LEWISBURG, Pa. – The Lehigh wrestling team closed out its dual meet season with an impressive 31-9 win over Bucknell Friday night at Davis Gym. The Mountain Hawks won eight bouts including four wins by major decision to finish the dual season with a 10-7. Lehigh has now won at least 10 dual meets in 14 consecutive seasons.
“It was a good finish,” explained Lehigh head coach Pat Santoro. “The dual season is over and now the real season begins. We need to tighten some things up over the next two weeks. This is tournament time coming up. This is the best time of year coming up. This is what we’ve been waiting for all year. The guys are excited about it and they’re getting healthy, but we have to be strong in two weeks.”
The dual began with a forfeit to Lehigh senior Alex Abreu at 125 before the Mountain Hawks rolled off four consecutive wins to lead 21-0 at the halfway point. Both freshman Randy Cruz and sophomore Anthony Salupo used high-scoring first periods to work towards major decisions. Cruz scored an early takedown on Paul Petrov at 133, then slapped on a cradle for three near fall points, and added three more near fall points before the end of the period to lead 8-0 after one. Cruz added a second period takedown, a third period escape and riding time to win 12-1.
Salupo also posted an eight point first period in his match with Derrik Russell. A takedown and three point near fall had Salupo up 5-0 before Russell scored a reversal. After an escape, Salupo added one more takedown to lead 8-2 after one. Salupo added an escape in the third period plus a takedown and riding to earn the 12-3 major.
“They went out and wrestled hard and wrestled with a lot of effort,” Santoro said. “The effort has been a lot better the last couple of weeks. When we get to the postseason it’s all about effort. You have to be intense and sealing the deals when you get the opportunity.”
Things were much lower scoring at 149, but senior Shane Welsh posted his 12th consecutive win, 4-1 over Adam Healey. Welsh scored a two point near fall in the third period plus earned riding time advantage for the three point margin of victory.
Junior Joey Napoli followed with Lehigh’s third major decision as he racked up six takedowns in a 14-5 win over Vincent Favia at 157 to improve to 15-2 on the season.
Bucknell posted its first win at 165 as 17th-ranked Corey Lear built a 9-0 lead before pinning freshman Ben Haas at the 6:22 mark.
At 174, Lewisburg native Nathaniel Brown wrestled in front of family and friends and delighted his cheering section with an 11-4 decision over Robert Schlitt. Brown scored a takedown in each period and added two near fall points in the second. A locked hands call in the third cost Brown the major decision.
Lehigh’s fourth major decision came from senior Robert Hamlin, who cruised to career win No. 101 with a 12-4 win over Robert Marchese at 184. Hamlin totaled five takedowns including two in the first period and two more in the third.
Freshman John Bolich earned a 5-1 decision over Tyler Lyster at 197 for Lehigh’s eighth win of the night. Bolich scored a quick first period takedown and rode out the remaining 2:49. Lyster rode out the second period, but Bolich added a takedown in the third plus riding time advantage.
Bucknell took the final bout of the night as Joe Stolfi edged freshman Max Wessell 7-6.The first two periods were full of back-and-forth action as Wessell scored the opening takedown. Stolfi then escaped and scored a takedown of his own. Wessell then scored a reversal and after a Stolfi escape the match was tied at 4-4 after one period. The wrestlers traded reversals to open the second period, with Stolfi going in front on an escape. Wessell chose neutral in the third and had several quality shots but could not finish as the Bison sophomore captured the final bout.
The Mountain Hawks will return to action at the 109th EIWA Championships, hosted by Rutgers March 8-9 in Piscataway, N.J.
Lehigh 31, Bucknell 9
125 – Alex Abreu (Lehigh) won by forfeit
133 – Randy Cruz (Lehigh) major dec. Paul Petrov (Bucknell) 12-1
141 – Anthony Salupo (Lehigh) major dec. Derrik Russell (Bucknell) 12-3
149 – Shane Welsh (Lehigh) dec. Adam Healey (Bucknell) 4-1
157 – Joey Napoli (Lehigh) major dec. Vincent Favia (Bucknell) 14-5
165 – Corey Lear (Bucknell) Fall Ben Haas (Lehigh) 6:22
174 – Nathaniel Brown (Lehigh) dec. Robert Schlitt (Bucknell) 11-4
184 – Robert Hamlin (Lehigh) major dec. Robert Marchese (Bucknell) 12-4
197 – John Bolich (Lehigh) dec. Tyler Lyster (Bucknell) 5-1
285 – Joe Stolfi (Bucknell) dec. Max Wessell (Lehigh) 7-6