Even as the mercury drops outside, the action is warming up inside Alumni Gym and the Coppola Pool, where Rider’s winter sports are off to a hot start.

Sironda Chambers '13 scored a career-high 24 points against Lafayette on November 27.

Even as the mercury drops outside, the action is warming up inside Alumni Gym and the Coppola Pool, where Rider’s winter sports are off to a hot start.

Rider’s perennially powerful wrestling team will make its 2012-13 home debut on Saturday, December 1, hosting local rival Princeton at 1 p.m. in Alumni Gymnasium. The dual meet will be the first in the newly refurbished Alumni Gym.

The 2-0 Broncs are led by Ramon Santiago ’14, who is currently ranked 15th in the nation by Amateur Wrestling News in his new 165-pound weight class.

“Ramon is progressing nicely in his career here at Rider and is off to a good start,” said Rider head coach Gary Taylor. “He moved up a weight class this year and spent the summer lifting into it.”

This season Santiago (10-1, 2-0 duals) finished first at the Binghamton Open and was the runner-up at the Keystone Classic. Last season Santiago placed third at the Colonial Athletic Association meet, and compiled 17 wins at 157 pounds, third most on the team. “We look for big things from Ramon both this year and in the future,” Taylor said.

Other Broncs off to good starts include 157-pounder Zac Cibula ’13, the 133-pound Jimmy Morris ’15 and 148-pound Curt Delia’ 16.

Men’s swimming and diving will look to defend its 2012 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference championship this winter, and its season is already off to a strong start, with consecutive wins against La Salle and Marist. After spending the weekend of November 30 in Providence, R.I., at the Brown Invitational, head coach Steve Fletcher’s men and women Broncs return home on Saturday, January 12, to face Loyola (Md.) at Coppola Pool at 1 p.m.

Brian Molloy ’13 and Trevor Hiller ’14 were named the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Swimmer and Diver of the Week on November 20. Molloy led Rider to a MAAC win at Marist this past weekend, winning the 1000-yard freestyle (9:57.98) and the 500-yard freestyle (4:41.58) and also swam the anchor leg of the winning 200 medley relay. Hiller won the one-meter dive in Rider's MAAC win at Marist with a score of 328.57.

As usual, men’s basketball scheduled a rigorous early-season nonconference slate, and is off to a solid 4-4 start as of November 30. New head coach Kevin Baggett’s Broncs won the Hoops for Hope Classic in Puerto Rico, topping Horizon League power Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the final on November 25.

Led by forward Daniel Stewart’14, guard Anthony Myles ’13, and transfer guard Nurideen Lindsey ’14, the Broncs open their MAAC schedule on Friday, December 7, at Siena, and welcome Fairfield two days later at Alumni Gym.

On the other side of the hardwood, women’s basketball took to the court this year with a determination to build on its recent improvement. With guard/forward MyNeshia McKenzie ’14, guard Sironda Chambers ’13 and center Caitlin Bopp ’13 leading the way, head coach Lynn Milligan’s Broncs will head to Providence during the first weekend in December, taking on Brown and either Quinnipiac or New Hampshire. Rider will ring in the new year, as well as their MAAC schedule, on Friday, January 4 when they host Marist at Alumni Gym.

James Burroughs ’13, who won two events at the MAAC Championships and earned All-East honors in the 110 hurdles as an NCAA Regional qualifier last year, returns to lead the track and field squad this winter for head coach Bob Hamer. Burroughs, who set a MAAC record in the 400-meter hurdles last year, will be joined on the women’s side by Lauryn Strebeck ’14, who finished 23rd in the triple jump (10.92m) at last year’s IC4A/ECAC Championships.