James Brundage today signed a letter of intent with Rider University. The Ossining senior will wrestle for the Lawrenceville, NJ school next season.
He told me yesterday that the final college list came down to three choices: Virginia, Boston University, and Rider. Virginia was probably his top choice since he grew up down there and his mom and sister still live in Virginia. UVA only offered a partial scholarship, though. He stressed how much he didn’t want to leave school in debt. That left BU and Rider, both of which offered full rides.
The Rider pick came down to two factors. First, it was closer to home. James’s dad came to almost all of his matches this season and he wants him to be able to see him some in college too. Lawrenceville, which is just north of Trenton, is about two hours from Ossining. Boston is twice that.
The second factor was class size. BU has over 18,000 undergrads. Rider has 6,500. Brundage said he didn’t want to be an anonymous name at the back of an auditorium. He wants small classes where professors know his face. Another point for Rider.
It didn’t hurt that a Rider wrestler, Doug Umbehauer, just placed third at the NCAA tournament and earned All-America status. It’s proof that the wrestling room of 30-year coach Gary Taylor is still cranking out top competitors.
I also learned that Brundage’s teammate Clay Neivert, another sectional champ, has decided on SUNY Brockport.