LANCASTER, Pa. - Franklin & Marshall's DI wrestling team is set to open the 2018-19 season on Sunday when the Diplomats travel to Binghamton for the annual Bearcat Open.
F&M is aiming to build on the program's momentum of sending a wrestler to compete at NCAAs in six out of the previous eight seasons. The Diplomats saw their grapplers place a total of 16 times at tournaments last year, while three returning members of their dual lineup tallied a winning record.
To watch this year's season preview video, featuring ninth-year head coach Mike Rogers, click here.
To watch a video roster of the 2018-19 Diplomats, click here.
In the Rankings - Antonio Pelusi - 285 Pounds
No. 13 - Track Wrestling
No. 16 - Win Magazine
No. 16 - Wrestling Insider
No. 20 - FloWrestling
Wrestlers to Watch
Antonio Pelusi | Sr. | 285 Pounds
Anthony Mancini | Sr. | 184 Pounds
Paddy Quinlan | Sr. | 141 Pounds
Emmett LiCastri | Jr. | 157 Pounds
Brett Kulp | Jr. | 141 Pounds
Cole Aaron | Jr. | 149 Pounds
Wil Gil | Soph. | 149 Pounds
F&M's strength this season appears to be the upper weights with co-captains Pelusi and Mancini anchoring the dual lineup. Pelusi is a two-time NCAA Qualifier and two-time EIWA place winner for the Diplomats. He produced a 2-2 record at last year's NCAAs and closed out his season with a 26-10 overall record. Competing unattached last year, Mancini totaled 23 wins and placed at four open tournaments.
Quinlan, also a captain, and Kulp at 141 pounds, along with Cole Aaron and Wil Gil at 149 pounds, offers the Diplomats a plethora of talent and depth at the middleweights. LiCastri, a captain, figures to start at 157 pounds after winning 11 matches a year ago, including wins against seven EIWA opponents.
125 - Jose Diaz or Mike Simonetti
133 - Jose Diaz or Mike Simonetti
141 - Paddy Quinlan or Brett Kulp
149 - Cole Aaron or Wil Gil
157 - Emmett LiCastri
165 - Jacob Conners or Crew Fullerton
174 - Chris Bolletino
184 - Anthony Mancini
197 - Steven Mercadante or Philip Robilotto
285 - Antonio Pelusi
A Look at the First Years
Head coach Mike Rogers and his staff are welcoming in a nine-member class of first years to the program. The group features three grapplers from New Jersey, two from New York, as well as natives of Pennsylvania, Texas, Indiana, and West Virginia.
With a deep, talented first-year class, Rogers sees the potential of two-four members competing for spots in the dual meet lineup. That group includes Chris Bolletino who is in the early running for the 174-pound position, as well as Jose Diaz (125 pounds) and Crew Fullerton (165 pounds) who will challenge for time at their respective weight classes.
A Look at the Binghamton Open
The Jonathon Kaloust Bearcat Open, named in honor of the former Binghamton student-athlete and Navy SEAL who was killed in a training exercise in May of 2013, enters its ninth annual year of competition. The tournament will take place in Vestal, N.Y. at the Events Center.
The Road Ahead
The Diplomats are set to compete in 13 dual meets to go along with several tournaments as F&M prepares for the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA) Championships, which are hosted by Binghamton on March 8-9.
Notable events include the historic Midlands Tournament, hosted by Northwestern, from Dec. 29-30 while the tradition of the Rupp Cup continues on Feb. 13 with a 7:30 p.m. road dual against Millersville.
The seventh annual David H. Lehman F&M Open is set for Saturday, Jan. 5 at the ASFC in Lancaster, while the NCAA Championships are taking place in Pittsburgh, Pa. on March 21-23.
Dippery Joins the Staff
Tyson Dippery joined the Diplomat coaching staff for the 2018-19 season. He competed at Division I Rider University, where he graduated in May 2018 with a Bachelor's degree in Sociology.
Throughout his five-year collegiate career, Dippery compiled a 101-48 career record. He transferred from Rutgers University where he was a 2016 NCAA Qualifier at 149 pounds and a Big Ten Championships place winner – finishing sixth.
Record Book Watch
Antonio Pelusi enters the 2018-19 season with a 58-44 dual record for his career, which places 25th on F&M's all-time list. Paddy Quinlan (49-42) and Anthony Mancini (48-48) are tied for 32nd. Rick Durso '16 leads the Diplomats with a 145-38 career mark.
Quinlan is 15th with 17 career pins. Justin Herbert '09 leads that category with 35.
All of your favorite Diplomat athletic teams are available on social media. Follow them on Twitter and Instagram, like them on Facebook and subscribe to the Diplomats YouTube page for frequent highlight videos of games throughout the season. All home wrestling matches at the Mayser Center will be broadcast live in HD at GoDiplomats.com/Live.