Seven Hofstra wrestlers competed in USA Wrestling’s University Nationals this past weekend which took place on the campus of the University of Akron in Akron, Ohio. The tournament ran from June 3 to June 4. Red-shirt senior Mike Hughes led the Pride by finishing in second place in the national competition.
The University Nationals is a nation-wide freestyle wrestling tournament, which is a different style of wresting than the NCAA. Any wrestler who is enrolled in a university or had graduated the past year can compete in this tournament.
The competitors for Hofstra were red-shirt freshmen Garrett Lambert and Ricky Stamm, sophomores Vinny Vespa and Sage Heller, red-shirt juniors Nezar Haddad and Cory Damiana and red-shirt senior Mike Hughes.
Hughes finished the tournament with a 5-1 record, earning the silver medal. He did not allow a single point until the final bout. He defeated Michael Boykin from the Wolfpack Wrestling Club by a score of 10-0 to advance to the finals against EIWA foe Garrett Ryan who was wrestling for the New York City Regional Training Center. Ryan is a senior at Columbia University and was the 2017 EIWA champion at 285 pounds.
Hughes was defeated by Ryan in the finals by a score of 14-4, securing him with the second-place finish. “Mike Hughes had an impressive showing to make the finals with 52 points scored while not giving up a point,” said Hofstra head coach Dennis Papadatos.
“We believed he was going to be the national champion, but fell short in that final match. We are very proud of him, as making the finals of the University National Freestyle tournament is a very outstanding accomplishment.”
Hughes posted an 18-2 record as an unattached red-shirt in the 2016-17 season and will return to the Hofstra Pride lineup next season.
Hughes’s red-shirt season and off-season have been huge bright spots for Hofstra wrestling. There is no doubt that Hofstra fans everywhere are anxious to see Hughes back in the blue and gold singlet.