BETHLEHEM, Pa. – One day after upsetting No. 16 Oklahoma, the Lehigh wrestling team fell just short in another upset bid as No. 10 Oregon State won six of ten bouts to defeat the Mountain Hawks 20-14 Saturday afternoon at Leeman-Turner Arena at Grace Hall. Lehigh trailed 10-8 at intermission, but Oregon State won three of the next four matches to clinch the dual.
Sophomore Nathaniel Brown and senior Robert Hamlin posted bonus point wins for the second straight day at 174 and 184 respectively, while senior Shane Welsh defeated his second top ten-ranked opponent in as many days at 149. Freshman Randy Cruz accounted for the Mountain Hawks’ other win, with an overtime comeback at 133.
The loss drops Lehigh’s record to 6-6 while Oregon State improves to 6-3.
“When you wrestle a team like Oregon State you need to steal every match you can,” said Lehigh head coach Pat Santoro. “We didn’t do enough today. It wasn’t a lack of effort, it just wasn’t enough.”
The dual began at 157 where Lehigh’s Albert Woody hung tough against No. 8 RJ Pena, scoring a first period takedown to end the period tied at 3-3. Pena proved to be too strong however, as he scored an escape and takedown in the second period to win 7-3.
Oregon State’s lead grew to 7-0 as Seth Thomas won a 14-5 decision over freshman Ben Haas at 165. Like many of Haas’ matches over the last few weeks, the bout featured several wild scrambles, with Thomas breaking things open with a second period reversal and two point near fall.
Brown put Lehigh on the board with a 21-10 major decision over Austin Morehead at 174. Brown built an 8-0 lead after one period with a takedown, a two point near fall, a three-point near fall and a penalty point for a technical violation, but was unable to secure his first fall of the season. A reversal and three point near fall in the second had Brown looking for a technical fall, but he gave up a late five points in the second period and after adding seven more points in the third period, gave up five of his own as he had to settle for his second major decision in as many days.
Hamlin then followed with a 14-5 major decision over Brian Engdahl at 184, his 96th career victory. The third-ranked Hamlin tallied six takedowns including three in the first period in his 15th win of the season.
At 197 the Beavers’ seventh-ranked Taylor Meeks gave Oregon State the lead at intermission with a 6-1 decision over freshman John Bolich.
Oregon State extended its lead after intermission with back-to-back wins at 285 and 125. Freshman Jack Delia got the start for Lehigh against No. 4 Chad Hanke at heavyweight, but Hanke rode two first period takedowns and a reversal to win 6-4. The Beavers’ second bonus win came at 125 as Joey Palmer won a 13-1 major decision over Alex Abreu.
Needing wins in the final three bouts to stay in the dual, Lehigh freshman Randy Cruz averted disaster to defeat Drew Van Anrooy 5-3 in the tiebreakers at 133. Cruz escaped in the second period to take a 1-0 lead but not until after Van Anrooy rode for 1:19. Van Anrooy chose neutral for the third period and after no scoring, the riding time point sent the match to sudden victory tied at 1-1. There was no scoring in sudden victory, but Van Anrooy seemingly took control of the match with a reversal in the first 30 second tiebreak, however, Cruz was able to score a reversal of his own and added a late two point near fall to win 5-3.
With two bouts remaining, Lehigh needed to knock off a pair of top ten-ranked Beavers. Sophomore Anthony Salupo had a strong start with a quick takedown and a lengthy ride out of third-ranked Mike Mangrum at 141. Mangrum was able to battle back however, and claimed the lead with a second period escape and takedown before wearing down Salupo in the third period for a 12-5 decision that clinched the dual for the Beavers.
Fresh off a 3-2 decision over No. 9 Nick Lester of Oklahoma on Friday, Welsh looked to knock off No. 7 Scott Sakaguchi in the final bout of the dual. Sakaguchi scored the only takedown of the match in the first period, but Welsh answered with a reversal. Welsh escaped in the second period to lead 3-2 going to the third, only to see Sakaguchi regain the lead with a reversal. Welsh escaped and earned a point for an illegal hold for an illegal figure four to the head, but riding time sent the match into overtime tied at 5-5.
After a scoreless sudden victory period, Welsh rode out the first 30-second period, and then scored a reversal with four seconds left in the second tiebreaker period to win 7-5.
“Shane has really turned the corner since Midlands,” Santoro said. “I think I said the same thing last year. These matches are really important to build and get momentum and get ready for the NCAA tournament. That’s why it was such a big match for him.
Santoro continued, “We have a lot of work to do at different weight classes. Some guys are just getting back into the lineup off a long layoff. We just need to get that conditioning down and get that seven minutes.”
The Mountain Hawks will be off from competition next weekend and will return to action on Sunday February 10 when EIWA rivals Harvard and Brown visit Leeman-Turner Arena. The Harvard match is set for a 1 p.m. start followed by Lehigh vs. Brown at 3 p.m. Tickets can be purchased by visiting Lehighsports.com or by calling 610-7LU-GAME.
Oregon State 20, Lehigh 14
157 – RJ Pena (OSU) dec. Albert Woody (Lehigh) 7-3
165 – Seth Thomas (OSU) major dec. Ben Haas (Lehigh) 14-5
174 – Nathaniel Brown (Lehigh) major dec. Austin Morehead (OSU) 21-10
184 – Robert Hamlin (Lehigh) major dec. Brian Engdahl (OSU) 14-5
197 – Taylor Meeks (OSU) dec. John Bolich (Lehigh) 6-1
285 – Chad Hanke (OSU) dec. Jack Delia (Lehigh) 6-4
125 – Joey Palmer (OSU) major dec. Alex Abreu (Lehigh) 13-1
133 – Randy Cruz (Lehigh) dec. Drew Van Anrooy (OSU) 5-3, t.b.
141 – Mike Mangrum (OSU) dec. Anthony Salupo (Lehigh) 12-5
149 – Shane Welsh (Lehigh) dec. Scott Sakaguchi (OSU) 7-5, t.b.
Attendance – 1,573
Referee – Jeff Cook