Wrestling pins Wagner 30-12

The AU Wrestling team seized its first team-win of the season at Bender Arena on Monday night, dominating Wagner throughout in a 30-12 victory.

Behind fall wins (the wrestling term for a pin) from sophomore Tom Kniezewski (157 lbs.) and senior Jared Hyman (275 lbs.), and a technical fall win from sophomore Daniel Waters (184 lbs.), the Eagles won seven-of-10 weight classes on the night, with one of two losses coming via forfeit. Both teams forfeited the 149-lbs.-weight class.

Despite partially or fully participating in 11 competitions this year, according to aueagles.com, the win moves the Eagles to 1-4 in their fifth team-scored meet.

"They obviously believed in themselves tonight," said AU head coach Matt Cody. "We wrestled a team we felt was a lesser opponent. We've lost to guys as good as them before, but today we came in believing in ourselves."

Kniezewski worked the quickest of any wrestler in the second Eagles home meet, despite competing above his normal 149-lbs. class, defeating Wagner's Dan Gollin in 2:51 after gaining a commanding 6-1 edge. Kniezewski, who perhaps was aided by home fans' support, pushed his individual record to 17-9 with the win.

"It felt good, obviously," Kniezewski said afterward. "Especially because we had a decent crowd. Our first home meet was over winter break so no one was really here."

Later, Waters surged to a 19-3 technical fall, the equivalent of boxing's technical knockout, taking down Wagner's Alan Moncayo early and often. Moncayo sustained an apparent neck or back injury late in the bout, at 16-3, but continued after receiving medical attention until another Waters take-down put the point margin above 15, ending the match.

Waters, a graduate student and the oldest member of the squad at 27, secured his 26th win of the season, keeping him in third place on the NCAA Div. I win-leaders list at 185 lbs.

AU junior Adam Montgomery (197 lbs.) won the most exciting match of the night in a 7-5 overtime victory over Evan Weber-Junot. Montgomery led 5-3 for almost the entire final period, but suffered a take-down mere seconds before the end of regulation, which tied the score. Montgomery won on a take-down that came before the end of the one-minute overtime period. The win was Montgomery's first in a dual meet, and moves him up to 4-18 in a year where he's mostly wrestled well above his natural weight.

"This summer he told me that he'd wrestle wherever we needed him," Cody said. "I said that we probably had a hole at 197 [lbs.]. He moved up two whole weight classes just for the team. His single leg is as good as anyone's in the country."

Hyman closed the night by seizing a third-period fall over John Cichon at 6:24 through the seven-minute match. Hyman led 12-4 at the fall in a match whose early phases consisted of Hyman take-downs and Cichon escapes before Hyman gained more control.

In other AU wins, freshman Dwayne Hash-Barberis (165 lbs.) registered his first win in three tries after yielding his red-shirt, defeating Matthew Hartigan 17-7. Meanwhile, senior Matt Pellegrino (125 lbs.) defeated Mike Rooney 9-6, and sophomore Daniel Lobsenz (141 lbs.) won 8-3 over Justin Ensign.

Mike Tutunjian (133 lbs.) secured Wagner's only win on the mat, falling AU sophomore Eric Levine at 3:28.

AU will wrestle three consecutive dual meets on Saturday at Bender Arena, competing first against Eastern Michigan, then Navy and North Carolina, at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. respectively. The crowded weekend, according to Cody, will be to his growing program's benefit.

"It will be good for us," he said. "We'll have some big matches on Saturday. With North Carolina from the ACC and Eastern Michigan from the Mid-American Conference, we don't usually get to see them. And it's good to have Navy here for seeding in our conference"

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