Rill gives wrestling the old college try at Bucknell North Carroll grad gains seasoning on club team

January 03, 1993|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,Contributing Writer

Andy Rill has started over again.

Rill began his wrestling career four years ago as a freshman at North Carroll. He progressed and turned in a 30-2 senior season while taking second in the state last year.

Now, in his freshman year at Bucknell University, he has embarked on a new journey with the start of his college wrestling career.

Rill wrestles on the club team for Bucknell, which is sort of a junior varsity. Although he spent much of his senior season in high school at 125 pounds, Rill competes at 118 for Bucknell.

Rill, who hopes to get a degree in business administration, said there is a lot of work to do on the mat. After wrestle-offs for the varsity, he wound up on the club team and has posted a 3-2 record in tournament action at the holiday break.

Rill said he is not disappointed by not making the varsity, because he planned on being red-shirted this year.

"It's a training year," said Rill. "There's a senior on the varsity, and I wasn't expecting to walk in there [and take the spot]."

This looms as a season filled with long practices, some tournament work and attempts to improve. That's quite a change from being the No. 2 wrestler in the state in his weight class less than a year ago.

"I expected to win every [match]," said Rill. "It was the confidence, not cockiness, more than anything."

At Bucknell, however, he's learning about wrestling at a different level.

"The biggest difference is it's a lot more physical and a lot more precise technique," said Rill. "I like it a lot."

Rill said Bucknell started practice Oct. 5 and goes five days a week. That, in addition to college course work, is making for some rather long days. But that is just fine with him.

He gets to work with the varsity constantly in practice. He said take downs are his weakness and, seeing their importance in college wrestling, Rill wants to become more proficient at them.

Rill said it reminds him a lot of his freshman year at North Carroll when he took a crash course in wrestling.

Rill joined the North Carroll program almost by accident. During his freshman year, he was a classmate of Bill Ferencz, then on his way to his second state title.

Ferencz suggested that Rill try out for wrestling. Rill did, and after struggling a bit at first, soon caught on.

Rill, whose father wrestled for the Panthers, found success early as he finished third in the county junior varsity tournament his freshman year.

His ascent then began. Rill made the varsity and broke into the starting lineup with an 11-8 record in his sophomore year. He improved to 23-6 as a junior.

Last year, Rill blossomed even more. He won 30 of 32 matches and made it all the way to the Class 2A-1A state finals before falling.

Despite his success, Rill lingered in the shadow of other more publicized wrestlers such as Tommy Dell and Dave Foster, who won state titles. Rill said that didn't bother him.

"I haven't thought I had to prove anything. My goal was to go out there and win for myself and the team," said Rill. "Ever since I was a freshman, I had a guy [placing] in the top three to work with."

North Carroll coach Dick Bauerlein said that despite Rill's lack of wrestling experience, he spotted his talent quickly.

"I knew he had the grit, desire and hustle," said Bauerlein. "He has that innate desire to wrestle. He's just a competitor."

Rill is not, and never has been, a stylish wrestler. He just goes out and wins.

"He's never flashy," said Bauerlein. "He got the job done."

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