Wins over top six foes propel Napoli to EIWA weekly honors
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Following a 2-0 weekend that included two wins over wrestlers ranked in the top six nationally, Lehigh junior Joey Napoli was named EIWA Co-Wrestler of the Week on Monday. Napoli posted wins over No. 2 Dylan Alton of Penn State on Friday night and No. 6 Frank Hickman of Bloomsburg as the Mountain Hawks went 1-1 in duals against the Nittany Lions and Huskies.
The Boiling Springs, Pa. native deferred his eligibility last year while moving up to the 157 pound weight class and has now burst back onto the national scene after beginning the season unranked. Napoli gave up the first takedown to Alton of Penn State Friday night but successfully came from behind to win 4-2. Napoli scored a match-changing takedown late in the second period and then rode out Alton in the third period to secure the victory.
Napoli followed that up with an impressive 6-0 shutout of Hickman. With 30 seconds remaining in the first period, Napoli took down Hickman for an early two-point lead, and followed his takedown with an escape early in the second. He then added another takedown late in the second period before riding time tacked on the extra point. The victories improved Napoli’s early-season mark to 3-0.
Last season, Napoli went 31-6 competing unattached in open tournaments. He was named Lehigh’s Deferred Eligibility Wrestler of the Year at the annual Lewis Wrestling Dinner.
Napoli owns a 42-25 career record and qualified for the NCAA Championships at 149 as a sophomore in 2011 as he went 1-2 at the national tournament. He shares his first EIWA Wrestler of the Week Award of the new season with Nashon Garrett of Cornell.
The Mountain Hawks (2-1) will be off from competition over the Thanksgiving holiday but will return to action with a pair of home duals on Friday November 30 and Saturday December 1. Lehigh will host Hofstra November 30 at 7 p.m. inside Leeman-Turner Arena at Grace Hall before welcoming Penn the following afternoon at 1 p.m. in the annual Billy Sheridan Memorial Dual. Tickets can be purchased by calling 610-7LU-GAME, but visiting the Lehigh box office in Stabler Arena, or by visiting Lehighsports.com.
Story by CJ McCollum ‘13