Wrestlers hit mat hard in duals
Eagles fall 0-3 at Bender, look to weekend matches to redeem season morale, record
AU Wrestling was only able to muster four non-forfeit victories in three meets Saturday, as it lost to Navy, Eastern Michigan and North Carolina in a dual meet in Bender Arena.
Graduate student Daniel Waters and senior Jared Hyman were the only Eagles to win matches on the day, each taking two.
The Eagles got off to a tough start against Navy in the first match of the day, losing two falls and one technical fall in the first three battles. After forfeiting both the 157-lb. and 174-lb. classes, AU was down 34-0 on the scoreboard before Waters defeated Midshipman Jon Kane by a 10-6 decision.
Waters, competing in the 184-lb. weight class, overcame a shoulder injury that forced him to call an injury timeout early in the match. Hyman added a victory in the heavyweight class, a 7-3 decision over Andrew Adams.
AU got a boost to start the match with Eastern Michigan, as senior Matt Pelligrino was given a forfeit victory in the 125-lb. class. However, the Eagles were unable to capitalize, losing two falls and two technical falls, which gave Eastern Michigan a 31-6 lead.
Once again, Waters and Hyman provided the bright spots for AU. Waters, No. 28 in the NCAA rankings, defeated No. 27 Ed Magrys in a 5-3 decision. Hyman provided the Eagles with their only pinfall of the day, beating EMU's Tim Breyer to bring the final score to 37-15.
The Eagles ended the day on a down note, getting shut out by North Carolina. Once again, the lower weight classes were unable to put points on the board. Freshman Dwayne Hash-Barberis brought Tar Heel Garrett Atkinson to overtime in the 165-lb. class, but Atkinson scored with a reversal to win 6-4. Waters and Hyman also suffered close losses to the Tar Heels, decisions by scores of 6-5 and 10-7, respectively.
Despite the losses, head coach Mark Cody said the team will gain some positives from the day.
"We really beefed up the schedule this year, and scheduled harder teams like today's opponents for the guys to individually gain confidence and to see how hard competition is at this level," Cody said. "We're in a very tough conference, one that produces a lot of All-Americans. The guys need to see what's needed to succeed in the conference tournament."
Regarding this Friday's meet with Franklin & Marshall and the dual meet in North Carolina two days after, Cody said he expects a better performance.
"The teams we're facing next week are struggling," Cody said. "We're hoping it can be a confidence builder for us."
"It's definitely a step in the right direction for me," Hyman said of his performance on the day. "I've had some disappointing outcomes recently, but things are starting to look up."
Sophomore Tom Kniezewski, who lost three decisions by scores of 11-5, 7-1 and 8-1, said, "We've been beaten like this before. We just have to keep our heads up and keep battling."
Looking ahead to the next meet on Friday, Kniezewski said, "We're going to have to work. We've got a lot to work on."
Hyman agreed, saying, "We've got a good week of practice coming up. The team does well when we go hard out there. We should be a lot better on Friday."
The Eagles wrestle Franklin & Marshall Friday in Bender Arena at 7:30 p.m. They travel to Davidson College in Chapel Hill, N.C. on Sunday for a dual meet, before coming back home Monday to wrestle George Mason in Bender.