- The Plymouth State University wrestling team opens the 2004-05 season this weekend, making the annual trip to New York for the Oneonta State Invitational.
The Panthers will also compete in the annual RIT Tournament in Rochester, N.Y., the first weekend in December. The first home competition of the season is a dual meet at Foley Gymnasium on Thursday, Dec. 9 against Rhode Island College.
Highlights on the second semester schedule include the PSU Invitational in January, the New England Conference dual meet championships a week later, and over a dozen other meets over a five-week span. The all-important New England Conference Championships are slated for the third weekend in February in Providence, R.I.
Third-year head coach Don Perrin welcomes back 12 veterans from last year's team, including three All-New England wrestlers.
2004-05 PSU Wrestling Outlook
"Our strength again this season is our upperclassmen," says Perrin, a former All-New England wrestler for Plymouth State. "We have eight seniors, and we are looking for them to be leaders. We also have some good young wrestlers who have been looking strong in the pre-season."
The Panthers are coming off a disappointing 10th place at the New England Championships last season after a 7-9 record in dual meets. Perrin thinks that should be better this season.
"Our goal is to finish in the top three in New England," says Perrin. "That's our primary focus, but we also want to improve our dual meet record."
Leading the cast of returnees is a pair of New England champions -- senior co-captains Dan Moskowitz (Amherst, N.H.) and Nate Kittredge (Vergennes, Vt.). Moskowitz has won the last two New England championships at 149 pounds after finishing third at 165 as a freshman, and has a career record of 70-30. Kittredge, a three-time All-New England wrestler who won the 184-pound championship in 2003, has a career record of 74-15.
"I expect those guys to win every time out," says Perrin. "They're tough, and they set the tone."
Sophomore Brandon Black (Keene, N.H.) is also a returning All-New England pick for the Panthers. He placed fourth in New England at 165 and put up a 22-11 record as a freshman. The Panthers will look for big things from him.
PSU's other seniors are Chris Bordonaro (Derry, N.H./Pinkerton) and Dave Preciado (Stoneham, Mass.) at 133, Micah Canestaro (Wakefield, Mass.) at 141, Jim Burnham (South Windsor, Conn.) at 165, Taylor Kruse (Sudbury, Mass.) at 174, and Kyle Pietrowski (Eliot, Maine) at 197. The rest of the returning veterans include juniors Nick Gurney (Dixfield, Maine) at 174 and Dean Miller (Long Valley, N.J.) at 165, and sophomore Matt Friend (Jefferson, N.H.) at 133.
The solid group of newcomers includes freshmen Chris Greenwood (Manchester, N.H./ West) and Jon Moore (Londonderry, N.H.) at 125, Ryan Schieding (Mancheater, N.H./Memorial) at 149, Travis Lariviere (Richford, Vt.) at 197, Shaun Wilbert (Toms River, N.J.) at 275, sophomore Jamie Ranney (Sandown, N.H.) at 184, and junior Billy Wilbert (Toms River, N.J.) at 197.
"We don't have a lot of depth, but if we remain healthy, we have several guys who could top challengers in their weight class," says Perrin, "but we want to maintain the focus on the team and achieving team goals. If we work hard and stay disciplined, we have the nucleus for what should be a good season."
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