2002-2003 OutlookExpectations are high for the Brown wrestling team this season as the Bears look to be among the elite teams in the east and the Ivy League. Seven starters and fourteen letterwinners return to a squad that went 12-6 a year ago. A strong freshman class also joins the team, many of whom will be expected to contribute early.
Coach Dave Amato, who returns for his 20th year at Brown, will look to his top returners to lead his team. They include three NCAA qualifiers and two first team All-Ivy selections. Co-captains Jason Mercado and Clint Frease will bring a wealth of leadership and experience to the mat this season.
Mercado a 2002 NCAA Qualifier ended his junior year with a record of 10-7 and was third in the EIWA. Mercado did not wrestle in 2000-2001, but as a sophomore in 1999-2000, he was named Second Team All-Ivy after posting a 20-13 record. He had the only first place finish for the Bears at the Ivy League and was also a semi-finalist in EIWA action three years ago.
Clint Frease was also a 2002 NCAA qualifier attaining a record of 22-10 in his junior year and gaining First Team All-Ivy accolades as well as being third in the EIWA. 13 of his 24 victories as a junior were for bonus points. In 2000-2001 Frease recorded a 16-21 overall record.
The Bears also look to junior Nick Ciarcia, All-Ivy First Team as a sophomore. Ciarcia is the third member of the squad who was a 2002 NCAA qualifier, accumulating a 26-14 record. He placed third at the EIWA's at 197 and was named Second team Academic All-American. Had a record of 9-12 in his rookie campaign, including four falls and a victory at the Lone Star Duals.
Brown returns several other talented grapplers in seniors Robert Apgar and Chris Ayers. Returning juniors include Zach Schweda, Tony Rahil, Sean Jenkins, John Csuka, and Adam Santee . Returning for their second season are sophomores Radu Brestyan, Shawn Cully, Frank Gill, Heath Lohrman, Anthony Marconi, Peter Mosely and Michael Savino. The Bears also welcome 12 newcomers to the squad to fill the void of the graduating class of 2002.
"If we stay healthy and continue to improve, the team will set its goals very high," said Amato. "We look to be in the top three again in the Ivy League and in the top five in the EIWA. We would also like to increase our number of NCAA qualifiers and All Americans."
Mike Burch, enters his second year as Amato's assistant, he served as an assistant at Brown from 1992-1995, and will bring enthusiasm and many other qualities to the wrestling program with his tireless dedication to the sport. New assistant coach Ken Bigley brings experience and enthusiasm to the team. Bigley currently competes for the New York Athletic Club, and has coached at Princeton and Ohio University as well as competing for the University of Northern Iowa as an undergraduate.
Brown returns three top wrestlers to this weight class. Senior Rob Apgar returns to the team after recording a 15-19 record in 2001-2002. Junior John Csuka went 5-7 as the starter in this category in 1999-2000, but was forced to miss the entire 2001-2002 campaign due to injury. Anthony Marconi, a sophomore also returns in the 133 weight class after recording a 5-4 record as a freshman.
Senior Clinton Frease comes off a standout junior year being named to the All-Ivy team and a 2002 NCAA qualifier, with a final record of 22-10. As a sophomore, Frease compiled a 16-21. Sophomore Frank Gill, who finished fourth in the state of California as a high school senior, finished his freshman campaign at 5-6 will also see time at 141. Rounding out the 141 pound weight class will be sophomore Shawn Cully, who placed fourth at the Key Stone Classic as a freshman and finished his high school career ranked fifth in Pennsylvania. Freshman Mike Ashton who was second in the state of Ohio as a high school senior will also compete at 141.
Leading the charge will be co-captain Jason Mercado, who entered the 2001-2002 season nursing a shoulder injury, but finished with a 10-7 record. Mercado was a 2002 NCAA Qualifier as a junior. As a sophomore, Mercado was named Second Team All-Ivy for recording a 20-13 record. Sophomore Radu Brestyan also returns to 149 for the Bears after a 3-5 freshman campaign. Freshmen Tim Smith, Dave Saadeh, and Sean Hopkins will also see action.
Brown returns two sophomores in the 157 division, Heath Lohrman and Michael Savino. Lohrman comes off a 10-4 rookie season and looks to be one of the top grapplers for the Bears. Savino wrestled for part of the 2001-2002 season, but due to injury did not compete his entire freshman campaign.
The deepest division for the Bears, returning four upperclassmen, three juniors and one senior. The returning starter for the Bears is junior Sean Jenkins who accumulated a 9-14 record during his first year of action, missed his freshman year due to injury. Senior Chris Ayers finished his junior year with a 4-6 record, and posted a 1-2 record including one fall in the 2000-2001 season. Juniors Tony Rahil, and Zach Schweda also return for the Bears. Schweda started for the Bears as a freshman. Last season, due to injury, Zach wrestled in only four matches posting a record of 2-2. In his rookie season he went 15-16 with five falls. Rahil is also returning for the Bears. He posted a 1-4 record as a sophomore and compiled a 4-6 record as a freshman while splitting his time between 157 and 165.
The Bears will definitely lack depth at the 174-pound weight class in 2002-2003. Junior Adam Santee is the only experienced grappler available to Coach Amato in this category. Santee is coming off a 16-14 campaign and did not wrestle in 2000-2001 but recorded a 3-5 mark in 165-pound action as a freshman in 1999-2000. Coach Amato will look to his newcomer Doran Heist, who finished fifth in Pennsylvania as a high school senior, to add depth to this division.
Coach Amato returns one of his top grapplers, Nick Ciarcia in the 184 division. Ciarcia, a junior, was a 2002 NCAA qualifier as well as an All-Ivy selection. He posted a 26-14 record as a sophomore, placed third at the EIWA's at 197 and was named second team Academic All-American. Nick had a record of 9-12 in his rookie campaign, including four falls. Freshmen Mike Pedro, a four time Massachusetts state champion and Peter Gladish a California state place winner will also wrestle at 184.
Sophomore Peter Mosley is the sole returner at 197 for the Bears and will likely get the start. During his rookie year Mosely posted a 4-10 record. Mosley recorded a 33-3 record at 171 pounds as a senior at Blair Academy. Ciarcia could also see time in this division.
The Bears return no grapplers in this division, but are looking to two freshmen to step up. Coach Amato recruited Lee Beane and Eddie Chacon in the hope to fill the void left by class of '02 stand out Bronson Lingamfelter. Beane is a two-time state and New England Champion as Chacon is a Colorado state champion.