October 31, 2001

2001-2002 Brown Bears Wrestling Outlook

Oct. 31, 2001

Expectations 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. Nine starters and thirteen letterwinners return to a squad that went 11-9 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 19th year at Brown, will look to five top returners to lead his team. They include two NCAA qualifiers and a first team All-Ivy selection. Tri-captains Bronson Lingamfelter '02, Jason Mercado '02, and David Dies '03 will bring a wealth of leadership and experience to the mat this season.

Lingamfelter looks to cap an impressive Brown career that has seen him qualify for the NCAA Tournament three times. Last season he was voted a First Team All-Ivy selection after compiling a 30-9 record that included 15 pins. One of the top heavyweight grapplers in the country last year, Lingamfelter finished second at the EIWA Tournament. Lingamfelter has 75 career victories at Brown and was named the Ivy League and EIWA Freshman of the Year in 1999.

Mercado rejoins the team at 149 after taking last season off. 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 Classic two years ago. Mercado was also a semi-finalist in EIWA action.

Dies returns to the team at 149 after recording a 20-11 mark last season with three falls. He placed fourth in the EIWA Tournament and turned in first place finishes at the Bearcat Open, Keystone Classic and Lone Star Duals.

The other two top returners for the Bears include seniors Karl Rittger at 184 and Jesse Savage at 157. Rittger, an NCAA qualifier in 1999-2000, went 15-9 last season and was named an All-Ivy honorable mention. He placed fifth at the EIWA Tournament. Savage was also named an All-Ivy honorable mention by collecting a 20-13 record with 11 falls and was a semi-finalist in EIWA competition.

The Bears will also look for strong seasons out of Clinton Hicks '04, Rob Apgar '03, Clinton Frease '03, Zach Schweda '04, Adam Santee '03, and Nick Ciarcia '04.

"If we stay healthy then we can be competitive and set our goals high," said Amato. "Everybody has worked very hard in the off season to bring us back to being more competitive in the league."

New assistant coaches Jason Robison and Mike Burch, who served as an assistant at Brown from 1992-1995, will bring enthusiasm and many other qualities to the wrestling program with their tireless dedication to the sport.