PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Five Lehigh wrestlers reached Friday night’s semifinals as the Mountain Hawks opened up action at the 109th EIWA Championships at the RAC. Senior Robert Hamlin, sophomore Nathaniel Brown and freshmen Randy Cruz and John Bolich all went 2-0 in the first session, with Hamlin and Cruz recording pins. Junior Joey Napoli won his only match to reach the semifinals as well.
The Mountain Hawks finished the first session in fourth place with 46 points. Navy leads the field with 64 points and five semifinalists, while Cornell, Penn and Lehigh all have five.
Cruz sent the Mountain Hawks off to a fast start, using a cradle to reverse and then pin Brown’s Anthony Finocchiaro in 4:23 for Lehigh’s first win of the tournament. He later added a 5-0 decision over Penn’s Jeff Canfora to earn a 133-pound semifinal matchup with Paul Petrov of Bucknell.
Brown advanced to the semifinals for the second straight year with two wins by decision at 174. After opening with a 5-2 win over Brown’s Ricky McDonald, Brown won a 4-0 decision over Marshall Peppelman of Cornell in the quarterfinals. The top seed at 174, Brown will now face No. 5 seed Ian Korb of Penn in the semifinals.
Hamlin posted two bonus wins to move into the semifinals at 184. The top seed and two-time defending champion, Hamlin opened with a 14-4 major decision over Thomas Barreiro of American, then rallied from 4-0 down to pin Army’s Ryan Tompkins in 4:15. Tompkins scored the opening takedown of the match and after Hamlin took an injury timeout scored a reversal. Hamlin responded with an escape and a takedown before earning a three-point near fall to lead 6-4 after one period. In the second, Hamlin rode Tompkins for 30 seconds before working him to his back for the fall. Hamlin will face No. 4 Mason Bailey of Navy in the semifinals.
Bolich earned a semifinal date with top seed Micah Burak of Penn with two wins by decision at 197. The No. 5 seed, Bolich shut out Isaiah Cromwell of F&M 4-0 before knocking off the No. 4 seed Bryce Barnes of Army 3-2.
Napoli received a first round bye and advanced to the semifinals at 157 with a convincing 7-2 decision over Mark Cirello of American. He will now face Bobby Barnhisel of Navy in the semis.
Four other Mountain Hawks will wrestle in consolations Friday evening after dropping their first bouts on Friday. Senior Alex Abreu dropped a tough 6-5 decision to Max Rogers of Princeton at 125. Abreu led 5-4 on riding time but was taken down in the final seconds of the third period. At 165, freshman Ben Haas battled hard against No. 2 seed Corey Lear of Bucknell, but dropped a 5-1 decision.
Sophomore Anthony Salupo was unable to defeat No. 2 seed Steven Keith of Harvard in his first bout, a quarterfinal at 141. The No. 7 seed, Salupo fell by a 9-3 score and will wrestle in the consolations Friday night. Lehigh’s other No. 7 seed; freshman Max Wessell dropped his quarterfinal 5-1 to Blake Herrin of American.
Lehigh did lose a wrestler in Friday’s opening session. Senior Shane Welsh suffered an injury in his 5-2 opening-round win over Andrew Murano of F&M and forfeited his next match.
The 109th EIWA Championships continue Friday evening with session two, featuring semifinals and consolations, set to begin at 5:30 p.m.
125 – Alex Abreu
First round: L by dec. Max Rogers (Princeton) 6-5
Second round consolation: vs. Patrick Prada (Navy)
133 – Randy Cruz
First round: Fall Anthony Finocchiaro (Brown) 4:23
Quarterfinals: dec. Jeff Canfora (Penn) 5-0
Semifinals: vs. Paul Petrov (Bucknell)
141 – Anthony Salupo
Quarterfinals: L by dec. Steven Keith (Harvard) 9-3
Second round consolation: vs. John Boyle (American)
149 – Shane Welsh
First round: dec. Andrew Murano (F&M) 5-2
Quarterfinals: medical forfeit
157 – Joey Napoli
Quarterfinals: dec. Mark Cirello (American) 7-2
Semifinals: vs. Bobby Barnhisel (Navy)
165 – Ben Haas
First round: L by dec. Corey Lear (Bucknell) 5-1
Second consolation: vs. Phillip Barreiro (American)
174 – Nathaniel Brown
First round: dec. Ricky McDonald (Brown) 5-2
Quarterfinals: dec. Marshall Peppelman (Cornell) 4-0
Semifinals: vs. Ian Korb (Penn)
184 – Robert Hamlin
First round: major dec. Thomas Barreiro (American) 14-4
Quarterfinals: Fall Ryan Tompkins (Army) 4:15
Semifinals: vs. Mason Bailey (Navy)
197 – John Bolich
First round: dec. Isaiah Cromwell (F&M) 4-0
Quarterfinals: dec. Bryce Barnes (Army) 3-2
Semifinals: vs. Micah Burak (Penn)
285 – Max Wessell
Quarterfinals: L by dec. Blake Herrin (American) 5-1
Second round consolations: vs. Chris Manna (Columbia)
Team Scores after Session 1
1. Navy 62.0
2. Cornell 55.5
3. Penn 48.5
4. Lehigh 46.0
5. Columbia 42.0
6. Harvard 31.5
7. Rutgers 29.5
8. Army 28.0