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Kutler's pin sparks late run as Lehigh downs Army West Point

WEST ORANGE, N.J. -- On a special night for the Army West Point wrestling program, Lehigh was locked in a battle. A second period pin from senior Jordan Kutler helped turn the tide in the Mountain Hawks' favor. Kutler's fall over Ben Harvey broke a 9-9 tie and sparked a four-bout Lehigh run to close the dual as the 12th-ranked Mountain Hawks took down the No. 19 Black Knight 24-9 at West Orange High School's Tarnoff Gymnasium.

Army West Point moved its Senior Night dual to West Orange in memory of cadet-wrestler C.J. Morgan, who passed away last summer.

Lehigh was tested often by the Black Knights, who split the first six bouts before Kutler's second fall of the season propelled the Mountain Hawks (9-3, 5-1 EIWA) to their eighth consecutive dual win.

"Early on, Army came out with a lot of intensity and I don't think our guys understood," Lehigh head coach Pat Santoro said. "West Orange did a great job putting this together. Army is a well-coached team. They have good wrestlers. We knew it would be a battle. They came out fighting, but our second half guys really stepped up. They saw what was happening and made the adjustments."

Kutler took on Harvey in a top-15 matchup at 174. Kutler led 3-1 in the second period on the strength of a first period takedown, when he got in on a single leg shot late in the frame, put Harvey in danger and secured the fall at the 4:54 mark.

"The fall was huge," Santoro said. "We didn't expect it, since Harvey is a really good wrestler. It was a tight match but Jordan hit a beautiful single and put him on his back. It was nice."

Junior Chris Weiler rode the momentum from Kutler's win to his third win over a higher-ranked opponent this month. Weiler scored a first period takedown and second period reversal and used strong work on top to build a 4-0 lead on Noah Stewart at 184. He gave up two penalty points for stalling in the third period, but secured a late reversal and added riding time to win 7-2 and give the Mountain Hawks an 18-9 lead with two bouts remaining.

Junior Jake Jakobsen clinched the dual for the Brown and White with a 4-1 decision at 197. Jakobsen rode out the second period and scored an escape and takedown in the third plus riding time to secure the victory.

At heavyweight, junior Jordan Wood capped the four bout run with a 4-0 decision over Ben Sullivan. Wood scored a takedown in the final seconds of the first period, rode out the second and escaped in the third.

"Chris went out and did a great job," Santoro said. "He's getting better every week. It has been really fun watching him. He can beat you in a lot of different ways now. Jake followed him up wrestling a really tough kid and then Jordan finished up strong. It was a good finish."

The dual began at 125 where fifth-ranked junior Brandon Paetzell got Lehigh off to a fast start with a 6-3 decision over Trey Chalifoux. After a scoreless first period, Paetzell scored an escape and takedown in the second, and added a takedown and riding time in the final stanza.

"He's an incredible worker and he keeps trying to learn every day," Santoro said of Paetzell. "He's trying to get better. Trying to add things to his offense. He has done a great job."

Army West Point (8-3, 2-1 EIWA) won close decisions in the next two bouts to go up 6-3 after three bouts. At 133, Nick Farro took the better shots, but Andrew Wert scored off his first shot for a key early takedown and then rode out the second. Two escapes plus riding time advantage offset a third period takedown as time ran out on Farro's last second takedown attempt as Wert prevailed 5-3.

Senior Ryan Pomrinca faced off against another Army reserve as Logan Brown stepped in for Corey Shie at 141. Pomrinca scored the first takedown, but Brown secured the next two to lead 6-5 late. Pomrinca got in on a shot late and was awarded the winning takedown as time expired, but after the two officials conferred, they wiped away the takedown, saying Pomrinca did not have control, and Brown held on for a 6-5 win.

In his first action in a month, sophomore Jimmy Hoffman gutted out a 6-5 tiebreaker victory over P.J Ogunsanya at 149 to tie the dual at 6-6. Hoffman scored the only points of the first period on an escape following an injury timeout. An escape and takedown gave Hoffman a 4-1 lead after two, but Ogunsanya picked up a stalling point and an escape before scoring a takedown of his own in the third, with a Hoffman escape sending the match to sudden victory tied 5-5. Following a scoreless sudden victory period, Hoffman escaped eight seconds into the first half of the tiebreaker, then rode out the second half to win 6-5.

"That was two wounded guys out there," Santoro said. "Jimmy had been off for a month. He really just got back this week. He was tired but he was working hard. That was just two warriors leaving it all out there."

Sophomore Josh Humphreys put the Mountain Hawks up 9-6 at intermission with a 3-0 decision over Lucas Weiland at 157. Humphreys scored a first period takedown and escaped late in the third.

Army tied the dual at 9-9 in the first bout after intermission as Cael McCormick won a 7-3 decision over freshman Brian Meyer at 165.

The Mountain Hawks will be off from competition next weekend and will return to action on Friday Feb. 14 when they visit Bucknell for a 7 p.m. match.

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

Results:
125 - Brandon Paetzell (Lehigh) dec. Trey Chalifoux (Army) 6-3
133 - Andrew Wert (Army) dec. Nick Farro (Lehigh) 5-3
141 - Logan Brown (Army) dec. Ryan Pomrinca (Lehigh) 6-5
149 - Jimmy Hoffman (Lehigh) dec. P.J. Ogunsanya (Army) 6-5, tb
157 - Josh Humphreys (Lehigh) dec. Lucas Weiland (Army) 3-0
165 - Cael McCormick (Army) dec. Brian Meyer (Lehigh) 7-3
174 - Jordan Kutler (Lehigh) Fall Ben Harvey (Army) 4:54
184 - Chris Weiler (Lehigh) dec. Noah Stewart (Army) 7-2
197 - Jake Jakobsen (Lehigh) dec. Alex Hopkins (Army) 4-1
285 - Jordan Wood (Lehigh) dec. Ben Sullivan (Army) 4-0

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