EVANSTON, Ill. – Day one is complete at the 48th Midlands Championships and Lehigh finds itself in first place in the 44-team field. The Mountain Hawks placed four wrestlers in Thursday’s championship semifinals while three others remain alive in the consolations and can earn a place in the top eight with a win in Thursday’s opening round of consolations.
Lehigh ten scoring wrestlers racked up 65 team points to lead the field, 6.5 points ahead of second place Wisconsin. Iowa (52.5 points), Pittsburgh, (49.5) and Iowa State (49) round out the top five teams.
The story of the day for the Mountain Hawks was the performance of freshman Austin Meys, who reached the semifinals at 174 on the strength of three falls. The tournament’s No. 7 seed, Meys pinned Mikey England of Iowa State and Mike Evans of Iowa in the first session, then decked the No. 2 seed, Stanford’s Nick Amuchastegui in 4:31 in the quarterfinals. Meys countered an Amuchastegui shot and used a spladle-like maneuver to put the Cardinal grappler on his back. With that win, Meys moves into the semifinals where he will face No. 3 seed Ben Bennett of Central Michigan. Bennett beat Meys 1-0 back on December 12.
Sophomore Robert Hamlin and senior Zach Rey began the day as Lehigh’s two lone remaining undefeated wrestlers, and both men moved into the semifinals while improving their season records to 12-0. Hamlin, the No. 2 seed at 184, began his day with a major decision win over Spencer Patrick of Stanford and added two more wins to earn a matchup with No. 3 seed Travis Rutt of Wisconsin in the semis.
Rey, top-ranked heavyweight in the nation and the No. 1 seed, outscored his three opponents 21-2 on the day to move into the semifinals, where he will meet No. 4 seed Ryan Flores of American. It will be Rey’s first match against Flores since the 2009 EIWA finals where Flores, wrestling for Columbia, won 6-1 in sudden victory.
Also reaching the semifinals for Lehigh was junior Joe Kennedy, the No. 3 seed at 197. Like Rey, Kennedy yielded just two points in three bouts, both coming in a quarterfinal win over Nebraska’s Andy Johnson. Next up for Kennedy is the No. 10 seed, Matt Wilps of Pittsburgh who is competing unattached.
Of the five Mountain Hawks to reach the quarterfinals, only junior Brandon Hatchett was defeated. The No. 8 seed at 165, Hatchett dropped a 9-5 decision to defending national champion Andrew Howe of Wisconsin. Hatchett began his day with a pin and then avenged a loss to Corey Lear of Bucknell with a 7-1 win. He will face No. 12 seed Conrad Polz of Illinois on Thursday with the winner earning a spot in the top eight.
Freshman Stephen Dutton has impressed at 141, winning three bouts including two by major decision. Dutton won his opening bout before dropping a wild 9-7 decision to No. 4 seed Mark Ballweg of Iowa in the round of 16. Both of Dutton’s majors came in the consolations, to earn the true freshman a matchup with No. 10 seed Mike Koehnlein of Nebraska with a top-eight place at stake.
With freshman Frank Cagnina not competing at 133, Lehigh’s coaches selected senior 184-pounder Kadeem Samuels to be Lehigh’s tenth point scorer, and Samuels has so far affirmed the coaches’ decision. Samuels dropped a tough 12-6 decision to No. 4 seed Josh Ihnen of Nebraska in the first round but battled back with three straight wins in the consolations to survive until Thursday. A win Thursday over Dan Scherer of Stanford would give Lehigh two place winners at 184.
Although limited to ten point scorers, Lehigh entered 12 attached men in the tournament and all 12 won at least one match. Among the remaining point scorers, senior Mitch Berger went 2-2 with a pin before bowing out in the third round of consolations at 125. Sophomore Joey Napoli went 1-2 at 149 with all three bouts decided by one or two points. At 157, junior Sean Bilodeau returned to action with a strong start winning by fall in the pigtail round and then by decision, but after a 5-0 loss to Darryl Cocozzo of Rutgers, Bilodeau defaulted out of the tournament.
Lehigh’s two non-scores enjoyed solid runs as well. Senior Kyle Rosser went 2-2 at 149 with a first round fall, while junior Brian Tanen went 2-2 at 157 with two wins over Big Ten foes.
The 48th Midlands Championships conclude Thursday from Northwestern’s Welsh-Ryan Arena. Session three, with the championship semifinals and consolations begins at noon CT while session four featuring the championship finals will begin at 7 p.m.
125 – Mitch Berger
Rd. of 32: dec. Shane Gentry (Maryland) 7-2
Rd. of 16: L by dec. to Frank Lomas (CSU-Bakersfield) 14-8
2nd Rd. Cons.: pinned Logan Arlis (Illinois) in 1:09
3rd Rd. Cons.: L by dec. Nick Smith (Northern Illinois) 12-6
141 – Stephen Dutton
Rd. of 32: dec. Colin Shober (Northwestern) 8-2
Rd. of 16: L by dec. to Mark Ballweg (Iowa) 9-7, s.v.
2nd Rd. Cons.: major dec. Andrew Zobac (North Central) 9-1
3rd Rd. Cons.: major dec. Zac Hancock (Bucknell) 16-5
4th Rd. Cons.: vs. Mike Koehnlein (Nebraska)
149 – Joey Napoli
Rd. of 32: dec. Donnie Corby (Cent. Michigan) 3-2
Rd. of 16: L by dec. to Zac Cibula (Rider) 4-3
2nd Rd. Cons.: L by dec. Eric Terrazas (Illinois) 6-4
149 – Kyle Rosser (non-scorer)
Rd. of 32: pinned Sam Patacsil (Purdue) in 6:08
Rd. of 16: L by dec. to Andrew Nadhir (Northwestern) 8-6
2nd Rd. Cons.: dec. Vince Castillo (Northern Illinois) 10-3
3rd Rd. Cons.: L by major dec. to Nick Lester (Oklahoma) 13-0
157 – Sean Bilodeau
Pigtail: pinned Koort Leyrer (Cleveland St.) in 0:35
Rd. of 32: dec. David Helmer (Northwestern) 9-3
Rd. of 16: L by dec. to Darryl Cocozzo (Rutgers) 5-0
2nd Rd. Cons.: medical forfeit to Mike Kelly (Iowa)
157 – Brian Tanen (non-scorer)
Rd. of 32: dec. Jake Beechy (Illinois) 5-1
Rd. of 16: L by tech fall to James Fleming (Clarion) 15-0, 7:00
2nd Rd. Cons.: dec. Kalvin York (Wisconsin) 10-5
3rd Rd. Cons.: L by dec. to Sean McMurray (Unattached) 7-5
165 – Brandon Hatchett
Rd. of 32: pinned Nick Pickerell (Northern Iowa) in 2:51
Rd. of 16: dec. Corey Lear (Bucknell) 7-1
Quarterfinals: L by dec. to Andrew Howe (Wisconsin) 9-5
4th Rd. Cons.: vs. Conrad Polz (Illinois)
174 – Austin Meys
Rd. of 32: pinned Mikey England (Iowa State) in 1:37
Rd. of 16: pinned Mike Evans (Iowa) in 4:36
Quarterfinals: pinned Nick Amuchastegui (Stanford) in 4:31
Semifinals: vs. Ben Bennett (Cent. Michigan)
184 – Robert Hamlin
Rd. of 32: major dec. Spencer Patrick (Stanford) 10-2
Rd. of 16: dec. Ryan Loder (Northern Iowa) 7-3
Quarterfinals: dec. Mike Larson (Missouri) 6-3
Semifinals: vs. Travis Rutt (Wisconsin)
184 – Kadeem Samuels
Rd. of 32: L by dec. to Josh Ihnen (Nebraska) 12-6
1st Rd. Cons.: dec. Brad Dieckhaus (Northern Illinois) 5-3
2nd Rd. Cons.: dec. Kevin Radford (Arizona State) 8-7
3rd Rd. Cons.: dec. Cameron Croy (Harvard) 6-2
4th Rd. Cons.: vs. Dan Scherer (Stanford)
197 – Joe Kennedy
Rd. of 32: dec. David Pisarcik (Purdue) 6-0
Rd. of 16: dec. Derrick Borlie (Wisconsin) 3-0
Quarterfinals: dec. Andy Johnson (Nebraska) 6-2
Semifinals: vs. Matt Wilps (Pittsburgh)
285 – Zach Rey
Rd. of 32: dec. Quintas McCorkle (Clarion) 7-0
Rd. of 16: dec. Steven Andrus (Michigan State) 4-0
Quarterfinals: major dec. Christian Brantley (Northern Iowa) 10-2
Semifinals: vs. Ryan Flores (American)
1. LEHIGH 65 pts.
2. Wisconsin 58.5 pts.
3. Iowa 52.5 pts.
4. Pittsburgh 49.5 pts.
5. Iowa State 49 pts.