Assistant Sports Editor
The Rhode Island College wrestling team opened the 2022-23 season with three wrestlers winning their weight class at the Veterans All-American Class. These matches took place on Saturday at the Providence Career and Technical Academy. This was an individual meet, meaning no teams and no scores. A few of the college’s top wrestlers didn’t participate, but the ones who did, showed how strong they were individually and gave a preview of the rest of the season.
Junior Michael Alfonso, from Garfield, New Jersey, freshman Brett Redner, from Butler, New Jersey and senior Eric Zane, from Quaker Hill, Connecticut, were all undefeated, which earned them first place finishes.
Alfonso went 3-0, earning three pins and finishing first at 285 lbs. Redner also finished first at 133 lbs, going 3-0 and earning a pin. Zane, continuing the trend, earned one pin and one technical fall, finishing first at 157 lbs and going 4-0. These three weren’t the only ones to pick up some victories in this meet.
Michael Pestana, a sophomore from North Bergen, New Jersey, earned two pins and one loss, which placed him third at 141 lbs.
One notable name that did not compete was last year's NCAA Div III National Champion, Nathan Lackman, from Wernersville, Pennsylvania.
Lackman, who is a senior, enters this season with a big preseason ranking by the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA). At 165 lbs, Lackman earned the ranking of No. 1 by the NWCA out of the whole country. RIC also earned 17th out of all the colleges in the NCWA’s rankings.
Lackman finished last season with a whopping 35-0 record, en route to becoming only the third anchormen in program history to win a national title. In that season, he had impressive stats: 11 pins, 74 takedowns, two reversals, 15 escapes and 29 near-falls. No wrestler was able to take him down either.
On top of his No. 1 ranking, Lackman earned a spot on the NEWA’s Dual Championship All-Tournament Team. Lackman enters his senior season ready to repeat as national champion and live up to his preseason rankings.
The wrestling team is led by Head Coach Jay Jones. After this weekend's invitational the three weight class victories gives RIC some momentum heading into their next meet. Their next meet is at the Doug Parker Invitational, located in Springfield, Massachusetts, on Saturday, Nov. 19.