Lehigh tenth after day two, individual title hopes dashed
Posted: March 18, 2005
St. Louis, MO – For the first time since 2000 the Mountain Hawks will not have anyone wrestling for a national championship following Friday night’s shocking turn of events at the NCAA championships at Savvis Center. Both of Lehigh’s top seeded wrestlers, junior Troy Letters and senior Jon Trenge were upset in semifinal action. Both men can now do no better than third and will wrestle in placement matches with the third Lehigh All-American, Cory Cooperman on Saturday morning.
Letters failed in his attempt to become a three-time finalist, losing to freshman Mark Perry of Iowa 3-0. The only scoring of the bout came on a three-point near fall in the second period as Letters was caught on his back for a five count. It was a surprising turn of events considering that for most in attendance it was the first time they had seen Letters put on his back. It was the first loss of the season for Letters, who falls to 25-1 and a remarkable 95-4 in his career. He will now wrestle in Saturday’s consolation round at 165 pounds.
Things got surprisingly worse for Lehigh fans at 197 as Trenge was taken down twice by Northern Iowa’s number five seed Sean Stender. Trenge failed to score a takedown as he dropped a 5-3 decision and fell to 28-4 on the season. Saturday’s placement matches will most likely be the last of his career.
“I’m in shock,” said Lehigh head coach Greg Strobel following the Trenge bout at 197. “This [bout] was typical of our weekend. We’re losing to guys we’ve beaten before. It’s apparent that we’re not as sharp as we needed to be.”
Cooperman was the one Mountain Hawk who was sharp on Friday night. He rebounded from a loss in the quarters to score a 23-8 tech. fall over Don Fisch of Rider to gain All-America status. He then went out and scored a major decision over Cassio Pero of Illinois and will wrestle on Saturday with a chance to place anywhere from third to sixth.
The 75th NCAA Division I Championships resume on Saturday morning. Session V will feature the conclusion of the wrestle-back consolation bracket. Action gets underway at 10:30 am EST from Savvis Center. The national championship finals begin at 5:00 pm EST Saturday.
SCENES FROM ST. LOUIS … Prior to the start of Friday night’s Session IV, the eight mats were reduced to six, and set up in a “dog bone” configuration with two mats side-by-side on the ends, and the semifinals taking place on two mats (adorned with NCAA logos) in the middle of the arena floor … On Friday afternoon, an NCAA Wrestling 75th Anniversary celebration was held at nearby St. Louis Union Station. At the event, the 75th Anniversary Wrestling Team was selected based upon a national fan vote. No Lehigh wrestlers were among those honored … Prior to the start of Friday’s competition, a compilation of “Great NCAA Championship Matches” was played on the arena’s Sony JumboTron screen. Among the matches shown: Rob Rohn’s dramatic comeback in the final seconds of the third period to capture a national title for Lehigh in 2002.
2005 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships –
Top Ten Team Scores Through Session IV
1. Oklahoma State
8. Iowa State
Lehigh individual results – Session IV Championship Bracket (National Semifinals)
Mark Perry (Iowa)
Troy Letters (Lehigh)
Sean Stender (Northern Iowa)
Jon Trenge (Lehigh)
Lehigh individual results – Session IV Consolation Bracket Round 1
Cory Cooperman (Lehigh)
Don Fisch (Rider)
Lehigh individual results – Session IV Consolation Bracket Round 2
Cory Cooperman (Lehigh)
Cassio Pero (Illinois)
Photo © 2005, Lehigh Athletics/Jeff Nolan