Panther Season Preview

November 10th, 2000 by Adam

PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Plymouth State College opens its 2000-01 wrestling season this weekend when the Panthers travel to Bristol, R.I., for the annual
Roger Williams Invitational.

This begins a stretch of four consecutive road dates for the Panthers, including three invitationals and a trip to Wisconsin, before competing in the home
opener at Foley Gymnasium on Dec. 6th against Rhode Island College.

Led by sixth-year head coach Dave Carlson, the Panthers should again boast one of the top wrestling teams in New England. PSC returns 11
veterans from last year’s squad, including six starters and one all-conference performer, for what Carlson expects to be another strong campaign.

“One thing my years of coaching has taught me,” said Carlson, a two-time New England Coach of the Year, “is you never really know what’s going to
happen. I’ve had good teams that didn’t do so well, and I’ve had average teams that did great. So much comes down to the end of the season, and that’s how
we evaluate success in this sport, so it’s hard to say. But I will say this team will be hard-nosed and formidable.”

PSC is coming off a 9-8 dual match season, and a disappointing eighth place at the New England Championships. PSC sent at least one wrestler to
the NCAA Championships for the sixth straight year.

“Our goals are the same every year,” said Carlson. “We look to win the New England championship and be competitive at the NCAA Championships.
The regular season is used as a learning tool to meet those goals.”

2000-01 P.S.C Wrestling Outlook

Carlson is hoping to blend the cast of returnees with a few transfers and a batch of newcomers to return to the kind of Panther squads that won the New
England title in 1996, placed 3rd in 1998 and finished runner-up in 1999.

“Practices have been really promising,” said Carlson. “Our biggest strength is that we are two deep at every weight class. We’ve never been that
fortunate before. Depth is a huge plus, instead of giving up forfeits like we have in the past.”

PSC will have to overcome the loss of senior Ben Baker, the 174-pounder who led the team with a 30-8 record and advanced to the NCAA

Leading the group of returning veterans are seniors Eric Runci (Whitman, Mass.) and Marco Salce (Keene, N.H.). Runci, a 149-pounder, registered a
22-15 overall record last season and finished third on the team in victories and tied for third in pins (7). He captured third place at 149 at the PSC Open in
January. Salce, a 184-pounder, finished second on the team in wins with a 25-15 record, and posted impressive places at the RIT Invitational in Rochester, N.Y.
(3rd), the PSC Open (5th) and the New England Championships (2nd).

“We will look to Eric and Marco as our leaders in the wrestling room this season,” said Carlson. “Marco had an incredible performance at the New
Englands last year. He peaked at the right time. We are hoping for another year like that from both him and Eric.”

Carlson indicated that a trio of transfers – sophomore Rich Moskowitz (Amherst, N.H.) from Rutgers University, and sophomore Griffin Banos (Edison,
N.J.) and junior Chris Villa (Monmouth, Jct., NJ) from Middlesex (N.J.) Community College, have added strength to the Panther line-up. Moskowitz is a
157-pounder, Banos a 141-pounder, and Villa a 165-pounder. All have experience at the college level.

Other veteran returnees expected to help the Panthers this winter are junior Dave Brown (North Andover, Mass.) at 133 pounds, senior Todd Austin
(Rumford, Maine) at heavyweight, senior Moses Cerritos (Naples, Fla.) at 174, and junior Nate Buffington (Plymouth, N.H.) and sophomore Jared Raymond
(Danville, N.H.) at 125.

“Brown is a solid competitor and Austin has been providing a lot of leadership this year,” commented Carlson. “Moses has been with us for four years
and has really, really developed. I’m comfortable with either Nate or Jared at 125, no matter which one wins that spot.”