Over half of the EIWA was in action this past weekend and while six of the seven schools won at least one dual in that span, none were more impressive than No. 11 Lehigh’s 23-9 trouncing of visiting No. 19 Central Michigan on Dec. 12.
The Mountain Hawks brought Leeman-Turner Arena to its feet and made a statement, taking seven of ten bouts from the Chippewas, including the only two major decisions of the day.
Lehigh took three straight in the middleweights, highlighted by Brian Tanen’s 9-1 major over Adam Miller at 157 pounds with the match tied at six apiece. The Mountain Hawks never looked back from that four-point lead and only dropped one more match on the day, reeling off three straight wins again to finish out the dual.
Robert Hamlin moved to 9-0 on the year at 184 pounds, scoring six takedowns over Chad Friend en route to a 14-5 major decision. The heavyweight bout did not disappoint as Zach Rey, No. 1 in the nation, went up against CMU’s Jarod Trice in a battle of two, top-five heavyweights.
The match headed into a tiebreaker with the score knotted at 1-1, when Rey successfully escaped and rode Trice for the entire 30 seconds to secure the win and stay undefeated on the year. It is the exact way and manner in which Rey won last year’s EIWA Tournament against DJ Russo of Rutgers.
The Mountain Hawks sure are flying high after that victory and will enjoy a short break off before they, and a handful of EIWA programs, head to Evanston, Ill., for the Midlands Championships.
After putting in his second-string roster Dec. 11 against George Mason and losing three bouts, Rutgers head coach Scott Goodale went back to his big guns when his No. 17 Scarlet Knights squared off against Princeton immediately after. The heavy artillery did the damage intended, as Rutgers showed who the top EIWA school in New Jersey is by throttling the Tigers, 42-0.
The bout of the day came at 125 pounds as two NCAA qualifiers stepped in the circle with Joe Langel of Rutgers and No. 13 Garrett Frey of Princeton. Frey entered the third period with a two-point lead, however Langel owned over two minutes of riding time and started the period in the down position. Langel’s escape set the score at 4-3, but the Howell, N.J., native did not want to take the match to overtime. The two scrambled with the clock ticking with less than 10 seconds left in regulation as Langel secured the takedown, flipping the score in his favor and lighting a spark under the home crowd.
Earlier in the day, Princeton earned its first dual meet win of the year by taking down George Mason, 29-16. The Tigers fell the following day to Rider, 30-10.
A pair of EIWA programs also went at it Dec. 10 in Annapolis, Md., as Navy put together seven wins — five with bonus points — to power past Franklin & Marshall by a 32-13 score.
F&M took an early 9-6 lead after forfeiting at 125 pounds, as Jake Bucha won by decision at 133 and then Kenny Knapp scored a fall over Joe Locksmith at 141. But after that it was all Navy, as the Midshipmen won five in a row, including pins from No. 6 Bryce Saddoris (157) and No. 18 Luke Rebertus (184).
Colin Ely would earn a major decision at 197 pounds for the Diplomats before Navy’s Mike Landis closed out the dual with a 3-2 decision over Dan Canfield in the heavyweight class.
Never a Dull Moment
It was a busy week for Army as the Black Knights took part in three duals, starting with a thriller on Dec. 10 against Rider. Army took the match 19-16 as it won three matches in a row from 125 pounds to 141 pounds.
Then it was right back to the mat two days later to face off against Binghamton and Ohio. The day started off rough against Binghamton, as the Bearcats took control and beat Army, 22-12. Brothers Jordan (133) and Casey Thome (141) kept Army in it by earning a decision and a pin, respectively. After that, the team enjoyed a short break before taking on Ohio that afternoon to a much more satisfying result. Once again the Thome Bros. got the Black Knights out to an early 9-0 lead before Ohio took five of the remaining seven matches. However, Will Brown’s pin at 184 pounds over Ohio’s Ryan Garringer proved to be the difference maker as Army won, 19-18.
Penn also took to the mat that same day in a dual against Rider. The Quakers won handedly, 23-18, behind three straight wins to open the match. Penn won the first three matches by a combined 45-13 score. The Broncs came back with a handful of victories of its own, including Rob Morrison upsetting No. 19 Scott Giffin at 174 pounds, but No. 7 Micah Burak sealed the deal with a 9-1 major decision at 197 pounds.
Wrestler of the Week
In fact, this week’s WOTW award goes to a pair of Army grapplers who helped the Black Knights go 2-1 in their three duals. The combination of brothers Jordan and Casey Thome went a combined 6-0 on the week.
Jordan, a sophomore at 133 pounds, won all three of his bouts by conventional decisions with a combined score of 15-6.
Casey, a senior at 141 pounds, earned two shutout victories by scores of 4-0 and 6-0, respectively. Casey also pinned Binghamton’s Brian Guilfoyle in the second period of their bout. It’s safe to say the Thome family will have plenty to talk about over the holiday break.