2x All-American Jordan Wood (Photo/Sam Janicki; SJanickiPhoto.com)
Lehigh Mountain Hawks
Lehigh returns nine national qualifiers and three All Americans(Paetzell, Humphreys, Wood) and are looking to build upon four straight EIWA crowns. Lehigh seemed like one the teams that was hit hardest by Covid. I've heard the rumblings from their coaches referencing multiple 14-day quarantines for almost every starter last season and numerous shutdowns of the Caruso Complex. Despite this, Lehigh won EIWA's again and qualified all ten weights to St. Louis.
Expect Lehigh to bring a large contingent to Nationals. Twice in the past four years, Lehigh has brought all ten starters to nationals. Only one other team in the country can make that claim. During those other two year, Lehigh had eight and nine.
It looks like that may continue as Lehigh has a very young team with many roster battles and a lot of depth. It will be interesting to see how the coaching staff navigates this season with so many redshirts still available.
Wood and Humphreys anchor this Lehigh team and could potentially be the only upperclassman in the entire lineup. Wood is the undisputed leader of this squad and will be looking to become the first 5X EIWA champ. Many forget he was in an overtime match in the 2019 NCAA semifinals against Derek White (Oklahoma State). Wood has reportedly put on an additional 20 pounds in the offseason and was also quite active this summer, qualifying for the Olympic Trials, making the semis of the Sr. World Team Trials, as well as a third-place finish at U23's. The buzz is that Humphreys has fully recovered after a year lost due to injury. He is a full go and the coaches have raved about how hungry and ready he is to be back in the fire.
Lane and Hines return at 125 and 133 after both won EIWA titles and multiple matches at NCAA's. Sheldon Seymour made some noise by winning the intrasquad match over Lane at 125 in Grace Hall. Malyke Hines was the EIWA Freshman of the Year last season after his run at Nationals.
Connor McGonigal is the incumbent at the 141 weight class and a national qualifier last season. Veteran Dan Moran is back from a season lost due to shoulder surgery. He is well respected by the team for his energy and work ethic and is a solid option for Mountain Hawks at 141.
Jimmy Hoffman is quite seasoned, having made the NCAA's the past two seasons at 149, but Manzona Bryant is looking to make a name for himself as he knocked off Hoffman in the intrasquad.
Returning All American Josh Humphreys looks to be a major contender nationally at 157, but Lehigh also has a National Qualifier in Luca Frinzi returning at 157. Frinzi, a Lehigh Valley native, may also see some time at 165.
Speaking of 165, Brian Meyer returns after his trip to NCAA's last season. He has both Thayne Lawrence and Connor Herceg to contend with at the weight. Connor Herceg, a Nazareth product, performed well this summer, placing at U23's.
Jake Logan returns at 174 after his first trip to the NCAA tournament last March. Logan had a great summer placing 2nd at the UWW Juniors, which earned him a trip to the Jr Pan American Championships, where he earned a Gold medal. Lawrence and Herceg are also quite capable options at 174.
Lehigh's staff seems impressed with AJ Burkhart making the jump from 157 to 184. He has put on some good size after a summer spent in the weight room. They have also raved about the work ethic of NJ native Jack Wilt. Wilt is also in contention for the starting spot at 184 as a first-year freshman.
JT Davis will likely be the guy at 197 for the Mountain Hawks. The multiple-time Delaware state champ had his first year on campus derailed by a knee injury. Now, JT is healthy and has grown into a full-size 197.
Jordan Wood will again anchor Lehigh's lineup at 285 for the 5th year in a row. Jordan looks to improve on his 2019 fourth-place finish at NCAA's in his final year of eligibility.
Returning NWCA All-American, Brandon Paetzell, has had shoulder surgery and will likely miss most, if not, all of this season. Gaige Garcia, the blue-chip transfer from the University of Michigan, is a two-sport athlete, who reportedly broke his foot during the start of his first season on the football field for the Mountain Hawks. If Garcia could get healthy, it could certainly bolster Lehigh's lineup.
125: Jaret Lane/ Sheldon Seymour/Carter Bailey
133: Malyke Hines
141: Connor McGonigal/ Dan Moran
149: Jimmy Hoffman/Manzona Bryant
157: Josh Humphreys-Jr (AA, 2x EIWA Champ) /Luca Frinzi RFr( NQ)
165: Brian Meyer/ Thayne Lawrence/Connor Herceg/Luca Frinzi
174: Jake Logan/Herceg/Lawrence
184: AJ Burkhart/Jack Wilt
197: JT Davis
285: Jordan Wood