Wrestling dominates senior night

The Hawks dominated their senior night match against Rhode Island College on Friday, Feb. 2 with a 54-0 win. The gym was packed with friends, family, and fellow Hawks from other athletic teams in a show of support for the men’s wrestling team, especially the six seniors who will be graduating in May.

Senior captain Nick Barbaria (125 lbs.) started the match off strong and pinned RIC opponent Brandon Nunez. Barbaria finished last season with an impressive 22-9 record and tied for fourth on the team with 64 takedowns. Currently, he sits at 26-6.

After Barbaria pushed the Hawks to a 6-0 lead, freshman Tristan Haviland (133 lbs.) defeated RIC opponent Danny Murray 5-1, raising the Hawks’ lead to 9-0. Shortly after, senior Matt Elias (141 lbs.) continued the Hawks hot streak and pinned RIC’s Frank Roman, making a 15-0 lead. Last season, Elias finished with a 12-8 record and performed 39 takedowns during the year. He currently holds a 17-9 record.

A forfeit win for sophomore Sean Wieck (133 lbs.) brought the Hawks to a 21-0 lead.

Senior captain Justin Cochran (149 lbs.) came out on fire and pinned opponent James Smith less than a minute into the first period, bringing the total score to 27-0. Last season, Cochran finished with a 27-11 overall record and performed 47 takedowns. He is already on his way to surpassing his old record, and currently sits at 23-7 for the 2017-18 season.

Next came sophomore Taylor Shay (165 lbs.) who scored an 18-1 technical fall against Nick Gould, bringing the Hawks total to 32 points, and keeping the RIC Anchormen at zero.

Senior Peter Hilburn (174 lbs.) won 16-3 by major decision, defeating opponent Tim Caplan and bringing the Hawks to a 36-0 lead. Last season, Hilburn earned a 19-8 overall record and was second on the team with 65 takedowns. So far this season, his record sits at 12-9. A forfeit win for freshman Anthony Malfitano (174 lbs.) brought the Hawks up six additional points, furthering the lead to 42-0.

Coming close to the end of the match, freshman Mike Fernandes (197 lbs.) won by fall over his opponent, Nick Coppola, bringing the Hawks’ lead to 48-0.

The Hawks finished off strong with a pin from junior Adam Patsun (285 lbs.), defeating opponent Jordan Zanni to complete the 54-0 shutout for the team.

Head Coach Jon Egan touched on the mindset the team has when going into a match.

“Guys know that every match is really important, every match counts,” Egan said. “It’s a good way to go out at home.”

Barbaria said he tries not to think of this as his senior year, but just another year where he has to give everything he’s got. “Going and doing everything like it’s any other day,” is the strategy for the senior captain.

In their most recent match on Saturday, Feb. 3, the Hawks earned two more wins at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute Super Quad, defeating New York University 31-15 and Coast Guard Academy 26-16.

Both of these teams are in the top 25 in the country, and Coach Egan says things have finally started “clicking.”

“We’ve been making a lot of little, minor mistakes throughout the season because our team is really young,” Egan said. “It’s good to see those things finally coming together.”

Coming up, the Hawks have the famous “Battle of the WUs,” facing Johnson & Wales University at the Providence Performing Arts Center on Thursday, Feb. 8 at 7 p.m.