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The Tangerine

The Student News Site of Utica University

The Tangerine

The Student News Site of Utica University

The Tangerine

Women’s wrestling looks forward to program’s first season

Connor Lapresi is set to become the first women’s wrestling coach in program history. Courtesy of Utica Athletics
Connor Lapresi is set to become the first women’s wrestling coach in program history. Courtesy of Utica Athletics

Shortly after Utica University announced in September 2022 the addition of women’s gymnastics along with men’s and women’s wrestling, Connor Lapresi was named Utica’s first-ever women’s wrestling head coach. 

Now one year later, Lapresi said he is focused on laying the foundation of the wrestling program. 

“From the basics of the sport to the basics of what makes a team, we are having these discussions early and are building what we want to become,” Lapresi said. “We’re also focusing on the little things such as doing breathing exercises with the athletic counselor on campus, Allison Matlak.” 

Lapresi spent last year coaching women’s wrestling at Ferrum College in Ferrum, Virginia. Before that, he was an assistant coach for two seasons at SUNY Cortland where he taught a variety of classes in physical education.

While in college, Lapresi started his journey at Bucknell University before he transferred to Cornell University where he graduated in 2018.


A two-time All-American in wrestling at Lansing High, Lapresi served as the team’s captain for two seasons and said he wants to hit the ground running this season, not necessarily in records, but in the overall decorum. 


“There’s no reason why,” Lapresi said. “ We can’t carry ourselves as if it’s our fifth or tenth year as a program.”  


Freshman wrestler Gillian Mills said the university adding men’s and women’s wrestling not only offers new opportunities for wrestlers in New York State but is a great opportunity for Utica to participate in the sport.


Like Lapresi, Mills said even as a first-year program, the wrestlers aim to make an impact.


“My hopes for the upcoming season is to build a foundation for the start of the women’s team,” Mills said. “I also hope that our team can qualify for nationals because as a first-year program that means we are on the right track in making the program successful.”


Utica University Athletic Director David Fontaine said he is excited about the university adding women’s wrestling, along with men’s wrestling and women’s gymnastics. 


“I’m happy Connor [Lapresi] is aboard. He’s led a couple of teams and he’s in the wrestling world,” Fontaine said. “I’m looking forward to him producing on the recruiting side of things.”


Fontaine hopes that the new athletes have a good experience at Utica and are setting in academically at the university.


“If they need anything we’re here to help them,” Fontaine said. “We’re looking for positive growth in all three of our programs for years to come, but we also want them to have the best experience that they possibly can at Utica University.”


Whenever a new sport is added at Utica all players, coaches and stats are added to Adam Ziobrowski, director of sports information, is charged with overseeing the website operation.


Ziobrowski said the website is powered by Sidearm. Through what he calls the “backend of the website,” he is able to create and edit rosters with all of the coaches and athletes for each sport. 


From there, Ziobrowski creates a roster in the stat programs with the same names that are on the website. When a game ends he uploads the XML files to the backend and the website takes those files and produces what is on


When asked how he will keep track of wrestling, Ziobrowski said it will be a learning experience for his department.

“Wrestling [much like golf, cross country, track & field] isn’t a sport where you sit and stat a game,” Ziobrowksi said. “Thus, there is no XML for the website to pull from. It sounds like we will be keeping a running list of stats until hopefully there becomes a cleaner way in the future.”

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Nick Phillips
Nick Phillips, Sports Reporter

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