PROVIDENCE, R.I. – No. 15 Lehigh opened its weekend trip through New England by defeating Brown 35-3 Saturday at Pizzitola Sports Center. The Mountain Hawks dropped the opening bout but won the next eight bouts plus a forfeit to senior Zach Rey at heavyweight. Five of the eight wins were by major decision as Lehigh moves to 10-5 on the dual season.
“I’m proud of the way we wrestled,” said head coach Pat Santoro. “They wrestled hard. They tried to score points. They were working for the majors and the tech falls and trying to score points late in the match and that’s what you want to see.”
The match opened with Brown’s Billy Watterson winning 10-6 over sophomore Alex Abreu at 125, but from that point the afternoon belonged to the Mountain Hawks. Freshman Mason Beckman started the run with a dominant 20-7 major decision over Beau Martino at 133. Beckman registered ten takedowns in the match and added a two-point near fall at the end of the first period en route to his victory. Sophomore Steve Dutton continued the run with a 12-3 major over Zach Tanenbaum at 141.
At 149, junior Shane Welsh returned to the lineup for the first time in a month and was solid in an 11-6 decision over Ricky Bailey. Welsh scored totaled four takedowns in the bout, plus a second period reversal and riding time.
Seniors Brian Tanen and Sean Bilodeau helped Lehigh extend its lead with consecutive major decisions at 157 and 165 respectively. Tanen built a 6-1 lead after one period en route to a 12-3 major decision, while Bilodeau dominated Jeff Lemmer 15-2. Bilodeau put Lemmer to his back with an inside trip in the second period and despite nearly recording a fall was able to open up a substantial lead.
The closest bout of the dual pitted freshman Nate Brown against Dave Foxen at 174. The wrestlers traded escapes in regulation, but in sudden victory Brown worked his way into the decisive takedown with 17 seconds remaining to win 3-1.
Junior Robert Hamlin matched up with Brown’s top wrestler, Ophir Bernstein at 184. Bernstein attacked Hamlin’s ankles early, but it was Hamlin who scored the first takedown, and then added three more in the final two periods to win 10-4.
Senior Joe Kennedy also returned to the Lehigh lineup with a strong performance in a major decision win over Marcos Aranda. In his first action since placing fifth at the Midlands in late December, Kennedy dominated from start to finish with seven takedowns in a 16-5 major decision.
Santoro offered his thoughts on the returns of Welsh and Kennedy, “Those two guys came back with good performances. They scored a lot of points and didn’t look tentative at all. They wrestled very aggressively, which is exactly what we wanted to see.”
The Bears forfeited to Rey at heavyweight, giving Rey a rather easy 70th career dual meet win, which tied him with Jon Trenge ’05 for the school career record.
Brown defeated Harvard 22-17 earlier in the day and is now 7-10 on the season.
“It was a good performance overall,” Santoro said. “We need to get ready for tomorrow and try to do the same thing against Harvard.”
The Mountain Hawks continue their New England swing on Sunday when they head to Cambridge, Mass. to face Harvard at noon. Audio coverage on ESPN Radio 1230 and 1320 and online at Lehighsports.com begins at 11:45 a.m.
125 – Billy Watterson (Brown) dec. Alex Abreu (Lehigh) 10-6
133 – Mason Beckman (Lehigh) major dec. Beau Martino (Brown) 20-7
141 – Steve Dutton (Lehigh) major dec. Zach Tanenbaum (Brown) 12-3
149 – Shane Welsh (Lehigh) dec. Ricky Bailey (Brown) 11-6
157 – Brian Tanen (Lehigh) major dec. Max Lewin (Brown) 12-3
165 – Sean Bilodeau (Lehigh) major dec. Jeff Lemmer (Brown) 15-2
174 – Nate Brown (Lehigh) dec. Dave Foxen (Brown) 3-1, s.v.
184 – Robert Hamlin (Lehigh) dec. Ophir Bernstein (Brown) 10-4
197 – Joe Kennedy (Lehigh) major dec. Marcos Aranda (Brown) 16-5
285 – Zach Rey (Lehigh) won by forfeit