PITTSBURGH – The Lehigh wrestling team picked up its second win of the season over a ranked opponent as the Mountain Hawks downed No. 14 Pittsburgh 22-14 Friday night at Fitzgerald Field House. Senior Robert Hamlin’s 99th career victory, a 4-2 decision over Max Thomusseit at 184 clinched the dual for the Mountain Hawks, who improve to 8-7 on the season.
The Mountain Hawks won six of the ten bouts including a forfeit to senior Alex Abreu at 125. Sophomore Anthony Salupo posted bonus points with a major decision at 141 while senior Shane Welsh, junior Joey Napoli and sophomore Nathaniel Brown posted wins by decision to lead the Brown and White.
“I was pleased with the third periods,” said Lehigh head coach Pat Santoro. “We gave up some early takedowns, which are something that’s fixable. But I was pleased with the fight for seven minutes and the effort and that’s what we got tonight. All week we talked about being focused and showing effort for seven minutes. The seniors did a good job of relaying that message during the week and they went out and did what they needed to do.”
Abreu’s win by forfeit gave Lehigh an early 6-0 lead. In the first contested bout of the night, freshman Randy Cruz secured the first takedown against 17th-ranked Shelton Mack at 133, but Mack answered with two first period takedowns plus two more in the third to win 11-6.
Salupo started a three match Lehigh run with a 12-3 major decision over Corey Bush, as he scored takedowns in each of the first two periods and added three more in the final period to get to the major decision. Welsh gave up an early takedown to Ronnie Garbinsky on a throw on the edge of the mat, but took over from there en route to an 8-2 win at 149. Welsh reversed Garbinsky to end the period and added scores in each of the final two periods plus an escape and riding time to extend his winning streak to ten.
Napoli returned to the Lehigh lineup after missing the last four duals while recovering from a knee injury. He gave up a quick takedown off the opening whistle to Donnie Tasser but answered with a takedown of his own to lead 3-2 after one period. Tasser and Napoli traded escapes in the second and third periods and with Napoli leading by one, he added a counter takedown in the final seconds to win 6-3, giving Lehigh a 16-3 lead at intermission.
“Joey was definitely rusty but it was good to see him back on the mats,” Santoro said. “We needed to get him some matches. He’s still day to day so we’ll see how that knee feels tomorrow, but by next Friday he should be good to go for sure.”
Pittsburgh (8-6) posted its second win of the dual at 165 as No. 12 Tyler Wilps scored a takedown in the final seconds to secure a 21-6 technical fall over freshman Ben Haas at the 7:00 mark.
Lehigh put the dual away with wins at the next two weight classes to clinch their eighth consecutive win over the Panthers in Pittsburgh.
Brown scored a first period takedown on a re-shot in his match with Nick Bonaccorsi, which stood in a 3-2 victory.
Hamlin put Lehigh up 22-8 with his win over Thomusseit. The match was tied 1-1 early in the third period before Hamlin finally converted a single leg attempt in the third period and added a point for riding time advantage.
“Max Thomusseit is really talented,” Santoro said of Hamlin’s opponent. “He can be on the podium in March. We knew it would be a battle and Robert would have to fight for every point. He just kept wrestling and ended up scoring in the third period.”
The Panthers took the final two bouts as third-ranked Matt Wilps downed freshman John Bolich 7-2 at 197, while seventh-ranked heavyweight Zac Thomusseit converted a double leg takedown in the first period to defeat freshman Max Wessell 3-2.
The Mountain Hawks will wrap up their trek through western Pennsylvania on Saturday when they head to Clarion to face the Golden Eagles at 2 p.m. The match can be heard on WLVR-FM (91.3) and online at Lehighsports.com with pre-match coverage beginning at 1:45.
Lehigh 22 Pittsburgh 14
125 – Alex Abreu (Lehigh) won by forfeit
133 – Shelton Mack (Pitt) dec. Randy Cruz (Lehigh) 11-6
141 – Anthony Salupo (Lehigh) major dec. Corey Bush (Pitt) 12-3
149 – Shane Welsh (Lehigh) dec. Ronnie Garbinsky (Pitt) 8-2
157 – Joey Napoli (Lehigh) dec. Donnie Tasser (Pitt) 6-3
165 – Tyler Wilps (Pitt) tech fall Ben Haas (Lehigh) 21-6, 7:00
174 – Nathaniel Brown (Lehigh) dec. Nick Bonaccorsi (Pitt) 3-2
184 – Robert Hamlin (Lehigh) dec. Max Thomusseit (Pitt) 4-2
197 – Matt Wilps (Pitt) dec. John Bolich (Lehigh) 7-2
285 – Zac Thomusseit (Pitt) dec. Max Wessell (Lehigh) 3-2