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Lehigh kicks off season with wrestle-offs at Grace Hall

BETHLEHEM, Pa. -- The Lehigh wrestling team kicked off the 2019-20 season with the annual Brown and White Wrestle-offs Thursday inside Leeman-Turner Arena at Grace Hall. A crowd of just under 1,200 was treated to 11 bouts, many of which were decided in the third period or beyond. Four members of Lehigh's true freshman class also competed on the mat in Grace Hall for the first time.

"I was happy to see guys out competing," Lehigh head coach Pat Santoro said. "It had been a long time since last March, so to see the guys back on the mats, it's always a fun part of the year."

Senior Chase Gallik had the busiest night of all Lehigh wrestlers, competing twice in the opening and closing bouts of the night at 165. In his first match, Gallik took on deferred freshman Brian Meyer, who scored a takedown in the final five seconds to rally for a 5-4 decision. Gallik then closed the night against true freshman Edmond Ruth, with the first-year Mountain Hawk scoring two first period takedowns and two more in the third to win 9-5.

At 125, junior Brandon Paetzell rode a fast start to defeat sophomore Luke Resnick 6-2. Paetzell scored two first period takedowns and added a third period escape plus 1:14 of riding time advantage.

Both bouts at 133 featured their fair shares of excitement. The first bout matched sophomore Kent Lane against junior Joe Lobeck, with Lobeck racing to a 4-1 lead after one period. Lane rallied in the third, scoring a takedown and two-point near fall to get to 5-5 and then adding one more takedown late for a 7-6 decision. In the other bout, freshman Connor McGonagle and Nick Farro were 2-2 through regulation, with Farro scoring the only takedown. Farro rode out the first half of the first tiebreaker, then was awarded a stalling point and an escape in the second half of the tiebreaker to win 4-3.

Fifth-year senior Ryan Pomrinca met true freshman Malyke Hines at 141. Another exciting bout saw Hines in on several quality shots early but unable to finish. A second period reversal put Hines up 2-1 after two, but Pomrinca scored a takedown in the third and with a trading of escapes plus a stalling point for Hines, the match went to sudden victory tied 4-4. With 19 seconds remaining in sudden victory, Pomrinca scored a takedown to win 6-4.

Sophomore Jimmy Hoffman met junior Luke Karam at 149 with Hoffman getting the upper hand 5-2 behind a late second period takedown, a third period takedown and a 1:25 riding time advantage.

EIWA champion Josh Humphreys delivered the first bonus point win of the night with a 9-0 major decision over freshman A.J. Burkhart at 157. Humphreys scored a first period takedown, reversed early in the second and added another takedown plus two point near fall in the third, while accumulating more than five minutes of advantage time.

Another bout at 165 matched freshman Luca Frinzi and junior Trey Cornish. It was Cornish winning the takedown battle 2-1, but after Cornish chose neutral in the third, Frinzi's escape after Cornish's second takedown gave the freshman a 5-4 victory.

"The freshmen wrestled well tonight," Santoro noted. "A few of them wrestled some seniors. In this atmosphere they competed really well. They won a few. There were some competitive overtime matches as well.

"We saw a lot of good things from our veteran wrestlers as well," Santoro continued. "There were positives in just about every match."

The second bonus win of the night belonged to junior Chris Weiler, who won a 17-2 technical fall over sophomore Eli Grape at 184. Weiler led 4-2 after one period, added a takedown and four point near fall in the second and then closed things out at the 5:55 mark following an escape, takedown and four point near fall in the third.

At 197, freshman Elijah Jones scored takedowns in each of the first two periods to defeat junior Andrew McDonald 6-0.

The Mountain Hawks will send a contingent of wrestlers to the Nov. 3 Princeton Open and the Nov. 10 Journeymen Collegiate Classic before opening the dual meet season at home against Oklahoma State at Stabler Arena on Saturday, Nov. 16 at 1 p.m. Tickets for that dual and all Lehigh home duals can be purchased at Lehigh.

"We have two tournaments that will help decide our lineup for Oklahoma State," Santoro said. "Tonight was just another step. We have the Princeton Open next week and will be really important to see how we do there. Then we'll go to the Journeymen and wrestle in a tournament there. Hopefully after those tournaments we'll have our lineup for the first couple of matches and we'll see how it goes as the season moves on."

The 2019-20 Lehigh wrestling season is presented by the Historic Hotel Bethlehem.

Results:
165 - Brian Meyer dec. Chase Gallik 5-4
125 - Brandon Paetzell dec. Luke Resnick 6-2
133 - Jaret Lane dec. Joe Lobeck 7-6
133 - Nick Farro dec. Connor McGonagle 4-3, tb
141 - Ryan Pomrinca dec. Malyke Hines 6-4, sv
149 - Jimmy Hoffman dec. Luke Karam 5-2
157 - Josh Humphreys major dec. A.J. Burkhart 9-0
165 - Luca Frinzi dec. Trey Cornish 5-4
184 - Chris Weiler tech. fall Eli Grape 17-2, 5:55
197 - Elijah Jones dec. Andrew McDonald 6-0
165 - Edmond Ruth dec. Chase Gallik 9-5
Attendance -1,181
Official - Jesse Rawls Jr.

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