BUFFALO, N.Y. – Three Lehigh wrestlers won individual titles as the Lehigh wrestling team opened its 2011-12 season Sunday at the UB Open at Alumni Arena. Freshman Eric Hess (157), senior Sean Bilodeau (165) and junior Robert Hamlin (184) won titles as ten of Lehigh’s 13 entrants earned places in the tournament which featured wrestlers from Pittsburgh, Edinboro and host Buffalo among others.
Hess, competing unattached, went 4-0 with three bonus wins to take the title at 157, including a 12-1 major decision over Pittsburgh’s Donnie Tasser in the finals.
Competing for the first time at 165, Bilodeau went 4-0 to capture the title. Bilodeau impressed, winning his first match by technical fall before putting together three consecutive wins by fall, including a pin of Buffalo’s Dominic Montesanti in 1:18 in the finals.
Hamlin, the returning NCAA finalist at 184, went 3-0 to claim his title. In his finals match, Hamlin won a 3-0 over Pittsburgh’s Andy Vaughan.
Senior Kyle Rosser was the fourth Mountain Hawk to reach the finals, after winning his first four bouts at 149. Rosser had to settle for second place though after dropping a 10-3 decision in the finals to Pittsburgh’s All-American Tyler Nauman.
The 197 weight class proved to be the toughest in the tournament with three top ten ranked wrestlers in the bracket. Seniors Joe Kennedy and Kadeem Samuels both won their first three bouts, but stumbled in the semifinals. Kennedy and Samuels won in the consolation semifinals to set up a rematch of last week’s wrestle-off. Once again Kennedy prevailed, winning 3-0 to place third while Samuels had to settle for fourth.
Lehigh’s remaining four place winners were all true freshmen. At 125 Mason Beckman went 4-2 to place fourth, with both losses coming to future Cornell wrestler Caleb Richardson. Nathaniel Brown went 4-1 at 174, placing third. Brown battled back from a quarterfinal loss to defeat Chris Hrunka of Edinboro 2-1 in the third place match. John Bolich went 3-2 at 184 to place seventh, while at heavyweight Jack Delia rebounded from an early loss to wrestle back for third, winning 7-2 over Jedd Mason of Buffalo in the third place match.
Also competing for the Mountain Hawks were freshman Chris Dinnien who went 1-2 at 133, sophomore Dillon Smith, who went 0-2 at 157 and freshman Dave Quackenbos, who finished 1-2 at 197.
“We did alright today,” said Lehigh head coach Pat Santoro. “We looked a little off at times today. some adjustments still need to be made before Saturday.”
In addition to the 13 men competing at the UB Open, five Mountain Hawks competed at the Knight Point Clarion Open hosted by Clarion. Senior Brandon Hatchett (165) and junior Shane Welsh (149) captured titles, while junior Joey Napoli placed second at 157 and freshman Anthony Salupo took third at 149 with the only loss coming at the hands of Welsh. Junior Alex Abreu competed at 133 going 0-2. Clarion Open results will be posted when they become available.
The Mountain Hawks, ranked sixth in the preseason NWCA/USA Today Coaches Poll, will open the dual season Saturday when they host Pittsburgh at 7 p.m. inside Leeman-Turner Arena at Grace Hall. Tickets can be purchased by calling 610-7LU-GAME or by logging on to Lehighsports.com.