NEW YORK – The Columbia wrestling program and Andrew F. Barth Head Coach of Wrestling Carl Fronhofer
has announced the Lions’ highly-touted 2012 recruiting class - group that ranks among the best incoming groups of newcomers in the nation.
Columbia’s 11-member incoming class of first-years features Angelo Amenta, Andrew Barth Jr., Austin Coniker, Zack Hernandez, Chris Loew, Johnson Mai, Jacob Marks, Joe Moita, Alec Mooradian, Ryan Murdock and Connor Sutton. The group has been ranked by WIN Magazine as the No. 24 recruiting class in the nation. Mai (138) and Mooradian (174) both ranked in the D1CW Top 200 Recruits for 2012.
"I am excited to get this class on campus," Fronhofer said. "I think it is a good group of kids and with the right focus and work ethic I believe that they will make a big impact on our program."
Here is a quick rundown of Columbia wrestling’s incoming class of 2016:
Angelo Amenta – 133 pounds | Oregon Clay HS (Oregon, Ohio)
Amenta was a two-time Ohio state placewinner, including a fifth-place showing at 138 pounds in 2012. He was also a two-time Walsh Ironman Placewinner (2010-11).
Andrew Barth Jr. – 174 pounds | San Marino HS (San Marino, Calif.)
Barth won the Rio Hondo League Wrestling Championship at 160 pounds in each of the past two seasons. He is the son of Columbia wrestling alumnus Andrew Barth.
Austin Coniker – 174 pounds | Pittsburgh Central Catholic HS (Pittsburgh, Pa.)
Coniker was a PIAA state placewinner as a junior 2011, taking sixth place at 171 pounds. He compiled an impressive 41-15 overall record with 12 pins and three major decisions in 2010-11.
Zack Hernandez – 184 pounds | Punahou HS (Honolulu, Hawaii)
Hernandez was a two-time HHSAA state champion at 191 pounds, winning the state title at that weight in 2011 and 2012. As a junior in 2010-11, he went undefeated, pinned all but three opponents and allowed only one takedown against him. He was also an outstanding football player earning second-team all-state honors as a senior linebacker.
Chris Loew – 184/197 pounds | Wantagh HS (Wantagh, N.Y.)
Loew helped lead Wantagh to three Nassau County Division 1 Wrestling Championship team titles in three of his four years. As a senior in 2012, he took third place at 170 pounds. He compiled a 117-35 overall record in high school with 78 pins. Loew was a third-place finisher at New York State Freestyle/Greco-Roman Championships in 2010 and 2012.
Johnson Mai – 125 pounds | North Torrence HS (Torrence, Calif.)
Mai is the Lions’ highest-rated recruit as D1CW ranked him as the no. 138 recruit in the nation for 2012. As a junior, Mai won the 103-pound state title at the 2011 CIF State Championship. He was also the 2011 Junior National Greco-Roman Champion at 105 pounds and the 2011 Junior National Freestyle runner-up at 105 pounds. As a senior, he took second place at 106 pounds at the 2012 CIF State Championship.
Jacob Marks – 157 pounds | Interlake HS (Bellevue, Wash.)
As a junior in 2011, Marks was the WIAA 2A state runner-up at 152 pounds. He is the brother of Columbia senior pole vaulter Jason Marks.
Joe Moita – 133 pounds | De La Salle HS (Concord, Calif.)
Moita is another highly-regarded wrestler from the state of California. He took third place at 132 pounds as a senior at the 2012 CIF State Championship.
Alec Mooradian – 141 pounds | Detroit Catholic Central HS (Novi, Mich.)
Mooradian was a three-time MHSAA state champion, winning at 112 in 2009, 119 in 2010 and 135 in 2011. As a senior, Mooradian went 47-3 at 152 pounds and finished as the state runner-up. He is ranked at no. 174 in the D1CW Top 200 Recruits for 2012.
Ryan Murdock – 133/141 pounds | Dublin Coffman HS (Dublin, Ohio)
Murdock was a three-time OHSAA state. He took fourth place at 126 in 2010, sixth place at 112 in 2011 and fourth place at 126 in 2012.
Connor Sutton – 157/165 pounds | La Salle Institute (Troy, N.Y.)
Sutton is a promising middle-weight wrestler from New York. He was the NYSPHSAA state champion at 140 pounds and went 42-4 with 22 pins as a junior in 2011. As a senior, Sutton took sixth place at 160 pounds at the NYSPHSAA Wrestling Championships and compiled a 37-5 record with 18 pins. He is the younger brother of former Columbia wrestler Steve Sutton CC'08.
The Lions are coming off an outstanding 2011-12 season which featured three individuals, recently-graduated senior Kevin Lester and juniors Steve Santos and Jake O'Hara, qualifying for the NCAA Championships. Columbia went 8-5 in duals, 3-2 against the Ivy League and 4-3 against the EIWA. The Lions placed sixth as a team at the EIWA Championships and posted seven placewinners. In 2012-13, Columbia will return seven of its 10 starters from last season.