MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. – Locked in an 11-11 tie after six bouts, No. 14 Lehigh won the final four bouts of the evening to defeat No. 21 Central Michigan 23-11 Friday night at McGuirk Arena. Decisions by freshman Nate Brown and junior Robert Hamlin staked the Mountain Hawks to a six point lead, while senior Kadeem Samuels clinched Lehigh’s fourth straight win with a 10-4 decision at 197.
The win ups the Mountain Hawks’ mark to 9-4 overall, while Central Michigan falls to 12-4.
“Central Michigan is a tough team,” said Lehigh head coach Pat Santoro. “They’re well-coached and do a lot of the little things right, which makes them a tough team to wrestle. We fought hard, but there were a couple matches I would have like to seen us wrestle a little better. We weren’t crisp. We wrestled hard but we weren’t firing on all cylinders. We’ll have to make some adjustments heading into Sunday.”
Hamlin won a 3-1 sudden-victory decision over Ben Bennett at 184 in a rematch of the Midlands finals, won by Hamlin 5-2. Friday night’s rematch lived up to its billing, with plenty of action from both sides despite the lack of scoring. Hamlin took plenty of shots but couldn’t penetrate Bennett’s staunch defense. Bennett twice got to Hamlin’s leg, but Hamlin was able to break free before the Chippewa could secure a takedown. In the final seconds of sudden victory, Hamlin initiated a shot and after a scramble earned the decisive takedown in the final seconds to improve to 19-1 on the season.
“Definitely a good 1-1 match,” Santoro said. “Both guys are great competitors. That’s a match that you could see in the national finals.”
Brown started the Mountain Hawks’ four match run to close out the dual, downing Anthony Bill 4-0. Brown scored a takedown in the final seconds of the first period and added a second period escape, then rode out the third period.
Samuels clinched the match for Lehigh, by racking up four takedowns in his 10-4 win over Chad Friend at 197. The final bout of the dual saw senior Zach Rey score takedowns in each of the first two periods in a 5-3 decision over Peter Sturgeon in a battle of nationally-ranked heavyweights.
The dual began at 125 with the Chippewas getting a 24-9 technical fall from Joe Roth over sophomore Alex Abreu. Roth dominated the first two periods, before Abreu battled back in the third, securing a takedown. It looked like Abreu would be able to keep the loss to a major decision, but Roth reversed Abreu to his back for a four-point move in the final seconds and that plus riding time put Roth up by 15.
Lehigh responded by taking the next three bouts to lead 11-5. Freshman Mason Beckman edged Zach Horan 2-1 in a battle of true freshmen at 133. The wrestlers traded escapes in regulation, and after a scoreless sudden victory period, Beckman rode out the first 30 second tiebreaker before escaping in the second to earn his second win over Horan this season.
At 141 sophomore Stephen Dutton was dominant in a 17-2 technical fall over Scott Mattingly. Dutton scored a takedown and a three point near fall in each period, earning back points with a wrist tilt in the first period and a turk ride and cross face in the second and third periods.
Senior Kyle Rosser, a Michigan native, got the start at 149 in front of a number of family and friends in attendance, and responded with a 5-2 decision over Joey Kielbasa.
Central Michigan climbed back into the dual behind a pair of one point wins at 157 and 165. Donnie Corby won on riding time 2-1 over senior Brian Tanen at 157, while Mike Ottinger secured a third period takedown to knock off Sean Bilodeau 3-2 at 165. With the dual on the line however, Brown picked up his victory and started the four-bout Lehigh run.
“We won a match or two that we probably could have wrestled more aggressively,” Santoro said. “I was really impressed with the environment though. Central Michigan did a great job promoting the dual meet. I thought it was outstanding for the sport and something people can learn from.”
Next up for the Mountain Hawks is a trip to Norman, Oklahoma to face the tenth-ranked Sooners, Sunday at 12 p.m. (CT). The match will be broadcast live on Lehighsports.com.
Lehigh 23, Central Michigan 11
125 – Joe Roth (CMU) tech fall Alex Abreu (Lehigh) 24-9, 7:00
133 – Mason Beckman (Lehigh) dec. Zach Horan (CMU) 2-1, t.b.
141 – Steve Dutton (Lehigh) tech fall Scott Mattingly (CMU) 17-2, 7:00
149 – Kyle Rosser (Lehigh) dec. Joey Kielbasa (CMU) 5-2
157 – Donnie Corby (CMU) dec. Brian Tanen (Lehigh) 2-1
165 – Mike Ottinger (CMU) dec. Sean Bilodeau (Lehigh) 3-2
174 – Nate Brown (Lehigh) dec. Anthony Bill (CMU) 4-0
184 – Robert Hamlin (Lehigh) dec. Ben Bennett (CMU) 3-1 s.v.
197 – Kadeem Samuels (Lehigh) dec. Chad Friend (CMU) 10-4
285 – Zach Rey (Lehigh) dec. Peter Sturgeon (CMU) 5-3