photo courtesy of Tony Rotundo; WrestlersAreWarriors.com
A new feature that we have had on TOM is the “All-2000’s Team” for a respective school. We will go weight-by-weight to feature the best lineup that a team could put together comprised of wrestlers that were in action from the year 2000 to now. Their career could have started in the 1990’s; they just need to have one year of competition in the 2000’s. Each wrestler that is mentioned must have competed for one postseason at their weight class (even if it wasn’t the weight they were most known for).
125 – Steve Bonanno (Wantagh, NY) 2008-13
Four-time NCAA Qualifier, 2012 NCAA eighth-place finisher, Two-time CAA Champion, Four-time CAA finalist
Steve Bonanno was a steady force at the top of the lineup for a Hofstra squad that captured a CAA team title in each season in which he competed. As a junior, Bonanno was seeded 12th at the NCAA Championships and broke through to earn All-American honors with a sudden victory win over Anthony Zanetta (Pittsburgh).
Second Team: Tom Noto
133 – Roman Fleszar (Newton, NJ) 1996-01
Three-time NCAA Qualifier, Two-time All-American (2001-5th; 2000-7th), 1999 Round of 12 finisher, Three-time ECWA Champion
One of two difficult decisions with this lineup was to leave Lou Ruggirello off the first team, but Roman Fleszar had an excellent career for Hofstra in his own right. Fleszar won and ECWA Championship in each season as the starter. He earned a top-ten seed at nationals in all three years, as well. He was able to get onto the podium twice, placing seventh as a junior and fifth as a senior. Roman’s 44 victories during the 1998-99 season still remain the highest total in program history.
Second Team: Lou Ruggirello
141 – Charles Griffin (Reading, PA) 2004-08
Four-time NCAA Qualifier, Two-time All-American (2008-3rd, 2007-3rd), Three-time CAA Champion, Four-time CAA finalist
Two-time CAA Wrestler of the Year Charles Griffin is one of, not the top wrestler for Hofstra during this time period. Griffin came into the NCAA Championships his senior season seeded second and lost a barnburner in the semi’s to the upstart sixth-seed J Jaggers (Ohio State) during his first title run. Charles would bounce back to take third, just as he finished the previous season.
Second Team: Jason DeBruin
149 – Jon Masa (Long Beach, NY) 2001-06
Four-time NCAA Qualifier, Three-time All-American (2006-5th; 2005-3rd; 2003-7th), Three-time CAA Champion, Four-time CAA finalist
The only three-time All-American in Hofstra wrestling history is Jon Masa. He is also one of only three wrestlers to win a conference title in all four years of competition. While still in college Masa competed for Puerto Rico at the World Championships. Jon is regarded as one of the most talented wrestlers to ever suit up for the Pride.
Second Team: Eric Schmiesing
157 – James Strouse (Levittown, NY) 2003-07
Four-time NCAA Qualifier, 2007 NCAA fourth-place finisher, Three-time CAA Champion, Four-time CAA finalist
After three solids years in the lineup for Hofstra, James Strouse finished his career in style as a senior in 2007. He came into the 2007 NCAA Championships with only three losses on his record and earned the third seed at 157 lbs. Strouse advanced to the semifinals before losing a 1-0 match to the eventual runner-up Craig Henning (Wisconsin). James’ 120 career wins place him ninth on Hofstra’s all-time list.
Second Team: Jon Bonilla-Bowman
165 – Mike Patrovich (Bohemia, NY) 2002-07
Four-time NCAA Qualifier, Two-time All-American (2007-6th, 2006-4th), Three-time CAA Champion, Four-time CAA finalist
Current Pride assistant coach Mike Patrovich is one of nine two-time All-Americans in school history. In 2006, Mike was named the CAA Wrestler of the Year after a fourth-place finish at nationals. Though he spent two seasons as a 165 lber, Patrovich qualified for the NCAA Championships at three different weights in his four years at Hofstra.
Second Team: PJ Gillespie
174 – Alton Lucas (West Babylon, NY) 2005-09
Two-time NCAA Qualifier, 2008 NCAA eighth-place finisher, 2008 CAA Champion, Two-time CAA finalist
Alton Lucas competed for Hofstra as a true freshman in 2005-06 and put together a solid first two years in Hempstead, despite not qualifying for nationals in either year. It started to come together for Lucas in 2007-08 when he won his a CAA title and went on to place eighth at the NCAA Tournament. Lucas would not be able to have the same level of success as a senior, though he still earned the 12th seed at the 2009 NCAA Championships.
Second Team: Noel Thompson
184 – Joe Rovelli (Wilkes-Barre, PA) 2004-08
Four-time NCAA Qualifier, 2008 NCAA Round of 12 finisher, Three-time CAA Champion, Four-time CAA finalist
This is the only weight class during the time period when Hofstra has not had an All-American, but Joe Rovelli was always amongst the top wrestlers in the nation. A three-time CAA Champion, Rovelli earned the eighth seed at the 2007 NCAA Championships, his last year at 184. As a senior, Rovelli moved up to 197 lbs and lost in the first round of the national tournament; however he battled back to the Round of 12 before getting eliminated.
Second Team: Ben Clymer
197 – Chris Skretkowicz (Hamburg, NJ) 2001-05
Four-time NCAA Qualifier, Two-time All-American (2004-5th; 2003-6th), 2005 NCAA Round of 12 finisher, Three-time CAA Champion, Four-time CAA finalist
This is the second tough omission of the group, putting two-time All-American and UFC Champion Chris Weidman on the second. However, Chris Skretkowicz was a two-time AA himself and put together the better body of work over four years. Even though he graduated in 2005, Skretkowicz still is Hofstra’s all-time wins leader with 140. He never was seeded lower than seventh at the NCAA Championships and was the second seed in 2004, when he would go on to place fifth.
Second Team: Chris Weidman
285 – Michael Hughes (Smithtown, NY) 2013-18
Two-time NCAA Qualifier, 2018 NCAA sixth-place finisher, 2018 EIWA runner-up
Michael Hughes’ sixth-place finish at the 2018 NCAA Championships made him the first Hofstra heavyweight to get on the podium since Joel Kislin in 1973 and the first AA under the Dennis Papadatos era. His 19 wins by fall in his senior season led all DI wrestlers. Hughes won a total of 80 matches during his last two seasons combined.
Second Team: Paul Snyder