Wrestling smothered in meets
Eagles hit mat, look onward
Wrestling grappled valiantly during Sunday's match, when it traveled to North Carolina for the Davidson College Duals.
During the first meet of the day, against Davidson, the team suffered a tough 25-24 loss.
Despite five wins for AU, the Eagles fell hard. Sophomore Tom Kniezewski and freshman Dwayne Hash-Barberis both won by a decision, while junior Adam Montgomery won by a decision in overtime. Graduate student Dan Waters won by a technical fall, which is also known as a pin. Finally, senior heavyweight Jared Hyman won by a fall in 10 seconds.
Junior Matt Pelligrino and sophomore Dan Lobsenz lost by a major decision and decision, respectively. Sophomore Erick Levine lost by a fall.
Then, AU faced Gardner Webb University in the second meet losing 23-8.
Waters and Hyman were the only wrestlers to post a win for the Eagles, by a technical fall and a decision, respectively.
Gardner Webb proved to be the stronger and quicker team, defeating Pelligrino, Lobsenz, Kniezewski, Montgomery and Levine by a fall.
Hash-Barberis forfeited when he suffered a concussion during his match.
Despite a strong performance on Friday night at Bender Arena, led by Hyman, AU Wrestling lost to Franklin and Marshall, 31-16. The loss was partially due to AU forfeits in the 157-lb. and 174-lb. weight classes.
Head coach Mark Cody was happy with his team's performance despite the final score.
"Giving up two forfeits, there aren't many teams in Div. I that we can beat," he said. "I feel like they wrestled better than they have all year as a whole. They went out and attacked."
Hyman finished the meet on an up note for the team, dismantling Franklin and Marshall's Shawn Coughlin en route to a pinfall victory in under two minutes. Cody was very pleased with Hyman's victory.
"He looked like he was possessed out there," Cody said.
Also winning for the Eagles was Daniel Waters, the No. 6 ranked wrestler in the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association in the 184-lb. class. He defeated Ben Evans 16-5. Waters dominated throughout and finished strongly, scoring takedowns in the final seconds of each period.
Due to injuries, Waters had been resting in practice this week, which enabled him to come out fresher and more aggressive.
"He wrestles hard every time out and he fought hard tonight," Cody said about Waters.
Pelligrino started the night off with a climactic victory over Trent Dixon in the 125-lb. match. Down 3-2 in points, Pelligrino fought his way out of a cross-face, and banked three points with a tremendous escape-takedown combination as time expired in the second period. Pelligrino also scored a four-point near-fall in the final period, en route to winning by a score of 10-7.
Afterward, Pelligrino was happy with his performance.
"I stayed after him, and I didn't quit," he said. "If you leave everything out on the mat, then win or lose, you can be proud of yourself."
Cody agreed, saying of Pelligrino's match, "He came off the mat and he was exhausted from working so hard. That's the feeling he's got to have every time he comes off the mat."
Also winning for AU was Kniezewski, who picked up three points for a 10-3 victory over Matt McConnell. Kniezewski bounced back nicely from a disappointing performance last week, and spent more time attacking than previously. He attributed his inspired match to an easier week at practice.
"I took it easy in practice this week and was able to recover a bit," Kniezewski said.
Cody took the blame for Kniezewski's bad showing last weekend, saying he worked him too hard in practice before.
"He works hard every day in the wrestling room, from the beginning of practice until the end," Cody said. "I have to gear him differently than I do the rest of the team, because he works so hard."
Despite the loss, the Eagles are looking forward to the championship tournaments. They have two more meets this week, and then are off until the E.I.W.A. championships, which start March 3.
Waters is optimistic about his chances in the 184-lb. weight class.
"I have a good chance of winning the whole thing," he said. "The matches are probably going to be real close; whoever gets the first takedown is probably going to win. I think I definitely have a chance, as long as I wrestle smart."
Pelligrino also believes he will do well in the E.I.W.A. tournament.
"When I wrestle aggressively, when I wrestle strong on my feet, I can wrestle anyone in the country, and I believe that's true," he said.