Nine Mountain Hawks earn seeds as EIWA brackets unveiled
PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Seeds and brackets for the 109th EIWA Championships were announced Thursday evening following a meeting of the conference’s head coaches. Nine of Lehigh’s tournament entrants were seeded in the top eight, with five of those nine Mountain Hawks earning top two seeds. Seven Mountain Hawks will compete in the opening round while three received first-round byes.
Two Mountain Hawks earned No.1 seeds: sophomore Nathaniel Brown at 174 and senior Robert Hamlin at 184. Brown will wrestle a first round match against Brown’s Ricky McDonald, while Hamlin will begin his quest for a third straight title against Thomas Barreiro of American.
Lehigh also had three wrestlers earn No. 2 seeds. Senior Shane Welsh, the defending champion at 149 is matched against Andrew Murano of Franklin & Marshall. Freshman Randy Cruz earned the No. 2 seed in his first EIWA tournament and will face Anthony Finocchiaro of Brown in round one. Junior Joey Napoli earned the two-seed at 157 and earned a first round bye. Napoli, ranked third nationally, will meet the winner of No. 7 seed Vincent Favia of Bucknell and Mark Cirello of American in the quarterfinals.
At 197, freshman John Bolich was seeded fifth. Bolich will wrestle a first round match against Isaiah Cromwell of Franklin & Marshall.
The Mountain Hawks’ two remaining seeded wrestlers earned No. 7 seeds. Senior Alex Abreu will wrestle a first round match against Max Rogers of Princeton at 125, while at heavyweight freshman Max Wessell earned a bye and meet the winner of No. 2 seed Blake Herrin of American and Alexander Henry of Franklin & Marshall in the quarterfinals.
The only Lehigh wrestler not to earn a seed was freshman Ben Haas, who drew the No. 2 seed Corey Lear of Bucknell in the opening round at 165.
Of the seven Mountain Hawks wrestling first round matches, three already wrestled their first opponent this season. Cruz pinned Finocchiaro in the first period of Lehigh’s dual versus Brown, while Hamlin won by fall over Barreiro at the Lehigh-American dual meet in Washington, D.C. Haas and Lear squared off two weeks ago in Lehigh’s final dual meet with Lear winning by fall in 6:22.
The 109th EIWA Championships get underway Friday at 11 a.m. from the RAC in Piscataway, N.J. Session two, featuring the semifinals will begin Friday at 5:30 p.m. On Saturday, session three, with the consolation semifinals and seventh place matches will begin at 10 a.m., while Saturday’s finals session featuring matches for first, third and fifth place will begin at 3 p.m. Live audio of Lehigh’s matches from Saturday’s finals session will be streamed online at Lehighsports.com.