LAWRENCEVILLE, NJ-Evan Craig of Clarks Summitt, PA, Vinny Fava of Elmwood Park, NJ and Frank Crocco of Little Falls, NJ have signed national letters of intent to further their education and wrestling careers at Rider University, Rider head coach Gary Taylor announced.
“This year’s incoming class has the potential to be very special,” said Taylor, whose 361 career victories is the second most in the nation among active Division I head coaches. “Each individual has had success in high school on the state and national level. We are looking for these young men to contribute to the success of our wrestling program immediately. In addition to being talented wrestlers we are also excited by the strong character that each of them possess.”
Craig, a senior at Abington Heights High School, has won his last 91 matches to raise his scholastic record to 169-10 at 285 pounds with 115 pins.
“Simply put, we could not be more excited about having Evan join the Rider Wrestling family,” said Taylor, who took six Broncs to the NCAA Division I National Championship last year. “He is one of the very best heavyweights in the entire nation. His ability to not only win but pin most of his opponents is truly amazing as evidenced by pinning 115 of his 169 opponents. In addition to being a great wrestler he is also a respectful and thoughtful young man. We believe he will go far due to his strong character.”
A four-time Pennsylvania AAA State Place Winner, Craig is a two-time State Champion and was the 2008 National Champion in both the Cadet Greco Roman and the Cadet Freestyle and is ranked fourth in the nation.
Fava, a senior at Elmwood Park High School, was a four-time District Champion, a three-time Region Champion and a three-time State Place Winner.
“Vinny is a very good athlete that has been successful with his natural talent,” said Taylor, who has coached 13 All-Americans in the last 31 years. “By virtue of having better workout partners in a college setting we believe that he has a tremendous upside, which will enable him to reach his full potential. The fact that he won a National Championship in his junior year is evidence that he can compete at the national level.”
Fava was the 2009 Junior High School National Champion and graduates with a career record of 124-18.
Crocco, a senior at Passaic Valley High School, compiled 106 scholastic wins, including a 39-1 record as a senior.
“Frank is a young man who, in our opinion, is just starting to come into his own as a wrestler,” Taylor said. “He has a tremendous work ethic which will enable him to adapt his skills to the college level. Frank had an undefeated season entering the NJ state tournament where he beat one of the top wrestlers in the country. His only loss was in the state finals to another nationally ranked wrestler, as a result he finished the season ranked 12th in the entire nation at 145 lbs.”
Crocco, ranked 12th in the nation at 145 pounds, placed runner-up in the NJSIAA Tournament and was a Region 4 champion.
Craig, Fava and Crocco join Chuck Zeisloft of Woodbury Heights, NJ (Gateway High School) and Clint Morrison of Mechanicsburg, PA (Cedar Cliff High School) as newcomers to the 2010-11 Rider squad.
The Broncs will host the Colonial Athletic Association Championships again this year in Rider’s Alumni Gymnasium and will host the 2011 NCAA Division I Championships at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia.