Wrestling team’s strong season leads to improved rankings

Student interns also recognized for program’s marketing efforts
Thursday, December 19, 2013

After a strong start to the season, the Rider University Wrestling team has jumped three spots in the rankings. The team moved up to No. 22 from No. 25 on the most recent USA Today/NWCA/AWN Division I Coaches Poll.

The Broncs improved to 5-1 on Dec. 7 with a victory over former CAA rival Binghamton, giving head coach Gary Taylor his 395th career win. The team's only loss this season so far was to three-time defending NCAA Division I National Champions Penn State, ranked No. 1 in the nation, during a televised match Nov. 16 from Alumni Gymnasium.

The team also recently placed at No. 20 in the "Best of Brand" rankings produced by the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA). “Rider has burst onto the scene with a solid social media presence this season,” the NWCA wrote. “They continue to impress with their consistent efforts.”

Six students from Dr. A.J. Moore’s class Publicity Methods interned with the team this season, supporting the wrestling program’s marketing efforts. “Our duties as a team were to promote the wrestling team the best way possible,” says Julia Fang ’14, a public relations major and events and production minor.

Fang organized a meet and greet event where students could meet the wrestlers and facilitated the team’s use of promotional items like T-shirts, bracelets and postcards.

Lauren Wood ’15, public relations major and events and production minor, focused on social media. She live tweeted every match while also posting on Facebook and Instagram. The group decided to use the hashtag #mancrushmonday, with Wood posting pictures of different wrestlers every Monday.

Ariel Aberin ’14 created advertisements that promoted the team and related events, such as designing posters that were used throughout campus to build momentum for upcoming matches. Jessica Vento ’15, a public relations major and journalism and advertising minor, served as a journalist, contributing to Rider’s student newspaper, The Rider News.

Myrna Russell ’14, a public relations major and events and production minor, produced a commercial that promoted the season and Rebecca Summers ’14, a public relations major and sociology minor, wrote the script.

Individual wrestlers also moved up according to the latest rankings. Rider sophomore Robert Deutsch (Cherry Hill, N.J./Eastern Regional) moved up to No. 10 (from No. 11) at 125 pounds, senior Ramon Santiago (Sayreville, N.J./Sayreville) moved up to No. 13 (from No. 14) at 165 pounds and junior Clint Morrison (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Cedar Cliff) moved up to No. 19 (previously not ranked) at 184.

Morrison won a major decision in Rider’s 34-8 loss to No. 1 Penn State, improving to 3-1 on the season. Deutsch is also 3-1 on the season after losing 5-0 to No. Nico Megaludis of Penn State. Santiago is now 2-2 after losing to No. 1 David Taylor of Penn State.

The team debuted at No. 25 in the first USA Today/NWCA/AWN Division I Coaches Poll of the regular season after a successful 3-0 weekend at the Hokie Duals in Blacksburg, Va. Last year Rider’s wrestling team finished runner-up in its final season in the Colonial Athletic Association and sent four wrestlers to Nationals. This year, Rider is competing in the Eastern Wrestling League.

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The team moved up to No. 22 from No. 25 on the most recent USA Today/NWCA/AWN Division I Coaches Poll.