BETHLEHEM, Pa. -- Led by major decisions from freshmen Seth Thomas and Joey Palmer, the No. 10/12 Oregon State wrestling team took away home mat advantage from Lehigh Saturday afternoon, defeating the Mountain Hawks 20-14 in Bethlehem.
The Beavers saw victories from six separate weight classes, with major decisions from the redshirt freshman, Thomas (14-3), and Palmer (13-1), the true freshman. The win is OSU's fourth straight and improves the team to 6-3 overall, while remaining 2-1 in Pac-12 competition. The loss drops Lehigh to 6-5 on the year and is their second loss in three meets.
The meet started on a high note with a 7-4 decision from junior RJ Pena, who staked the Beavers with a 3-0 lead following the 157 lb. match. Redshirt freshman Seth Thomas (165 lbs.) followed in Pena's footsteps, earning his first collegiate dual victory in his very first collegiate start. Thomas defeated Lehigh's Ben Haas to put the Orange and Black up 7-0.
After two straight major decisions from the Mountain Hawks in the 174 lb. and 184 lb. matches, 197 lb. senior Taylor Meeks brought his team back from an 8-7 deficit, with a 10-7 decision over LU's John Brolich. Meeks' victory put OSU back in the lead for good as they claimed a 10-8 edge over the home standing Hawks.
Heavyweight Chad Hanke and Palmer, the 125 pounder, added to the Beaver lead with a combined seven points on Hanke's 6-4 decision and Palmer's major. Hanke's win, now gives him a team high 10 in a row dating back to the Midlands Championships in December. 141 pounder Mike Mangrum was the final OSU grappler to pick up a win against Lehigh with his 12-5 decision over Laike Gardner.
The Beavers came ever so close to six more team points as both Drew Van Anrooy (133 lbs.) and Scott Sakaguchi (149 lbs.) lost in three overtimes during their respective matches. Van Anrooy fell to LU's Randy Cruz via a 5-3 decision, while Sakaguchi came up short in a 7-5 decision to the ‘Hawks Shane Welsh.
Despite the close defeats, OSU still walked away with the 20-14 win and improved to 4-1 during the calendar year. The four-meet Beaver win streak dates back to Jan. 11 when they defeated Air Force 32-7 in Colorado Springs. Jim Zalesky's squad will look to make it five in a row as they focus their attention on Cornell, who they will take on in a non-conference dual, Sunday. The meet is scheduled to get underway at 11 a.m. Pacific Time and will be televised live on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel in the Syracuse, NY market.
It is also of note that during the meet's intermission, former Oregon State wrestler and current Lehigh athletic director Greg Strobel was met by Coach Zalesky at center mat where he was presented with a special framed photo collage of his time with both distinguished wrestling programs. Strobel compiled a 124-5-1 record during his time in Corvallis and still has the second highest winning percentage in school history (.958). The Roseburg, Ore., native went to Bethlehem to coach the Mountain Hawks before moving to an administrative role.
157 - RJ Pena def. Albert Woody (Lehigh) via Dec (7-4) OSU 3, Lehigh 0
165 - Seth Thomas def. Ben Haas (Lehigh) Maj. Dec. (14-3) OSU 7, Lehigh 0
174 - Nathaniel Brown (Lehigh) def. Austin Morehead Maj. Dec. (21-10) OSU 7, Lehigh 4
184 - Robert Hamlin (Lehigh) def. Brian Engdahl Maj. Dec. 14-5 Lehigh 8, OSU 7
197 – Taylor Meeks def. John Brolich (Lehigh) Dec. (10-7) OSU 10, Lehigh 8
HWT - Chad Hanke def. Jack Delia (Lehigh) Dec. (6-4) 0SU 13, Lehigh 8
125 - Joey Palmer def. Alex Abreu (Lehigh) Maj. Dec. (13-1) OSU 17, Lehigh 8
133 - Randy Cruz (Lehigh) def. Drew Van Anrooy Dec. (5-3) 3OT OSU 17, Lehigh 11
141 - Mike Mangrum def. Laike Gardner (Lehigh) Dec. 12-5 OSU 20, Lehigh 11
149 - Shane Welsh (Lehigh) def. Scott Sakaguchi Dec. (7-5) 3OT OSU 20, Lehigh 14
FINAL SCORE: OSU 20, Lehigh 14 / RECORDS: OSU (6-3) (2-1) Lehigh (6-5) (2-3)
POST MEET QUOTES
Head Coach Jim Zalesky
On the victory...
"There was a lot of good wrestling. Both teams fought hard. We lost a couple that maybe I thought we should have won, but I'm sure they (Lehigh) felt the same way. I thought (Joey) Palmer wrestled well and (Mike) Mangrum came back after a slow start. We just have to put more points up on the scoreboard because some weights were just not doing that."
On freshman Joey Palmer's performance...
"It was a big match for him and a big win. He's lost a lot of close matches and sometimes you just have to learn how to win some of those matches to turn things around and your season around."
On the atmosphere…
"It was a great atmosphere, I've wrestled here when I was in college. This is a great atmosphere because there are very knowledgeable fans, so it's great to wrestle in."
On the quick turnaround, wrestling Cornell on Sunday...
"You have to be ready, that's just the way it is. We have another dual meet tomorrow and another good opponent . A lot of great dual matches will be up there (in Ithaca, N.Y.) and we have to be ready. Second day (of a back-to-back) a lot of times you have to be more ready."
POST MEET NOTES
--Oregon State now boasts a 6-3 record over Lehigh all-time dating back to the schools' first meeting in 1974, which is also the same record OSU has overall in 2012-13.
--With his decision Saturday, 141 pounder Mike Mangrum moves into a tie for seventh place on the all-time career wins list with Greg Strobel (1971-74, 190 lbs.), who has 124.
--Senior heavyweight Chad Hanke's victory via decision gave him 105 total for his career, placing him just one win shy of tying Trent Flack (1989-90, 92-93) and Tom Phillip (1971-74) for 17th on the all-time program list.
--Hanke's 10 match winning streak is the second highest on the team this season, bested only by RJ Pena's 12 he reeled off from the Cliff Keen Las Vegas invite (Nov. 30) to the Midlands Championships (Dec. 29).
--Freshman Joey Palmer's two collegiate dual victories have come via major decision, one Saturday vs. Lehigh and another vs. Air Force (Jan. 11).
--Redshirt freshman Seth Thomas won his first ever collegiate dual match in his first ever collegiate dual start.
--The Beavers have now won four dual meets in-a-row for the first time since the five straight they claimed last season against Northern Colorado, North Dakota State, Boise, Stanford and finally Iowa State in the National Duals (Jan. 20 – Feb. 12, 2012).