ST. LOUIS – All four of Lehigh’s seeded wrestlers advanced to the round of 16 as the Mountain Hawks opened up action at the NCAA Championships Thursday at Scottrade Center. Senior Brandon Hatchett and junior Robert Hamlin recorded major decision wins for Lehigh, but all four of the Mountain Hawks unseeded wrestlers came up short in their first round matches.
Hatchett helped guide Lehigh in a positive direction with his 10-0 major decision win over James Brundage of Rider at 165. The No. 11 seed helped snap Lehigh’s four match slide to open the tournament by scoring a takedown in each period plus a two-point near fall in the first period and an escape in the third. He will now face Dallas Bailey of Oklahoma State, who upset No. 6 seed Peter Yates of Virginia Tech.
A returning finalist and No. 2 seed at 184, Hamlin won a 10-2 major decision over Casey Newburg of Kent State. Hamlin also scored a takedown in each period and benefitted from a pair of penalty points for stalling against Newburg. Next up for Hamlin is Tony Dallago of Illinois.
Things were much closer for seniors Joe Kennedy and Zach Rey at 197 and heavyweight respectively. Kennedy, the No. 12 seed at 197, was tied 1-1 with Bloomsburg’s Richard Perry late into the third period before converting an inside trip in the last 15 seconds for the winning takedown. Kennedy will now face No. 5 seed Cayle Byers of Oklahoma State.
Rey, the No. 4 seed and defending NCAA champion at heavyweight, gave up a first period takedown to Adam Chalfant of Indiana but battled back to earn a takedown of his own in the second period. A Chalfant escape in the third period sent the match to sudden victory tied at four. Late in the extra period, Rey came out of a scramble with control to win 6-4 and move on to the round of 16 against West Virginia’s Brandon Williamson.
Things did not go as well for Lehigh’s unseeded wrestlers. At 133 freshman Mason Beckman had his hands full with No. 2 seed Logan Stieber of Ohio State and after building a big lead, Stieber pinned Beckman at 5:52.
Sophomore Steve Dutton scored an early takedown in his match with Edinboro’s Mitchell Port at 141, but gave up a reversal. Leading by one in the third period, Dutton gave up a late takedown and Port was able to ride out and erase Dutton’s riding time to win 5-4.
At 149 EIWA Champion Shane Welsh gave a strong effort but ultimately came up short in a 4-2 loss to No. 7 seed Dylan Ness of Minnesota. Ness rode Welsh out in the second period which proved to be the difference as the wrestlers traded third period reversals. Welsh’s had a good chance at a late tying takedown but ran out of time.
Senior Brian Tanen made his NCAA tournament debut at 157 dropping a 16-7 major decision to No. 11 seed James Green of Nebraska.
In the team standings, Lehigh is part of a five-team tie for 13th place with 10 points. Defending champion Penn State leads Minnesota 25.5-25 after the first session of competition.
The NCAA Championships will continue Thursday night with session two, featuring the round of 16 and one round of consolations, set to get underway at 6:30 CT. As always, all of Lehigh’s action at the NCAA Championships can be heard for free at Lehighsports.com.
Round of 32
133 – Logan Stieber (Ohio St.) Fall Mason Beckman (Lehigh) 5:52
141 – Mitchell Port (Edinboro) dec. Steve Dutton (Lehigh) 5-4
149 – Dylan Ness (Minnesota) dec. Shane Welsh (Lehigh) 4-2
157 – James Green (Nebraska) major dec. Brian Tanen (Lehigh) 16-7
165 – Brandon Hatchett (Lehigh) major dec. James Brundage (Rider) 10-0
184 – Robert Hamlin (Lehigh) major dec. Casey Newburg (Kent St.) 10-2
197 – Joe Kennedy (Lehigh) dec. Richard Perry (Bloomsburg) 3-1
285 – Zach Rey (Lehigh) dec. Adam Chalfant (Indiana) 6-4 s.v.