Columbia 174 lber Lennox Wolak (photo courtesy of Sam Janicki; SJanickiPhoto.com)
About half of the conference was in action this weekend. We saw Penn dominate Army, while Ryan Miller took out Ethan Berginc - ruining his undefeated season thus far. Columbia was so close to pulling off an upset against #20 Pitt. Navy lost a close one to #19 Maryland. Speaking of close ones, we saw Princeton lose on criteria to in-state rival (and 24th-ranked) Rutgers.
The upset of the week came from Canadian-born Danny Coles for the Princeton Tigers. He knocked off eighth-ranked Sammy Alvarez of Rutgers at 141lbs, to help keep things interesting in the dual. Interestingly, this was his first win of the year. What a way to get the momentum going for the sophomore. Expect him to keep it rolling. He is this week's Outstanding Wrestler!
The Eagles of American were off this past weekend. They will be this coming weekend as well. They are back in action the week leading up to Christmas with duals against George Mason, Sacred Heart, and Hofstra.
Army West Point
The Black Knights fell victim to Penn via a 29-3 score. The score looks lopsided, but watching the match live, it was anything but lopsided. Unfortunately, Penn took four of the five one-score matches, which made the final look worse than it was. The only victory for Army came at 184lbs where 33rd-ranked Sahm Abdulrazzaq beat Max Hale 3-2. Ethan Berginc (#10 @ 125lbs) suffered his first loss of the year to #20 Ryan Miller. This squad wrestles hard all the time. This match seems to be a one-off effort, dropping close ones they usually do not. Expect these guys to bounce back in a few weeks at the Soldier Salute event in Iowa between Christmas and the New Year.
The Bearcats took care of business in their EIWA opener against LIU. With a 41-6 victory, they won 8 of 10 bouts, with the help of two forfeits at 125 and 133 lbs. BU had two major decisions and three pins in the process. The Bearcats are a tough team, with a very arduous schedule. It was good to see them dominate a conference opponent. The upper half of this lineup will be very tough once they come into full form. This team could definitely finish in the top five at conferences, which is a tremendous achievement. If they can stay healthy, look out for the Bearcats. They'll have a few weeks off until the Southern Scuffle on New Year's Day in Chattanooga, TN.
The Brown Bears hosted two ranked opponents in #20 Pitt and #25 Michigan State. Winning one bout in each dual, the team was a little outmatched. Justin Bierdumpfel (141lbs) secured the lone win against Pitt, while Drew Clearie (174lbs) had the only win against Michigan State. At 149lbs against Michigan State, Blake Saito had a 6-4 close loss to Peyton Omania. Coach Jordan Leen's first season will have some lumps. He will need some time to build the culture he was hired to do. I am not alone in saying it will be exciting to see this team climb the ranks in the EIWA in the near future. They will be back in action for the Midlands December 29th-30th.
The Bison did not compete this weekend. They are prepping for a busy weekend when they take on Sacred Heart this Friday away. They then have three matches on Sunday at Buffalo against Buffalo, Edinboro and Niagara County CC.
The Lions had a tough, one-point loss to #20 Pitt. They pulled a few upsets to make it interesting, but failed to keep the lead, losing 19-18 in the final bout. The first upset (at least on paper) came at the start of the dual. Nick Babin (125lbs) defeated #30 Camacho. The real turn of events was at 157lbs, where Cesar Alvan was about to give up a tech fall to #21 Dazjon Castro, but ended up getting the fall in an 11-point dual meet swing. The other â€œon-paper upsetâ€ was at 174 lbs. Lennox Wolak beat #33 Augustine 3-2. Wolak is making some noise in this weight class. The Lions remain 0-3 as a team, but losses to #4 Ohio State, #6 Michigan, and #15 Pitt. This schedule is one of the most challenging in the nation, and it is paying dividends. Columbia will be at the Soldier Salute on December 29th and 30th in Iowa.
The Big Red were on a break this weekend. See them in action next weekend at the National Collegiate Duals, when they take on Oregon State, Iowa State, and a match TBD the next day. They will be representing the EIWA, along with Lehigh.
The Dragons were on the road to compete against #11 Wisconsin. They lost the dual 37-3 but saw some good results. Kyle Waterman lost to #19 Taylor Lamont 6-4 at 133lbs, as he's been having steady improvements. At 149lbs, #29 Luke Nichter made a huge splash in his return. He threw #2 Austin Gomez to his back for a quick six-point lead, before getting pinned. Drexel's lone win came at 184lbs, where Brian Bonino earned a 3-1 decision. Another tough BigTen opponent for the Dragons this weekend, after going 0-2 last weekend against the conference. They will travel next week to Purdue to take on Purdue, Campbell, and Utah Valley.
Franklin & Marshall
The Diplomats had another mid-week dual with D3 team Ursinus. F&M won the dual 33-13. Mason Leiphart is now the Division 1 leader in the nation with five tech falls on the season. Aidan O'Shea earned a major decision at 133lbs, while Pat Phillips bumped up to 141lbs and won 4-0. Noah Fox won by decision at 174lbs, while James Conway earned a fall at 184lbs. Next up for F&M is the Wilkes University open, where some of the team will compete. Others will be at the Midlands.
The Crimson were on break this weekend after competing in the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invite. They are back in action at Midlands in a few weeks.
The Pride will be in action again on the 22nd, as they host American to a conference dual.
The Mountain Hawks will be in New Orleans for the Collegiate Duals early next week. They will represent the EIWA and take on #28 Cal Poly and #11 NC State. Their third match is TBD, based on pool results.
The Sharks were competing at Binghamton, dropping the dual 41-6. Two forfeits at 125 and 133lbs added to the result. LIU's 149lbs and 157lbs wrestlers each came away with wins. Drew Witham earned an overtime win over Michael Zarif. At 157lbs, Rise Royster won 4-0. New assistant coach Jesse Dellavecchia was a 157lbs NCAA runner-up, and these middleweights are starting to see results halfway through his first season on staff. LIU is the newest member of the conference. It may be hard to see the improvement at a high level, but digging into results â€“ the improvement is there.
The Midshipmen hosted #23 Maryland to a tight dual. Maryland squeaked by with an 18-15 win over Navy. Navy won 5 matches, all by decision. David Key (184lbs) and Grady Griess (#18 @ 285) each won. At 133lbs, Tyler Hunt followed up with a win â€“ as did #17 Josh Koderhandt at 141lbs. The final win was by Val Park at 165lbs. The difference in the dual was three bonus point wins by Maryland. This Navy squad is right there with this Maryland team. This was an evenly matched dual that came down to the wire. The Midshipmen will be back in action after the new year at the F&M Open.
The Quakers had an impressive performance at home, winning nine of ten bouts over Army. #20 Ryan Miller started it off with a bang at 125lbs , upsetting #10 Ethan Berginc with a third-period takedown. Michael Colaiocco (#12 @ 133lbs) was one of two winners by major decision. Doug Zapf (#10 @ 149lbs) was the other. We saw a last-second takedown by Anthony Artalona (#13 @ 157lbs) to overcome a near upset from #31 Nate Lukez. Lucas Revano at 165lbs and Nick Incontrera (#23 @ 174lbs) took care of business with close wins over quality opponents. This was a great bounce-back win after two losses a week ago. They will be at the Midlands starting 12/29.
The Tigers had their in-state rivalry match with #17 Rutgers, and it was a phenomenal match! The match came down to the total points scored in matches criteria â€“ giving Rutgers the 17-16 victory. #2 at 125lbs, Patrick Glory, was back from injury to beat Dean Peterson, 4-1. Top-ranked Quincy Monday earned a major decision at 157lbs. Blaine Bergey (165lbs) and Luke Stout (#16 @ 197lbs) earned decisions. The upset of the week, however, was Danny Coles at 141 lbs. He upset eighth-ranked Sammy Alvarez to help swing momentum back to the Tigers. This has been Coles' most impressive win thus far in his young career. The Tigers are right there with 17th-ranked Rutgers. We will see them make noise come postseason, as usual. They will also be competing at Midlands in their next competition.
The Pioneers were not in action this weekend. We will see them this coming weekend when they host both Bucknell and American in some EIWA competition.