It's been a banner year for the wrestling team - reaching the 10 win plateau for nearly the first time in a decade, upsetting a nationally ranked program, and getting multiple MAC wins. Most of the success was fueled by the bevy of underclassmen starting throughout the lineup, however, today we salute the four grapplers who have served as leaders on and off the mat as they conclude their time in Amherst.
Corey Hollister - 125 Pounds - Perry, NY
Senior Year: With Kyle Akins locking down the starting gig at 125 pounds and Justin Patrick competing in open tournaments, Hollister has been on the sidelines throughout the season. But, he provides critical depth, competition and leadership both on and off the mat.
Before UB: A Western New York native, Hollister competed for Perry High School and was the first wrestler to ever earn multiple trips to the New York State Tournament from the program. Hollister finished his senior season 45-4 and was named to the All-Greater Rochester team.
UB Career: Being behind Max Soria and now Kyle Akins, Hollister has competed in limited action throughout his career, but he's made the most of his time on the mat. During his redshirt season he earned his first career victory at the New York State Collegiate Championships. The following season he took home a 9-8 overall record including a dual meet win by pinfall over Chris Mosher of Cumberland.
Senior Moment: Although he hasn't competed this season, Hollister excels in the classroom as a chemistry major and was honored as a UB Scholar Athlete of the Month for January for his outstanding performance in the classroom.
Rrok Ndokaj - 165 Pounds - Staten Island, NY
Senior Year: Ndokaj competed mostly in open tournaments throughout the year due to Tyler Rill's presence in the lineup at 165 pounds, however, Ndokaj has moved into the starting lineup at various times throughout the season due to injuries. On the season between open and regular competition Ndokaj sports a 19-16 record and a 2-4 record in dual meets.
Before UB: Ndokaj was a standout on the mat for Staten Island's Monsignor Farrell High School earning over 100 career victories and was named All-State and All-American in his prep career. He started his collegiate career at Bloomsburg with Coach Stutzman and followed him to UB when he was hired away; he won 12 matches in his lone season at Bloomsburg.
UB Career: Ndokaj currently leads the team in career wins with 38; he finished his redshirt freshman year with an 11-19 record and last season with an 8-17 season. He went on a six match winning streak early in his redshirt freshman year including winning 5 matches at the New York State Collegiate Championships to place 5th in the Open Bracket.
Senior Moment: In a dual meet against nationally ranked Central Michigan, Ndokaj wrestled a well paced match against Jordan Atienza and defeated him 8-3.
Tyler Rill - 165/174 Pounds - Hampstead, MD
Senior Year: Coming off of a serious injury sustained at the start of last season, Rill came into this season down a weight class and ready to wrestle. Rill currently holds an even 11-11 record on the season despite missing a few dual meets and the NYS Championships due to injury. Rill also made history as the first grappler in several years to place at the prestigious Midlands Championships, taking home 8th place at 165 pounds. As of late, Rill has been forced to bump up to 174 pounds due to injury.
Before UB: Rill was quite accomplished in his prep career, earning over 100 career victories, a Maryland state championship in 2011 and a top-3 finish at the Prep National Championships. Rill started his collegiate career at Bloomsburg, collecting 12 victories in his first season there before transferring to UB to follow coach Stutzman.
UB Career: Rill collected a 12-16 record in his first season at UB and started strong in his second season collecting two pinfall victories and 10 takedowns in 3 matches before suffering a season ending injury in his 3rd match of the season.
Senior Moment: Earning a top-8 finish at one of the most difficult in-season tournaments in the nation highlights Rill's senior season. Rill earned victories over Cooper Moore of Northern Iowa, Tyler Buckwalter of Kent State, Jordan Pagano of Rutgers and Clark Glass of Oklahoma en route to his 8th place finish.
Muhamed McBryde - 174 Pounds - Buffalo, NY
Senior Year: McBryde entered his second season as the starter at 174 pounds and at times he's shown strength and dominance on his feet that rivals anyone in the nation, and he's only 18 years old. McBryde holds a 6-8 record on the season with a key victory coming in UB's win over B1G member Maryland. Recently, however, he was injured in practice and may not see the mat again this season.
Before UB: McBryde is an interesting story and has a story that's definitely worth telling. He was homeschooled in Buffalo and graduated high school early and earned an associates degree from ECC at the age of 16. He never wrestled in a scholastic setting but learned from his father, Mustafa, who wrestled at UB. Because of his time at ECC the NCAA has ruled that he has used part of his eligibility and it's the reason that he is exhausting his eligibility this season, despite being the same age as many of the freshmen on UB's team.
UB Career: McBryde's UB career got off to a tumultuous start due to an antiquated NCAA rule that does not allow wrestlers to wear a beard if they are to compete in a match. Because of his Muslim faith McBryde could not shave his beard and therefore only practiced with the team before the NCAA came to their senses and allowed McBryde to participate in matches. In those matches, McBryde carries a career record of 23-24 including a 6th place finish in the NYS Collegiate Championships in his junior season.
Senior Moment: McBryde had a 4-1 decision victory over Tyler Manion of Maryland to spur the momentum in UB's favor as they won 4 of the last 5 weights to down Maryland 19-13
Congratulations to Corey, Rrok, Tyler, and Muhamed on great careers at UB, we wish you all the best in your future endeavors!