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    Bucknell defeats Army

    LEWISBURG, Pa. -- Prior to Thursday night’s Bucknell-Army wrestling match in Davis Gym the Bison program recognized six student-athletes during Senior Night festivities. Those veterans each had strong showings as they combined for a 5-0 record against the Black Knights, helping Bucknell to a 25-12 win over Army. The win was the first EIWA victory of the year for the Bison, who improved to 6-10, 1-4 EIWA.

    Bucknell, which defeated Lock Haven last Friday, has now won two straight matches for the first time this year. The Bison have also won seven consecutive February duals and they closed out their 2010-11 home slate with a 4-3 mark at Davis Gym.

    Bucknell won eight of the 10 bouts against Army (7-7, 2-5 EIWA) to improve to 2-7 all-time when facing the Black Knights. The Bison have won each of the last two meetings with Army.

    While Bucknell more than doubled the Black Knights in the team score, it was a much closer match than that as two bouts went to overtime and four others – all Bison victories – were decided by just one point.

    Seniors Jay Hahn (Malvern, Pa./Great Valley), Brantley Hooks (Spartanburg, S.C./James F. Byrnes), Kevin LeValley (Hugo, Colo./Limon), Scott Sechler (Slatington, PA./Northern Lehigh) and Rob Waltko (Pittsburgh, Pa./North Allegheny), as well as fourth-year junior David Thompson (West Liberty, Ohio/Graham Local), were honored prior to the match. All but Sechler were in the starting lineup and each posted a victory.

    Army claimed two of the first three bouts to jump out to a 12-3 lead. The Black Knights’ Jordan Thome recorded a pin at 133 pounds and his brother, Casey Thome, won by injury default over Bucknell’s Zac Hancock (Laura, Ohio/Troy Christian) 2:08 into a scoreless bout.

    LeValley started the comeback and a string of seven consecutive Bison victories with a 12-3 major decision at 149 pounds. It was his 16th consecutive win in Davis Gym and it was his 12th straight EIWA dual victory. He outscored Daniel Young 8-2 in the first two periods, including 6-2 in the second. LeValley now has 117 career victories, one shy of second-place Bobby Ferraro on Bucknell’s all-time list.

    Hooks followed with the first of the Bison’s four one-point decisions. A third-period escape proved to be the difference for Hooks, who is now 17-9 this year and 83-64 in his career as he moved into sole possession of 10th place on Bucknell’s all-time wins list.

    Sophomore Corey Lear (Orangeville, Pa./Benton Area), who shut out his opponent for the fifth time this year, earned a 1-0 victory at 165 vs. Jake Vetter. The only point came early in the second period when Lear scored on an escape after choosing the bottom position. The bout featured both Lear and Vetter on their feet for much of the time, but Lear fought off a couple of serious third-period takedown attempts by Vetter to give Bucknell a 13-12 lead.

    At 174 pounds, Thompson posted a 4-2 overtime win with a sudden victory takedown. He registered a pair of escapes during regulation, coming back from an early 2-0 hole.

    Waltko continued the string of Bison victories with a tight 8-7 win at 184 pounds. It was his third straight victory and evened his season record at 13-13.

    A win by Hahn at 197 pounds clinched the Bucknell win as his 10-4 decision over Daniel Mills staked the Bison to a 22-12 advantage. Hahn recorded four takedowns, while Mills could manage just four escapes in the bout.

    Sophomore Joe McMullan (Easton, Pa./Wyoming Seminary) capped the match with a 4-3 decision at heavyweight, his second win in five tries at the weight class this year.

    Derek Reber (Lewisburg, Pa./Lewisburg Area) got things started for the Bison by claiming a hard-fought 5-2 overtime victory at 125 pounds over David White. The score was tied 2-2 entering overtime and neither wrestler scored in the sudden victory period or the first tiebreaker. Finally, Reber turned White onto his back and scored a three-point near fall for the win.

    Thursday’s victory marked the 50th in Bison head coach Dan Wirnsberger’s five-year tenure at the helm of the Bucknell program. He has led the Bison to a 50-45-2 mark over that span.

    Bucknell will go for its third straight win next Saturday, Feb. 19, when it wrestles at EIWA foe Brown in Providence, R.I. The Bison will close their regular season the next day at American.

    Results:
    *125: Derek Reber (B) dec. David White (A), 5-2 (tb2)
    133: Jordan Thome (A) fall Alex Pellicciotti (B), 4:44
    141: Casey Thome (A) injury default Zac Hancock (B)
    149: No. 6 Kevin LeValley (B) maj. dec. Daniel Young (A), 12-3
    157: Brantley Hooks (B) dec. Jimmy Rafferty (A), 3-2
    165: Corey Lear (B) dec. Jake Vetter (A), 1-0
    174: David Thompson (B) dec. Ryan Tompkins (A), 4-2 (sv)
    184: Rob Waltko (B) dec. Wil Brown (A), 8-7
    197: Jay Hahn (B) dec. Daniel Mills (A), 10-4
    Hwt: Joe McMullan (B) dec. Christian Botero (A), 4-3

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