CLARION, Pa. – Senior Robert Hamlin picked up his 100th career victory as the Lehigh wrestling team completed a 2-0 weekend in western Pennsylvania with a 39-9 win over Clarion at Tippin Gym. Hamlin’s pin was one of three falls for the Mountain Hawk, as freshman Randy Cruz and sophomore Anthony Salupo also posted pins to pace the Mountain Hawks, who improve to 9-7 on the season.
Lehigh won eight of the ten weight classes including a forfeit to freshman John Bolich at 197. Five of Lehigh’s remaining seven wins produced bonus points including freshman Ben Haas’ first career dual meet victory.
“We came out ready to wrestle today,” said Lehigh head coach Pat Santoro. “It was good to see us come out and strike early and it was important to get those bonus points early on. As coaches you always want to see guys go for pins but that’s not always the case. It was nice to see those guys come out and execute today.”
Clarion captured the first bout of the dual as Tyler Fraley won by technical fall over Alex Abreu 17-2 at the 3:35 mark, but Lehigh responded to take the next three bouts including back-to-back pins by Cruz and Salupo. Both Mountain Hawks capitalized on cradles to secure first period falls. Cruz used a cradle to score the first takedown on Joe Waltko at 133, and then used a second cradle to secure the fall in 1:45. Salupo then scored an early takedown against Sam Sherlock before locking up a cross face cradle to deck the Golden Eagle in 2:22.
At 149 senior Shane Welsh extended Lehigh’s lead to 15-5 with a 9-4 win over Tyler Bedelyon. Welsh scored a takedown in the first period and added a three-point near fall at the end of the period. A second period reversal and ride out helped offset two third-period takedowns by Bedelyon for his 11th consecutive win.
After junior Joey Napoli made his return to the lineup Friday night at Pittsburgh, Santoro called on senior Albert Woody to face third-ranked James Fleming at 157. Woody managed to keep things close through the first two periods, getting to Fleming’s legs twice in the second, but with the match scoreless after two, Fleming chose top and rode out the third period while turning him three times for three point near falls in a 10-0 major decision to make the score 15-9 Lehigh at the halfway point.
Haas helped extend the Lehigh lead at 165 as he rallied from an early hole to win by technical fall over Nick Milano 21-6 in 5:00. Haas fell behind 4-0 early but scored two reversals and three near falls in the first period. Haas reversed to open the second period and scored a three point near fall plus a two-pointer in the final seconds to end the match.
“It was good because he came back after being down early,” Santoro said of Haas. “Each week you can see he’s more and more composed out there. He’s been working so hard and his second period was really strong today.”
Sophomore Nathaniel Brown extended Lehigh’s lead with a 7-3 decision over Ryan Darch at 174 setting the stage for Hamlin’s bid for win No. 100. Hamlin started strong, taking Steve Cressley down to his back for five points in the opening seconds at 184. After an unsuccessful bid at a first period fall, Hamlin cut Cressley loose and took him twice more to lead 9-2 after one period. Hamlin opened the second period with an escape and secured another takedown before working Cressley to his back for the fall in 4:41 as he becomes the 13th Lehigh wrestler to reach the 100-win mark.
“Since day one Robert has been a leader,” Santoro said. “At first he led by example and now he’s a more vocal leader. He and the seniors talked to the team on Monday. It came from the heart and meant a lot. He’s a great leader and we want to see him go out on top.”
Bolich received his win by forfeit at 197 and freshman Max Wessell closed the match with an 11-3 major decision over Phil Catrucco at heavyweight. Wessell scored takedowns in each of the first two periods, plus a second period escape and a penalty point for an illegal hold. He locked up the major with two third period takedowns plus riding time advantage.
The Mountain Hawks will wrap-up the dual meet season next Friday when they travel to Bucknell. The match is set for a 7 p.m. start from Davis Gym in Lewisburg, Pa.
Lehigh 39 Clarion 9
125 – Tyler Fraley (Clarion) tech fall Alex Abreu (Lehigh) 17-2, 3:35
133 – Randy Cruz (Lehigh) Fall Joe Waltko (Clarion) 1:45
141 – Anthony Salupo (Lehigh) Fall Sam Sherlock (Clarion) 2:22
149 – Shane Welsh (Lehigh) dec. Tyler Bedelyon (Clarion) 9-4
157 – James Fleming (Clarion) dec. Albert Woody (Lehigh) 10-0
165 – Ben Haas (Lehigh) tech fall Nick Milano (Clarion) 21-6, 5:00
174 – Nathaniel Brown (Lehigh) dec. Ryan Darch (Clarion) 7-3
184 – Robert Hamlin (Lehigh) Fall Steve Cressley (Clarion) 4:41
197 – John Bolich (Lehigh) W by forfeit
285 – Max Wessell (Lehigh) major dec. Phil Catrucco (Clarion) 11-3