaker in full time.
While the Raiders lost in the 138, 170, 182, 195, and 220 weight classes, they still clipped Eldred-Fallsburg by an overall score of 42-30.
Things were a lot tighter against the Huguenots.
Matt Rauch got his 18th win on the season on a full-time, 4-2 bout with Eric Januskiewitz. Rauch has 14 pins on the season and, according to Section IX wrestling’s website, is the section’s top-ranked wrestler in the 120-pound weight class.
Red Hook’s Torres beat Ben Coppett, 5-0, in full time; Jake Kelly (106) pinned New Paltz’s Nick Sowosh after 3:12; Taylor Benson (99) beat Eric McCord after 1:04; Dan Ducey pinned Jared Hinson after :45, and Rauch (160) pinned Travis Wolfe after 2:50. Red lost the 113, 132, 170, 195, 220, and 285 pound weight classes.
The match came down to Red Hook’s Christenson and Garcia. Christensen went full time against New Paltz’s Carl Linman, winning an 8-7 nailbiter that put the crowd on their feet to make it 39-36, before Garcia batted easy cleanup, pinning New Paltz’s Miles Parr in 12 seconds.
The final score was 42-36.
“It was a rocky one, the first match. It wasn’t as great a win as I thought it’d be. I let them know that we expect them to do better than they did in the first match, and I think it lit a fire under them for New Paltz. They didn’t give up; New Paltz gave us a couple points and then we capitalized off their mistakes,” Fredericks said after the match.