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THE RYDE(R) TO HAPPY VALLEY: 3x Defending State Champion Commits to Penn State

By MD, 09/23/22, 1:30PM EDT


NYWN's #1 2024 Prospect, Zack Ryder, Verbals to the Defending National Champs


To say that Penn State University Head Wrestling Coach, Cael Sanderson is a legend of the mat is common sense....

But it turns out that the former 4x NCAA DI Champion/2004 Olympic Gold medalist might just do his best work damn at the kitchen table!

Taking the short trip from State College, PA to Westown, NY, all it required was one in-home visit (this past Wednesday) for the Nittany Lions to win the sweepstakes for the #1 overall 2024 prospect in the Empire State, Zack Ryder...

A true phenom who has excelled at every level of the sport, a "ryde" that started among friends as "The Underground", will now deliver the 4x NYS finalist/3x Defending titlist [Ryder] to the premier collegiate wrestling program in the land!!! 

On track to become one of, if not the most decorated scholastic competitors in New York State Wrestling history, the Minisink Valley junior has known nothing but success and team triumph during his four-year stay on the Warrior varsity....

The owner of a 160-7 career record (per, Ryder wasted no time in rising to prominence as a 7th grader in 2019, going 43-4 en route to earning the first of his four consecutive trips to the state finals, where he dropped a hard fought 4-3 decision to Stevo Poulin (his 4th state crown) in the 106-pound finale, but won the respect of everyone in attendance...

The loss to Poulin would be the last one that the youngest child of Darren & Laura [Ryder] would suffer at a NYS tournament, as he has since gone on to win 13 straight bouts between NYSPHSAA sanctioned and /or Journeymen sponsored events...

Fresh off of back-to-back state golds in 2020 (@126) & 2021 (@152) that witnessed him defeat the likes of 2022 State champ, Rocco Camillaci (Hilton; 7-4 decision in the 2020 quarters), 2x NYS DI runner-up, George Oroudjov (Ithaca; fall in 4:35 in the 2020 finals), 4x large school state medalist, Ivan Garcia (Port Chester; 10-7 decision in 2020 semis), as well as a trio of 2x DII place-winners---Jake Jablonski (SWR; Fall 1:39 1st round of 2021 Journeymen 1st round), Noah Bernstein  (Edgemont; 15-3 major decision in the 2021 Journeymen semis), and Kaleb Burgess (Pal-Mac; 3-2 decision in 2021 Journeymen finals), 2022 was Ryder's most dominant in-state season yet!!!

Going the distance just once in his most recent trip to Albany, Ryder punched his ticket to the 160-pound 'ship last February by securing 1st period falls over the eventual 3rd and 4th place performers---Frankie Theroux (St. Anthony's 0:39) and Brady Unger (Fairport; 1:07) before doubling up 3x DI medalist, Nick Sanko (Pittsford), 6-3 in on "Saturday night"!!!

The bedrock/foundation of the Green & White Warrior machine, since Ryder entered the line-up, MV has swept the sectional dual and tournament team crowns and enter 2023 as the two-time defending NYS DI Dual/1x Federation Tournament kings/queens!

An individual that has taken the nation and globe by storm to boot, Ryder also darn-near bonus pointed his way to a 2021 NHSCA Freshman Crown (settled for an 8-1 decision in the finals over 2022 PIAA State 6th, Bodie Morgan), seized the 2021 USAW 16U National FS brass ring behind a 10-9 decision over 2x Oklahoma State Champion, KJ Evans, and posted finishes of 5th and 3rd at the 2021 Super 32 and 2021 Walsh Ironman tournaments!

More impressive with each subsequent appearance, the Section 9 standout registered perhaps his finest domestic display this past  April/May when he knocked off a trio of then top-15 ranked foes to secure a spot on his first U.S. Age-Group World Team....In the quarterfinals, a go-behind TD in the 2nd period was the difference-maker in a 3-2 decision over #4 Gabe Arnold (2x National Prep titlist; 2021 Fargo FS National Champion)....In the semis, he jumped out to a 4-0 1st period advantage and then utilized a late step out (:07 remaining) to ice a 5-3 decision against 2022 Wisconsin State champ/2021 USAW Folk National gold, #14 Aeoden Sinclair....Ryder then fulfilled his destiny by dominating the best-of-3 finals series versus another Cheesehead State resident, Connor Mirasola, prevailing by commanding scores of 8-0 and WBF 1:07 to overwhelm the 2x Wisconsin titlist/2021 Fargo 3rd!....Sinclair & Mirasola both rebounded to win "Stop Signs" in Fargo two months later; thus adding to the  breadth of the immense feat!

In late-July, Ryder claimed his first international prize, as he rallied from an opening round loss to the eventual silver medalist from Iran to pitch three straight shutouts (outscored opponents 20-0 margin during the mini streak) to emerge with the bronze medal in the 80kg weight class at the 2022 UWW Cadet/U17 World Championships in Rome, Italy....

Selecting the Nittany Lions from a top-8 comprised also of Arizona State, Rutgers, Virginia Tech, Ohio State, Cornell, NC State, and Lehigh, there was no better finer for Ryder!!!

Since accepting the reins in State College in April of 2009, Sanderson and his staff has turned the wrestling room into "Upper-weight, USA"...

Boasting 16 individual National Champs, 6 national runners-up, and 34 All-American in whole from 174-285, there has been no better an environment for greatness to be pursued for a student-athlete of Ryder's talent and bulk!.....And mind you, this does not even include the fact that 2x World Champion/2020 Olympic Gold medalist, David Taylor (86kg), not to mention 2012 Olympic yellow medal recipient, Jake Varner (96kg) were both collegiate proteges of Sanderson!

Ranked 2nd in the land @182 pounds and regarded as the #4 overall national prospect in his graduating class, Ryder is the first blockbuster recruit this cycle for PSU!  

Ryder will be seeking to be the fifth individual from NY to win an individual title on behalf of Penn State....If all goes according to to the master plan, he will join the esteemed company of Joe Lemyre (1952 @167), Carl DeStefanis (1984 @118), Jeff Prescott (2x---1991 & 1992 @118), and Kerry McCoy (2x-1994 @Hwt; 1997 @Hwt.)!

Simply put; WE ARE....HE NOW IS!!!

Week #2 Individual Rankings - Division 1

By JS 12/07/2022, 9:00pm EST

A lot of movement after 1 week, a few upsets as well; Who's ready for week #2?

Week #1 HS Recap

By MD 12/07/2022, 3:00pm EST

Minisink Valley Kicks-Off Bid for three-peat by winning Ballston Spa Duals; Grimsey Topples #1 L. English At the Bailey Memorial; Sibble Wins Battle of #1s over Monchery at Mark Stephens Classic; Catrabone Bests Noto At Marino; Adams Squeaks Past Clem At Battle At the Beach

LIVE UPDATES: Tracking the Top 25!

By NYWN Staff 12/06/2022, 11:30am EST

Follow along with the top 25 in both Division 1 and Division 2

Week #2 Team Rankings

By JS 12/06/2022, 11:00am EST

If anything was learned from week 1, it's we are in for a phenomenal dual meet season!

Weekend Preview (12/2-12/5/2022)

By NYWN Staff 12/02/2022, 10:15am EST


2022 Division 1 Post Certification Rankings

By JS 11/28/2022, 8:00pm EST

Seven State Champs return on the D1 side; Ferrara/Manfredi - 1/2 @ 132lbs; Donavan Smith heads back to Elmira; Ranked #1 @ 160lbs

2022 Division 2 Post Certification Rankings

By JS 11/28/2022, 8:00pm EST

Five State Champs return on the D2 side; English Brothers Claim #1 at 118 & 126

2022 Preseason Team Rankings

By JS 11/24/2022, 12:00am EST

Without any doubt, Minisink Valley (D1) and Tioga (D2) start the season as #1's and favorites to repeat as State Dual Meet Champions in 2023

2022-2023 Regular Season Kickoff

By JS 11/14/2022, 11:00am EST


UPenn Commit Gallagher tops the charts heading into his Senior Season