CAA Awards: Vinson Earns Wrestler of the Year; Bonanno Named Top Scholar-Athlete and Anspach Receives Coaching Honors


Vinson, Photo by BV

The CAA recently announced its end-of-year accolades and New York was well represented.  Binghamton 149-pounder Donnie Vinson captured Wrestler of the Year honors for the second straight year.  He also was the conference tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler as both a junior and senior, making him the first wrestler in CAA history to win those two prestigious awards in consecutive campaigns.

Also earning an impressive achievement for the second straight season was Hofstra’s Steve Bonanno, currently a graduate student working toward his MBA.  Bonanno was named the CAA Scholar-Athlete of the Year, as he was in 2012.

Bonanno wasn’t the only member of the Pride to be honored as Rob Anspach collected the conference’s Coach of the Year award after leading his team to the CAA crown for the second time in a row.

For more on Vinson from the Binghamton Athletics site, see here.

For more on Bonanno from the Hofstra site, see here.

For more on Anspach from the Hofstra site, see here.



Hofstra Wins CAA Championship; Vinson and Reed Capture Titles for Binghamton


Hofstra came into this weekend having won 10 of the last 11 CAA championships. The Pride did it again on Saturday in Boston, led by titlewinners Steve Bonanno at 125 and Jamie Franco at 133. Franco was the #4 seed, but he upended returning gold medalist Scott Festejo of Old Dominion in the semis before topping Binghamton’s Derek Steeley in the final bout.

Franco, Photo by BV

Also picking up significant team points for Hofstra were runner up Jermaine John at 174 and bronze winners Luke Vaith (141), Cody Ruggirello (149), Tyler Banks (157) and Taras Luzhnyy (184).

With their showings, Bonanno, Franco and Vaith all picked up automatic bids to the NCAA tournament.

Binghamton captured a pair of titles on Saturday, as Donnie Vinson won for the second straight year at 149 while Cody Reed defeated Ryan Wolfe of Rider in overtime at 184. For his efforts, Vinson was named the Most Outstanding Wrestler.

Taking second were Nate Schiedel at 197 and the previously mentioned Steeley at 133.

All four of those Bearcat grapplers will be making the trip to Des Moines for the Nationals in a few weeks.

For results and brackets from the event, see here.

Cornell and Columbia Each With Three EIWA Finalists; Hofstra and Binghamton Well Represented in the CAA Semis

Going into the final session (first, third and fifth place matches), Cornell leads at the EIWA tournament with 126.5 points. Navy is second with 109.5 and Penn third with 101.5.

Cornell has qualified seven wrestlers for the NCAA tournament already – Nahshon Garrett (125), Mike Nevinger (141), Chris Villalonga (149), Kyle Dake (165), Steve Bosak (184), Jace Bennett (197) and Stryker Lane (285). Jesse Shanaman will wrestle for fifth this afternoon against Scott Winston of Rutgers. The winner of that bout will get a bid to Nationals.

The Big Red has three wrestlers competing for an EIWA championship – Garrett, Dake and Bosak. Nevinger, Villalonga, Bennett and Lane will all be battling for third.

Columbia also has three grapplers in the finals – Steve Santos (149), Matt Bystol (133) and Josh Houldsworth (165). That trio has already qualified for the NCAAs and will joined there by 157-pounder Jake O’Hara, who is in the third place bout at 157.

Facing Columbia’s Santos in the title bout is Army’s Daniel Young. He is one of the four Black Knights who have punched tickets to the NCAAs. Two of the others will be fighting for third (Paul Hancock at 165 and Bryce Barnes at 197). The other, Connor Hanafee, took seventh at 141.

For full results, see here.

CAA Update – Hofstra and Binghamton

After the morning session in Boston, Hofstra and Binghamton have strong representation in the semifinals. The Pride will send seven wrestlers to the mat in the semis, while the Bearcats have six in that round.

For Hofstra, top seeds Steve Bonanno (125) and Jermaine John (174) registered victories, as did defending champion Luke Vaith (141) and returning NCAA qualifier Jamie Franco (133). Cody Ruggirello (149) and Nick Terdick (165) both upset top three seeds to stay in the championship hunt. Tyler Banks also advanced.

The Bearcats saw Donnie Vinson (149), Mike Sardo (125) and Tyler Deuel (285) move forward with byes, while Derek Steeley (133) and Nate Schiedel (197) both won by fall. Second seed Cody Reed won by decision at 184.

The next round will resume at 3 p.m.

For full results, see here.

CAA Preview: Hofstra and Binghamton Looking for Conference Supremacy

Hofstra edged Binghamton by just two points at last year’s CAA Championships to win the conference title for the 10th time in the last 11 years.  The Pride will look to keep that streak going in Boston this weekend with expected challenges from the Bearcats and Rider.  Old Dominion, which fields a strong squad, isn’t eligible for a title since the Monarchs are departing the CAA.

Photo by BV

Who are some of the standouts to watch this weekend?  You could start with two of the conference’s returning All-Americans, who will look to go back to Nationals and improve their placing.  At 125 pounds, Hofstra’s Steve Bonanno has a perfect record in league competition in 2012-13 after taking eighth at NCAAs in 2012.   He is the favorite to capture the one automatic qualifying spot.

Also on the podium in St. Louis was 149-pound bronze medalist Donnie Vinson of Binghamton.  The returning CAA Wrestler of the Year has his sights set on a national title to cap off his career.

Vinson isn’t the only Bearcat currently ranked in the top five nationally.  His teammate Nate Schiedel has had a banner year at 197.  Schiedel is the frontrunner for the CAA crown and hopes to capture a medal in Des Moines.

What Other Returning Champions Are Back?

Besides Bonanno and Vinson, two other 2012 CAA champions return – 133-pounder Scott Festejo of Old Dominion and 141-pounder Luke Vaith of Hofstra.

Festejo will have his hands full with some wrestlers with strong New York ties, including Rider’s Jimmy Morris (a former CHSAA star) and Hofstra’s Jamie Franco.  Franco made an appearance at Nationals a year ago, and has rebounded from a slow start to record some solid victories lately, including over nationally-ranked George DiCamillo of Virginia. (There are three automatic qualifying spots at 133).

Vaith will need to contend with a pair of opponents who have wrestled well, especially in conference action – Frank Cimato of Drexel and Chris Mecate of Old Dominion.   And while he has seen limited action, Binghamton’s Joe Bonaldi started off the season on a high note, beating a number of tough foes to capture the Binghamton Open crown.  He returned to the mat in the final dual of the year and will try to recapture that early season form and take one of the three guaranteed CAA slots in the NCAA field.

Other New York Storylines

Photo by BV

Only the champions at 174 and 184 pounds are guaranteed slots at the National tournament.  Could Jermaine John fit the bill at 174? How about Cody Reed at 184?  Hofstra’s John has put together an undefeated campaign in the conference and was second in the latest CAA rankings behind Old Dominion’s Billy Curling, with James Brundage of Rider in third.

Meanwhile, Reed recorded one of the big upsets in the first round of the NCAAs a year ago when he upended fourth-seed Christian Boley of Maryland. While he hasn’t seen the same level of success down at 184, he knows what it takes to win in March and will be someone to keep an eye on.  (Reed is also second in the CAA rankings, behind Rider’s Ryan Wolfe).

Hofstra 285-pounder Paul Snyder was in the midst of a solid senior campaign when he sustained an injury against Cornell. He didn’t return and according to, he will not compete this weekend.  (Zeal McGrew took his place at the National Duals). In any event, look for Binghamton’s Tyler Deuel to be in the hunt with Old Dominion’s Matt Tourdot and Boston’s Kevin Innis at heavyweight after going 5-1 in CAA action.

So, what will we see this weekend? Hofstra has owned this tournament for much of the last decade.  Can the Pride ride the production in the lower weights to another title?  Binghamton will once again be in the mix, propelled by a probable slew of bonus points from Vinson and Schiedel.  And Rider can’t be overlooked, with a solid and balanced lineup.  The Broncs had seven grapplers in the top four in the last CAA poll, while Hofstra and Binghamton had five apiece.  (Old Dominion led the way with nine).  Last year, the team race came down to the wire.  It could be that way again.

** According to, Snyder will not compete.

Hofstra Tops American; Vinson Becomes All-Time Wins Leader in Binghamton Loss to Old Dominion

CAA teams Hofstra and Binghamton both took the mat on Friday night after winning two of three duals last weekend in Virginia. The Pride defeated American at home, 21-9. After dropping two of the first three matches against the Eagles, Hofstra responded with five consecutive victories, beginning with a decision by Tim Murphy at 197.

Meanwhile, Binghamton lost a 21-18 dual at conference rival Old Dominion.  The Bearcats trailed 21-6 after six bouts but mounted a comeback, winning the last four matches.

One of the highlights for the Bearcats came in the 149-pound match when senior Donnie Vinson pinned Brennan Brumley. The victory for Vinson was the 124th of his career, making him Binghamton’s all-time wins leader.

Hofstra 21 American 9

165: Phillip Barreiro (American) dec Nick Terdick (Hofstra), 7-5
174: Jermaine John (Hofstra) dec Keithan Cast (American), 8-3
184: Thomas Barreiro (American) dec Victor Pozsonyi (Hofstra), 4-1
197: Tim Murphy (Hofstra) dec Devon Bradley (American), 6-3
285: Paul Snyder (Hofstra) dec Blake Herrin (American), 3-1 SV
125: Steve Bonnano (Hofstra) dec David Terao (American), 13-6
133: Jamie Franco (Hofstra) dec Esteban Gomez-Rivera (American), 2-0
141: Luke Vaith (Hofstra) dec John Boyle (American), 6-1
149: Kevin Tao (American) dec Cody Ruggirello (Hofstra), 7-4
157: Tyler Banks (Hofstra) dec Mark Cirello (American), 3-1

Old Dominion 21 Binghamton 18

125: Rob Deutsch (ODU) tech fall Mike Sardo (Binghamton)
133: Scott Festejo (ODU) dec Derek Steeley (Binghamton), 6-4
141: Justin LaValle (ODU) maj Dan Riggi (Binghamton), 10-0
149: Donnie Vinson (Binghamton) pin Brennan Brumley (ODU)
157: John Nicholson (ODU) pin Jack McKeever (Binghamton)
165: Brett Miller (ODU) dec Vincent Grella (Binghamton), 4-3
174: John Paris (Binghamton) dec Marcus Johnson (ODU), 4-2
184: Cody Reed (Binghamton) dec Austin Coburn (ODU), 5-3 SV
197: Nate Schiedel (Binghamton) dec Jacob Henderson (ODU), 4-1
285: Tyler Deuel (Binghamton) dec Matt Tourdot (ODU), 11-5