PLYMOUTH, N.H. - The 2001-02 wrestling season opens for Plymouth State College this Saturday when the Panthers travel to Bristol, R.I., for the annual Roger Williams Invitational.
This will be the first of four regular season tournaments for Plymouth State. The team will also participate in the Oneonta and RIT Invitationals in New York this semester and the annual PSC Open in January. The Panthers have just one home match in the first half of the season -- next Wednesday (Nov. 14) against Norwich University at Foley Gymnasium (7:00 p.m.)
Plymouth State is looking for another strong campaign in 2001-02 as one of the top teams in New England. Led by a group of 11 returning veterans and seventh-year head coach Dave Carlson, the Panthers are hoping the newcomers will give PSC a balanced line-up that can challenge for the New England title.
"Up and down the line-up," says Carlson, "we have guys who are capable of finishing in the top three at New Englands. We have some solid depth this year that we haven't had recently. I don't think we're weak in any weight class."
2001-02 P.S.C Wrestling Outlook
PSC finished with a 9-9 record last season in dual meets, and placed seventh at the New England Championships. Carlson hopes this year's squad will improve on that, and again send wrestlers to the NCAA Championships, something PSC did every year from 1995-2000.
"Our goals are the same every year," said Carlson. "We look to win the New England championship and be competitive at the NCAA Championships. The regular season is used as a learning tool to meet those goals."
Leading the group of returning veterans are sophomore Rich Moskowitz (Amherst, N.H.), senior Marco Salce (Keene, N.H.) and juniors Griffin Banos (Edison, N.J.) and Jared Raymond (Danville, N.H.). Moskowitz was All-Conference at 157 pounds after going 32-10 as a freshman and placing third at the New Englands, and Salce is a two-time All-New England wrestler at 184 who is 50-29 over the past two years. Banos was All-Conference as a sophomore at 149, and Raymond was 17-10 at 125 and shared the team lead with seven pins.
Other key returnees include senior Nate Buffington (Plymouth, N.H.) at 125, junior Lee Miller (Concord, N.H.) at 149, junior Chris Villa (Hazlet, N.J.) at 165, and sophomore Rick Simula (Plymouth, N.H.) at heavyweight.
The top newcomers, according to Carlson, are freshman Dan Moskowitz (Amherst, N.H.) at 165, junior transfer Shaun Cleary (West Keansburg, N.J.) at 141, freshman Kevin Nabydowski (Pelham, N.H.) at 174, and freshman Taylor Kruse (Sudbury, Mass.) at 184. Dan Moskowitz, like his brother Rich, is a highly-touted wrestler out of high school.
"We're pleased with the group of wrestlers in the room," said Carlson. "There's some quality kids with some talent, we're just young. A lot will depend on how fast they mature. Overall, they're rugged kids and I think they'll rise to the challenge."