EVANSTON, Ill. – Junior Zach Rey became the third Lehigh wrestler to win a Midlands Championship as he defeated Jarod Trice of Central Michigan 2-1 to capture the heavyweight title at the 48th Midlands, which wrapped-up Thursday night at Welsh-Ryan Arena. Rey led a contingent of six Mountain Hawks who placed in the event and his finals win propelled the Lehigh to a third-place team finish.
Lehigh entered the day as the leaders in the team race, but the Mountain Hawks won just one of four semifinal bouts while two of the three Mountain Hawks in the round of 12 won to give Lehigh a school record-tying six Midlands place winners for the second straight year.
Rey, the No. 1 seed and top-ranked heavyweight in the country, defeated Trice for the second time in a three-week span and moved to 14-0 on the season with a 5-0 performance in the two day tournament. Riding time was the difference in the championship bout as Rey escaped early in the second period and then rode Trice for over a minute before yielding a third-period escape. The New Jersey native becomes Lehigh’s third undergraduate Midlands Champion joining Darryl Burley (1981) and Jon Trenge (2002 and 2004).
In the semifinals, Rey reversed American’s Ryan Flores onto his back for two-and-two in the second period and went on to win 5-2, avenging a loss to Flores in the 2009 EIWA finals when Flores wrestled for Columbia.
Sophomore Robert Hamlin suffered his first loss of the season, but rallied to earn Lehigh’s next highest place with a third place showing at 184. Hamlin fell 6-4 to Trevor Rutt of Wisconsin in the semifinals but rallied to win his next two bouts, winning decisions over Ryan Loder of UNI and Mike Larson of Missouri.
One of the top stories from Wednesday was the performance of freshman Austin Meys who had three wins by fall on the tournament’s open day. Meys wasn’t fully able to continue the momentum into day two as he dropped a 6-0 decision to Ben Bennett of Central Michigan. In the consolation semifinals, Meys downed Ethen Lofthouse of Iowa 5-2 to earn a rematch with Stanford’s Nick Amuchastegui, who he pinned on Wednesday. The rematch went to the Stanford grappler by a 5-4 score as Meys had to settle for fourth place.
Meys’ big day on Wednesday did garner him one of the post-tournament awards, as he earned the Most Falls award after recording three in a total time of 10:44.
At 197, junior Joe Kennedy was relegated to the fifth place match after two losses, but managed to defeat Nathan Patrick of Sunkist Kids 3-0 to place fifth. In the semifinals, Kennedy gave up five points in an early scramble and dropped a 10-2 decision to eventual champion Matt Wilps of Pittsburgh.
Thursday’s third session began with consolations where three Mountain Hawks had a chance to enter the top eight with wins.
Freshman Stephen Dutton overcame an early 2-0 deficit with a five point move to defeat Mike Koehnlein of Nebraska 10-3. Dutton lost in the consolation quarterfinals and had to settle for eighth place after dropping a 5-4 decision to Nick Dardanes of Minnesota in the seventh place match.
Lehigh’s sixth place winner was senior Kadeem Samuels who took seventh at 184. Samuels won his way onto the podium with a 7-4 win over Stanford’s Dan Scherer. After losing to Loder 7-2, Samuels won a 3-2 decision over Nebraska’s James Nakashima to claim seventh place.
Of the seven Mountain Hawks to compete on Thursday only junior Brandon Hatchett failed to place. Hatchett ran into the No. 3 seed, Tyler Caldwell of Oklahoma, who prevailed by a 2-0 score.
Missouri surged past Lehigh, Iowa and Wisconsin to claim the team title. The Tigers had zero finalists, but placed six wrestlers and powered by bonus points put up 103.5 team points, eight points ahead of second place Wisconsin. Rey’s finals win lifted Lehigh (93) past Iowa (91) into third place.
Northwestern’s Brandon Precin, the 125 pound champion was voted the Art Kraft Champion of Champions, while Nebraska’s Jordan Burroughs, the winner at 165 was named the Dan Gable Outstanding Wrestler and the high point scorer.
Lehigh will return to action at the Virginia Duals, January 7 and 8 in Hampton, Virginia. Brackets for the two-day dual tournament will be released early next week.
141 – Stephen Dutton – 8th place
4th Rd. Cons.: dec. Mike Koehnlein (Nebraska) 10-3
Cons. Quarterfinals: L by major dec. to Todd Schavrien (Missouri) 10-2
7th place match: L by dec. to Nick Dardanes (Minnesota) 5-4
165 – Brandon Hatchett
4th Rd. Cons.: L by dec. to Tyler Caldwell (Oklahoma) 2-0
174 – Austin Meys
Semifinals: L by dec. to Ben Bennett (Central Michigan) 6-0
Cons. Semifinals: dec. Ethen Lofthouse (Iowa) 5-2
3rd place match: L by dec. to Nick Amuchastegui (Stanford) 5-4
184 – Robert Hamlin
Semifinals: L by dec. to Trevor Rutt (Wisconsin) 6-4
Cons. Semifinals: dec. Ryan Loder (Northern Iowa) 5-2
3rd place match: dec. Mike Larson (Missouri) 4-0
184 – Kadeem Samuels – 7th place
4th Rd. Cons.: dec. Dan Scherer (Stanford) 7-4
Cons. Quarterfinals: L by dec. to Ryan Loder (Northern Iowa) 7-2
7th place match: dec. James Nakashima (Nebraska) 3-2
197 – Joe Kennedy
Semifinals: L by major dec. to Matt Wilps (Pittsburgh) 10-2
Cons. Semifinals: L pinned by Brent Haynes (Missouri) in 1:34
5th place match: dec. Nathan Patrick (Sunkist Kids) 3-0
285 – Zach Rey
Semifinals: dec. Ryan Flores (American) 5-2
Finals: dec. Jarod Trice (Central Michigan) 2-1
Final Team Standings
1. Missouri 103.5
2. Wisconsin 95.5
3. LEHIGH 93
4. Iowa 91
5. Pittsburgh 82.5