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UConn Husky Pack Off and Running

12/05/2009 -

Storrs, CT - The University of Connecticut Wrestling Team opened the ’09-’10 season in impressive fashion with dual meet wins over UAlbany, University of New Haven and perennial NCWA powerhouse Naval Academy Prep. The defending ’08-’09 Connecticut NCWA State Champions are known about campus for their dedication, team unity, spirit and the award winning promotional video entitled “Run With the Pack,” which was produced and directed by Co-Captain Mike Gorton (Sr./Waterford, CT) and has played a big role in the large number of committed members on the roster this season. Also leading the pack is Co-Captain Pat Neilan (Sr./Waterford, CT) who along with Gorton provides superb leadership, which has made the wrestling program a huge success thus far. Gorton, Neilan, Luke Walsh (Soph./Farmington, CT) and ‘08-’09 New England Champion Mike Battinelli (Soph./Stamford, CT) all were NEC qualifiers for the NCWA National Championships in Hampton, VA last season.

Husky wrestlers who are undefeated include Gorton at 174 lbs., Battinelli at 157 lbs. and team points leader Rich Zschoche (Jr./Danbury, CT) at 197 lbs. Each of these wrestlers has earned championships in their respective weight classes at the Titan Collegiate Open, which was held on 11/14/09 in Albany, NY. Other Titan Open place winners include Neilan at 184 lbs., Walsh at 141 lbs., Evan Nahins (Soph./Greenwich, CT) at 133 lbs., Nick Morales (Jr./Ledyard, CT) at 235 lbs. and Eric Parsons (Fr./Winsted, CT) at 165 lbs. Rounding out the UConn starting line-up are Zachariah Savic (Jr./Wethersfield, CT) at 125 lbs., George Madkour (Soph./Danbury, CT) at 141 lbs., Micah Flashman (Jr./Monroe, CT) at 165 lbs., Chris Scoppetta (Jr./Bristol, CT) at 197 lbs and NJ Greco-Roman Champ John Casper (Soph./Bergenfield, NJ) at 149 lbs. who have each recorded key victories this season. Freshmen newcomers who have contributed impressive performances in the Husky’s starting line-up include Alec Labonte (125/Northbridge, MA), Joshua Schmidt (157/Greenleaf, WI), Alex Sterner (174/Terryville, CT), Matt Dumbrowski (285/Ea. Hartford, CT) and Connecticut HS Open Champion Noah Smutnick (133/Woodstock, CT).

33 year veteran HS and college coach Rick Bartel and former Ithaca College (NY) wrestling star Justin Dwork make up the Husky Pack’s coaching staff. Together they form a staff in which they complement each other in order to field the highest quality team possible. Rhode Island native Bartel’s experience, administrative and organization skills combined with Dwork’s technical background as one of the foremost clinicians in the country have brought the UConn program rapid success.

Look for the Husky pack to establish themselves as one of the top teams in the NCWA as they will travel to Middle Tennessee State University on Jan. 29-30, 2010 to compete for the NCWA National Dual Meet Championships. Go Husky Pack!