LEWISBURG, Pa. — When the dust settled at Sojka Pavilion on the campus of Bucknell University, the 107th EIWA Championships provided a fair share of upsets, dominating performances, and all around great matchups. While the nation’s best team proved why they are the best, a handful of teams left Lewisburg, Pa., with plenty to cheer about. Here’s a look at how the top five teams finished up:
1) Cornell (173.5 points) — The Big Red crowned four individual champions as they cruised to a fifth-straight EIWA Championship. Sure, Kyle Dake may have lost in overtime to Bucknell’s Kevin LeValley and Steve Bosak gave up a last minute takedown to fall to Lehigh’s Robert Hamlin, but Cornell more than made up for it. Frank Perrelli kicked things off in the tournament’s final round by earning a 6-4 decision against Penn’s Mark Rappo. Frank Cagnina of Lehigh’s medical forfeit followed at 133 pounds, resulting in Mike Grey needing to wrestle in just two matches to finish first. The Big Red sandwiched the Bosak loss with a pair of champions courtesy of Mack Lewnes and Cam Simaz. Lewnes dominated Navy’s Matt Demichiel to the tune of a 13-3 major decision and Simaz held on to best Penn’s Micah Burak by a 1-0 score.
2) Lehigh (119 points) — Thanks to a solid all around effort, the Mountain Hawks were able to shake off a Zach Rey upset in the heavyweight finals to capture second. Hamlin took first at 184 pounds and Cagnina’s medical forfeit still gave Lehigh precious team points as he finished second at 133 pounds. Rey fell in overtime to American’s Ryan Flores, but still took second. Stephen Dutton took fourth at 141 pounds, Joe Napoli took fifth at 149 and an injury caused freshman Austin Meys to forfeit his third place bout against Rutgers’ Alex Caruso and settle for fourth.
3) Rutgers (116.5 points) — Scott Winston was the Scarlet Knights’ lone representation in the final round, but what it lacked in No. 1 power, Rutgers more than made up for with depth. Winston needed overtime, but eventually outlasted Columbia’s Eren Civan to take the crown at 165 pounds. But Rutgers did its damage well before that with a total of five wrestlers claiming third place in their respective weight classes. Winston, Mario Mason (149), Daryl Cocozzo (157), Alex Caruso (174), Dan Rinaldi (184), and DJ Russo (Hvy) all punched tickets to Philly in two weeks. Joe Langel (125) and Trevor Melde (141) have outside shots at earning wild card bids and if the Scarlet Knights send eight to the Wells Fargo Center, their goal of finishing in the top 10 comes that much closer to a reality.
4) American (106 points) — One could easily argue that no team surprised anybody on Day 2 more than the Eagles of American. The squad sent three grapplers to the final round and all three emerged as EIWA Champions. Matt Mariacher took advantage of one of the weaker fields in the EIWA to work his way into the finals at 141 pounds. There he met Army’s Casey Thome and Mariacher’s slick defensive style won out in the form of a 4-2 decision. Eager to revenge last year’s tourney loss to Bryce Saddoris (Navy), the nation’s No. 1 wrestler at 157 pounds, Steve Fittery, wanted to make no mistake when the two met in this year’s final. Fittery showed why he’s the best in the business with a 6-1 decision. Ryan Flores kept the Eagles soaring at heavyweight when he bested previously undefeated Zach Rey of Lehigh, 4-2, in overtime.
5) Penn (98 points) — The Quakers may not return to Philadelphia with any EIWA Champs, but the Ivy Leaguers certainly put forth a good showing in Lewisburg. Mark Rappo (125) and Micah Burak (197) both made it all the way to the finals before being bested by their Cornell counterparts. Rollie Peterkin salvaged an early loss to Lehigh’s Frank Cagnina to earn third place at 133 pounds. Zack Kemmerer followed up Peterkin at 141 pounds with a third place finish of his own thanks to a 4-2 decision in overtime over Lehigh’s Stephen Dutton. Stephen Burak also made the podium for the Quakers with a third place finish at 165 pounds.