Lehigh's Jordan Wood reached the semifinals at heavyweight (Photo/Juan Garcia)
BETHLEHEM, Pa. -- The 2020 EIWA Championships were expected to feature a wide open team race. With nine place winners and seven semifinalists, two-time defending champion Lehigh holds a 14 point lead after Friday's marathon first day at Stabler Arena. The Mountain Hawks went 9-1 in Friday's morning session, with eight bonus wins and then went 10-3 in the evening with six more bonus wins.
Lehigh finished day one with 87.5 points. Army West Point is second with 73.5, while Cornell is third with 68.5. All three teams placed nine wrestlers on the podium, but Lehigh has the most semifinalists. Navy sits in fourth with 61.5 points and Princeton is fifth with 56.
The Mountain Hawks scored 22 points in the morning session including 13 bonus points. Lehigh closed out session one with four consecutive falls from senior Jordan Kutler at 174, and juniors Chris Weiler (184), Jake Jakobsen (197) and Jordan Wood (285).
"We always know that the first session is tough, but it can pay dividends later," Lehigh head coach Pat Santoro said. "We'll see if it pays off tomorrow, but it was nice to open with all those bonus points."
The evening session began with a surprising loss by fall for second-seeded junior Brandon Paetzell against Columbia's Joe Manchio at 125, but junior Nick Farro brought momentum back on the Mountain Hawks' side with a late fall against Army's Andrew Wert. Farro led 4-2 with riding time locked up late in the third period when he tossed Wert to his back and picked up the fall as time expired. The victory avenged a loss to Wert in the dual meet with Army in late January. Next up for Farro is second seeded Zack Trampe of Binghamton.
"We lost that tough match at 125, however Nick got the crowd back into it," Santoro said. "Going into a tournament like this you're going to have different heroes and tonight it was Nick."
After winning his opening bout via tiebreaker, senior Ryan Pomrinca pushed through to the semifinals, scoring a takedown with 16 seconds remaining and riding out to knock off No. 2 seed Doug Zapf of Penn 4-3. Pomrinca will next face No. 3 Matt Kazimir of Columbia in Saturday morning's semifinals.
"I'm really happy for Ryan," Santoro said. "He's battling and fighting. He won in two barnburners. He has a kid tomorrow that he lost to earlier in the year, so he's going to look to get that one back."
Sophomore Jimmy Hoffman became Lehigh's third semifinalist after a 2-1 decision over Army's P.J. Ogunsanya at 149. The wrestlers traded escapes in the second and third periods, but not before Hoffman built up riding time advantage in the third. Hoffman will now face Hunter Richard of Cornell in the semifinals.
At 157, sophomore Josh Humphreys posted his second straight major decision, downing Harvard's Hunter Ladnier to return to the semifinals for the second straight year. The defending champion at 157, Humphreys will next face Markus Hartman of Army Saturday morning.
1. Lehigh 87.5
2. Army West Point 73.5
3. Cornell 68.5
4. Navy 61.5
5. Princeton 56.0
6. Binghamton 45.5
7. Bucknell 40.0
8t. Pennsylvania 39.0
8t. American 39.0
10. Hofstra 33.0
11. Drexel 32.5
12. Columbia 32.5
13. Harvard 31.5
14. Brown 10.5
15. Long Island U. 9.5
16. Franklin & Marshall 6.0
17. Sacred Heart 5.5