Lock Haven repeated as EWL champion (Photo/Tim Barnhart)
FAIRFAX, Va. -- In what proved to be a dominant and historic outing, the Bald Eagles crowned six individual champions and soared by the tournament field, as the No. 21 Lock Haven University wrestling team claimed the 2019 Eastern Wrestling League (EWL) Championship. It marked LHU's second straight conference title.
DJ Fehlman (Warren, Pa./Warren), Kyle Shoop (Boiling Springs, Pa./Boiling Springs), Alex Klucker (Summerdale, Pa./East Pennsboro), Chance Marsteller (New Park, Pa./Kennard-Dale), Corey Hazel (Spring Mills, Pa./Penns Valley) and Thomas Haines (Quarryville, Pa./Solanco) all won individual titles.
Lock Haven paced the field with 111.5 points, while Rider was second (93.5) and host-George Mason (56.5) rounded out the top three. Edinboro was a distant fourth, followed by Bloomsburg (5th), Clarion (6th) and Cleveland State (7th).
The six champions are the most for Lock Haven in EWL Tournament history.
All six individual champions also booked trips to the 2019 NCAA Championships.
Both Klucker (157) and Hazel (184) successfully defended their EWL titles from last season. Fehlman (133), Klucker, Marsteller (165) and Hazel are now all two-time NCAA qualifiers. Shoop (141) and Haines (285) are now three-time NCAA qualifiers.
Marsteller's dominating run to the 165-pound title led to him being named the tournament's most outstanding wrestler. He was 3-0 with bonus points in all three bouts, including two pins.
Today's championship marked the 44th and final EWL Championship, as it was announced earlier this week that LHU, along with the six other EWL teams will join the Mid-American Conference (MAC) next year for the sport of wrestling.
The Bald Eagles effort today certainly put an exclamation point on their run through the EWL since 1976 with Lock Haven saving its very best effort for last.
Today's team title marked LHU's second straight and third overall EWL crown. Last season ('18) when the Bald Eagles won, it marked their first EWL championship since Lock Haven's first, back in 1997.
Luke Werner (Bethlehem, Pa./Liberty) fell in the 125-pound finals and finished second overall.
Lock Haven was 6-1 in the championship finals tonight with a pair of majors and one pin (Klucker).
Brock Port (Bellefonte, Pa./Bellefonte) and Jared Siegrist (Manheim, Pa./Manheim Central) battled back for Lock Haven, and finished third overall at 149 and 174, respectively.
During the regular season, the Bald Eagles won 46 of 60 bouts in EWL dual action and that dominance carried over into this morning's Round 1 action. After drawing a pair of first-round byes (157 & 174), LHU went 7-1 in first round action. Of those seven wins, Lock Haven recorded three pins, a major and a tech fall.
The early dominance saw nine Bald Eagles land in the semifinals where LHU went 7-2 with a pin, tech fall and one major. The seven EWL finalists marked the most ever at an EWL Tournament for Lock Haven.
Fehlman, the top-seed at 133, rolled to a 3-0 record and the title. In the finals, he put forth a remarkable individual effort that led to a workmanlike 3-2 (SV2) win over Rider's Anthony Cefolo, the No. 3 seed. Fehlman, who just wouldn't stop, forced a stall call for the win. Since returning to 133 pounds on January 25, Fehlman has jumped into the national rankings and stretched his record to 10-1.
Shoop opened his tournament in familiar fashion and racked up another tech fall. For Shoop, the top-seed at 141, the tech fall was his Division I leading 15th of the season. The nationally-ranked 141-pounder added a major in the semifinals and booked his spot in the finals. In the finals, Shoop led 11-0 after one period and cruised to a 13-0 major decision over Edinboro's Carmine Ciotti, the No. 3 seed.
Klucker, the No. 2 seed at 157, drew a first-round bye, before downing No. 3 seed Gino Fluri of Rider, 4-1 in the semifinals. In the finals, Klucker was looking to defend his 2018 EWL title and he did just that. The win came in thrilling fashion, as he pinned No. 1 seed Kolby Ho (1:29) and booked a return trip to nationals while he was at it. Ho majored Klucker back in November during the dual at LHU.
For Klucker, he has won two straight 157-pound EWL titles, earning falls in the finals on both occasions.
Marsteller, the top-seed who is ranked No. 5 nationally, cruised into the finals thanks to back-to-back pins. In the 165-pound finals, Marsteller, a returning All-American, put on a clinic in recording a major decision. Rider's Jesse Dellavecchia, the No. 2 seed who is ranked 15th nationally, was no match for Marsteller, who won 12-3.
Marsteller's two pins came at the 1:21 and 5:54 mark.
Hazel, the top-seed at 184 used a pair of dominant decisions to earn his spot in the finals. The nationally-ranked Hazel entered as the defending champion and left little doubt as to who is the premier 184-pounder in the EWL. In the finals, he downed No. 3 seed Michael Fagg-Daves (Rider), 5-1 after putting the hammer down late in the match, which secured the victory and trip to Pittsburgh for nationals.
Haines, the No. 2 seed at 285 who is nationally-ranked, went 3-0 on the way to the title today. The three wins extended Haines' win streak to 11 bouts. In the finals, he knocked off top-seed and EWL rival Matthew Voss of George Mason. Haines won 7-4 after a dominating second-period ride and late third-period takedown. Back in late November, Voss downed Haines in the regular season EWL dual.
The finals' wins for Fehlman, Marsteller and Hazel proved extra valuable as they served as head-to-head matches with Rider, who was Lock Haven's main threat in the team standings entering the championship session tonight.
Werner, the top-seed at 125, used a pin and tech fall to earn his spot at the finals. In the finals, the nationally-ranked 125-pounder was edged out by archrival Willy Girard, the No. 3 seed from Bloomsburg, 9-8 (TB2). Werner, who is ranked in both recent editions of the NCAA coaches' panel rankings and RPI, will await the NCAA selection show to see if he receives a wild card selection for the NCAA Championships.
Port rattled off three wins on the way to his third-place finish at 149 pounds. The redshirt-freshman was 3-1 on the day and ripped off two wins in the consolation rounds after falling in the semifinals.
Siegrist bounced back from a tournament-opening loss in the semifinals and finished third. He was 2-1 on the day.
The 2019 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships are set for Thursday to Saturday, March 21-23 at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh.
As far as additional NCAA Championship selections for LHU, the NCAA Division I Wrestling Committee will announce the remaining 44 at-large qualifiers on March 12. The 2019 championship brackets and seeding will be announced on NCAA.com at 6 p.m. on March 13.
Shoop, Klucker, Marsteller, Hazel and Haines all competed at last year's NCAA Tournament. Fehlman (2017 NCAA qualifier) joins Klucker, Marsteller and Hazel as LHU's two-time NCAA qualifiers, while both Shoop and Haines have become three-time national qualifiers for Lock Haven.
FINAL TEAM SCORES:
1. Lock Haven, 111.5
2. Rider, 93.5
3. George Mason, 56.5
4. Edinboro, 45.5
5. Bloomsburg, 25.5
6. Clarion, 20
7. Cleveland State, 8
TOURNAMENT'S MOST OUTSTANDING WRESTLER:
Chance Marsteller (165), Lock Haven