Wrestling team thriving

Junior Connor Humphries attempts to take down his opponent.

Andrew Wuebker, Sports Editor

The Roger Williams University men’s wrestling team is in the midst of another successful season.

Led by head coach Jon Egan, who’s in his sixth year coaching the Hawks, the team has found themselves sitting pretty with a 16-6 record and ranked 20th nationally for Division III by the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) as of Jan. 31.

This past year, the Hawks finished with a record of 21-2. The team finished fourth in the Northeast Region and runner-up in the Pilgrim League. In addition, the team ranked as high as fourth. At the Northeast Regional, the Hawks had six individuals represent RWU through earning All-Region honors, and Ty Herzog earned a berth to the N.C.A.A. Tournament in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. Herzog was named an All-American with his seventh-place finish. Off the mat, the Hawks had four NWCA Division III Academic All-Americans.

The team won 12 of their first 13 meets to begin the year before going 4-5 to this point. The Hawks may not be flying high as a group of late, but for some wrestlers, they’ve been on the up and up all season.

Senior captain Nicholas Barbaria (125 lbs.) has muscled his way to a 23-6 record thus far and is at 93 career wins, an absurd number for someone of his weight class. Fellow senior Justin Cochran (149 lbs.) has also performed admirably with a 21-6 record on the season. 

Representing the underclassmen for the Hawks are sophomore standouts Tyler Gazaway (157 lbs.) and Taylor Shay (174 lbs.). Gazaway has a 24-6 record on the year while Shay has gone 25-3.

Make sure to come support your fellow Hawks as the final home meet of the year takes place on Friday, Feb. 2 vs. the Rhode Island College Anchormen at 7 p.m. There will be a free raffle taking place with a grand prize of $300 cash.

The Feb. 2 matchup will also be senior night. Barbaria, Cochran, Matt Elias, Peter Hilburn, Carter Merecki and CJ Moyer are among the veterans to be honored that evening.

The Hawks are also looking ahead to a rematch with Johnson & Wales University. The Battle of the WU’s is usually the prime-time match of the RWU wrestling season, drawing massive student crowds. Earlier this year, the Hawks met the Wildcats on Jan. 21 in the New England Division III Dual Meet Championships in Providence, Rhode Island, but fell 20-15.

The Hawks will have a chance to get back at them on Thursday, Feb. 8 at the Providence Performing Art Center at 7 p.m. Tickets are free for students. JWU is ranked fourth in the nation by the NWCA.