Posted: 02/10/2013 | Last updated: February 10, 2013 at 06:12 PM
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Three Lehigh wrestlers scored first period pins as the Mountain Hawks closed out their home schedule with a 27-16 win over Brown Sunday inside Leeman-Turner Arena at Grace Hall. Lehigh had to settle for a split on the afternoon however, as Harvard captured the final two bouts to stun the Mountain Hawks 25-16 in Sunday’s opening dual on Senior Day at Grace Hall.
Lehigh and Harvard were tied at 16-16 after eight bouts, but the Crimson’s James Fox won a 2-0 decision over freshman John Bolich at 197 and while a Lehigh win at heavyweight would have given the Mountain Hawks the dual, Harvard’s Nicholas Gajdzik secured a win by fall over freshman Max Wessell in sudden victory to clinch the match.
“The lesson is learned,” said Lehigh head coach Pat Santoro. “They were favored in six and they won six. We have to turn some of these performances around. We had chances in some of those matches. If it doesn’t happen, we don’t win. We have some good individuals but as a dual meet team we have a long ways to go.”
Freshman Randy Cruz, senior Shane Welsh and Wessell secured falls against Brown but the Bears won four bouts including two bonus point wins and were able to hang around throughout the match.
With the split Lehigh is now 7-7 on the season and 3-4 against EIWA opponents.
Cruz took to the mat for his second bout of the day with the Mountain Hawks trailing 4-0 after 125. He quickly gave Lehigh the lead with his seventh fall of the season as he pinned Anthony Finocchiaro in 1:18. Sophomore Anthony Salupo followed with a 5-3 decision over Cort Choate at 141 before Welsh used a cradle to pin Zach Rees at the 2:15 mark to give Lehigh a 15-4 advantage after 149.
Brown (7-7) captured the next two bouts as Phil Marano scored a takedown on the edge in sudden victory to defeat senior Albert Woody 3-1 at 157 and then win a back-and-forth match that featured six total reversals, Giuseppi Lanzi stuck freshman Ben Haas with two seconds remaining in the match to pull the Bears within two at 15-13.
“We had some matches we could have won but we didn’t,” Santoro said. “That’s the frustrating thing. Ben Haas wrestled pretty well today. He gets an escape, he wins, but instead he gets pinned. He wrestled much better today than he had. He’s getting some conditioning back. “
Lehigh’s six seniors were honored prior to the Harvard match and five of the six saw action against Brown. Santoro gave senior Kevin Bailey the nod at 174 and he helped extend Lehigh’s lead with a 5-3 decision over Ricky McDonald. After a scoreless first period, Bailey rode out the second and escaped to take a 1-0 lead in the third. McDonald scored a takedown to take the lead, but Bailey escaped and added a takedown of his own plus riding time to earn the victory.
“He was a great guy to put in there right after the momentum shifted,” Santoro said of Bailey. “He didn’t need to lose focus on what he had to do. He just needed to wrestle a good match and that’s what he did.”
Senior Robert Hamlin had to work for career win No. 98 in his match with Ophir Bernstein at 184. It was Bernstein who scored the first takedown of the bout and led 2-1 after one period, but Hamlin responded with a pair of second period takedowns to take the lead and added two more scores in the third to complete a 10-5 decision. Hamlin will finish his career with a 22-0 record inside Leeman-Turner Arena at Grace Hall.
Brown stayed within striking distance as Sterling Hecox won a 6-2 decision over Bolich, but Wessell clinched the win for the Mountain Hawks by taking down DJ Ingham and securing the fall with a cradle in just 1:27 to wrap-up Lehigh’s 16th straight win over the Bears.
In Sunday’s opening dual, Lehigh fell to Harvard for just the second time ever and the first time since 1998. Harvard captured three of the first five bouts to lead 13-7 at intermission after Walter Peppelman needed just 48 seconds to pin Woody. Cruz and Welsh posted early wins, with Cruz earning an 8-0 major decision over Shay Warren at 133 and Welsh winning an 8-3 decision over Todd Preston at 149.
Harvard (5-5) picked up a key win at 165 as Devon Gobbo was reversed by Haas late in the third period, but the match ended with Gobbo at 1:02 of riding time, enough for the 5-4 victory.
Lehigh climbed even at 16-16 on back-to-back bonus wins as sophomore Nathaniel Brown won a 13-1 major decision over Ian Roy at 174 and Hamlin won by technical fall over a hobbled Josh Popple 20-5 in 6:04 at 184.
Despite trailing 19-16 going into the final bout a win by Wessell would have given Lehigh the dual. Had Wessell won by decision, the Mountain Hawks would have won on criteria as Lehigh had more total match points than the Crimson.
The Mountain Hawks will head to western Pennsylvania for a pair of duals next weekend. Lehigh will take on No. 15 Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh Friday at 7 p.m. before heading to Clarion to face the Golden Eagles Saturday at 2 p.m.
Harvard 25, Lehigh 16
125 – Jeffrey Ott (Harvard) major dec. Alex Abreu (Lehigh) 10-0
133 – Randy Cruz (Lehigh) major dec. Shay Warren (Harvard) 8-0
141 – Steven Keith (Harvard) dec. Anthony Salupo (Lehigh) 7-2
149 – Shane Welsh (Lehigh) dec. Todd Preston (Harvard) 8-3
157 – Walter Peppelman (Harvard) Fall Albert Woody (Lehigh) 0:48
165 – Devon Gobbo (Harvard) dec. Ben Haas (Lehigh) 5-4
174 – Nathaniel Brown (Lehigh) major dec. Ian Roy (Harvard) 13-1
184 – Robert Hamlin (Lehigh) tech fall. Josh Popple (Harvard) 20-5, 6:04
197 – James Fox (Harvard) dec. John Bolich (Lehigh) 2-0
285 – Nicholas Gajdzik (Harvard) Fall Max Wessell (Lehigh) 7:55, s.v.
Referee – Mark Sigmon
Lehigh 27, Brown 16
125 – Billy Watterson (Brown) major dec. Alex Abreu (Lehigh) 13-3
133 – Randy Cruz (Lehigh) Fall Anthony Finocchiaro (Brown) 1:18
141 – Anthony Salupo (Lehigh) dec. Cort Choate (Brown) 5-3
149 – Shane Welsh (Lehigh) Fall Zach Rees (Brown) 2:15
157 – Phil Marano (Brown) dec. Albert Woody (Lehigh) 3-1, s.v.
165 – Giuseppi Lanzi (Brown) Fall Ben Haas (Lehigh) 6:58
174 – Kevin Bailey (Lehigh) dec. Ricky McDonald (Brown) 5-3
184 – Robert Hamlin (Lehigh) dec. Ophir Bernstein (Brown) 10-5
197 – Sterling Hecox (Brown) dec. John Bolich (Lehigh) 6-2
285 – Max Wessell (Lehigh) Fall DJ Ingham (Brown) 1:27
Referee – Pete Frampton
Attendance – 1,640