Two Rider wrestlers named All Americans
Rider University wrestlers Jesse Dellavecchia and Ethan Laird have been named to the National Wrestling Coaches Association All-America Teams. Dellavecchia earned First Team honors, while Laird earned Honorable Mention.
"This is an extremely prestigious honor for both Jesse and Ethan to be named as NWCA All-Americans for their successful seasons," says Rider Head Coach John Hangey. "Having their seasons end so abruptly was difficult, so for the NWCA to recognize the student-athletes that earned Top 16 seeds as All-Americans at the NCAA's is very honorable."
The top eight seeds at NCAA Championships in each weight class were named to the First Team, with the nine through 12 seeds taking Second Team and 13 through 16 earning Honorable Mention.
As the No. 4 seed at 157 lbs., Dellavecchia earned First Team honors. The redshirt senior became Rider's first-ever MAC Champion, defeating nationally ranked wrestlers Larry Early of Old Dominion and Jarrett Jacques of the University of Missouri to earn the title. He was an NCAA Qualifier for the second-straight year, posting a 30-2 record and winning both his first and last 13 matches of the year. He placed first at the Keystone Classic and the Princeton Open and second at the Southern Scuffle.
"Jesse was the fourth-seeded wrestler in the nation at 157 pounds and was well-positioned to become our program's next All American and possibly our first-ever National Champion," says Hangey.
Laird was an NCAA Qualifier for the second-straight year at 197 lbs. He finished second at MAC Championships. Laird posted a 24-7 record, going 10-4 in duals and compiling a 7-1 mark in MAC duals.
He earned three wins over wrestlers ranked in the Top 25 – Jake Jakobsen (Lehigh), Dakota Geer (Oklahoma State) and Michael Beard (Penn State), the latter two coming at the Southern Scuffle. Laird placed second at both the Princeton Open and Keystone Classic and finished third at the Southern Scuffle. He won two matches by fall on the season and earned a decision in the Broncs' upset victory over nationally ranked No. 6 Minnesota on Nov. 15, 2019.
"Ethan also had a great season and was ready to make a run at the NCAA tournament," Hangey says. "He had several key wins that made him a serious threat to be an All American at 197."
2018-19 was the first year the NCAA seeded the Top 33 in each weight class, with 79 out of the 80 eventual All-Americans being seeded among the Top 16 in their weight classes.
Along with Ryan Cloud, Laird was also named to the NWCA Scholar All-America Team. In the classroom, Laird posted a 3.12 GPA as a business administration major.
Already recognized on the Academic All-MAC Team, Cloud adds NWCA Scholar All-America honors to his highly successful senior season of accolades as the Broncs' heavyweight. He qualified for NCAA's with a fourth-place finish at the MAC Championships and posted a 27-12 overall record, including a 10-5 dual record and a 6-2 mark in MAC duals. He earned a team-best seven wins by fall and clinched the Broncs' upset victory at nationally ranked No. 6 Minnesota with a decision at 285 pounds. He also finished fifth at the Keystone Classic and placed sixth at the Princeton Open. He's posted a 3.36 GPA as a health sciences major.
To be eligible for the NWCA Scholar All-America Team, student-athletes must complete one full semester at their school and either have a 3.0 cumulative GPA and be a 2020 NCAA Qualifier or have a 3.2 cumulative GPA and have won 60 percent of their total matches while competing in at least 60 percent of their team's schedule.