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Sunday, Feb. 25, 2024
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wrestling v davidson

Wrestling dominates Wildcats

Eagles find the start of something new in winning streak

The American University wrestling team (4-3) defeated the Davidson Wildcats (0-3) by an overall score of 31-7. The Eagles were all in as they won eight of the 10 bouts in their most dominant win of the season so far. The win secured American’s first home winning streak since January 2020.

The dual began with the 125-pound bout where junior Shamil Kalmatov faced off against Davidson’s Enis Ljikovic while #12 Jack Maida rested. Neither earned any points in the first period and Ljikovic received a warning from the officials. Kalmatov chose to start the second period in the down position and broke free to earn the escape and the first point of the bout. He followed that up with a 3-point takedown and riding time to earn a 5-0 win for himself and 3 points for American.

Next up was the 133-pound bout for junior Maximilian Leete and Hale Robinson of Davidson. After a calm first bout, Leete and Robinson wasted no time getting their heads in the game. Robinson flipped Leete out of the circle and onto the edge of the mat, but Leete got back on top and earned a 3-point takedown. Robinson took the neutral position, and Leete followed up with another 3-point takedown. Later in the bout, Leete took the down position and escaped to earn another point. Leete claimed a 9-0 win and a four-point major decision for the team. 

In his first bout of the season, thanks to an injury, sophomore 141-pounder Raymond Lopez faced off against Josh Viarengo. Lopez earned a 3-point takedown early on and simply kept racking up points. He already led 7-0 after just one period, but wanted it all. Lopez tacked on more takedowns and won the match by technical fall in 5:23 by a score of 17-1. Lopez’s win brought the overall match score to 12-0.

Redshirt junior 149-pounder Ethan Szerencsits followed up three dominant Eagle wins with a very close bout against Tyler-Xavier McKnight. McKnight had picked up Szerencsits early in the bout, but the Eagle would not give in. The Wildcat earned a 3-point takedown to go up 3-0. Szerencsits chose the down position and escaped to get his first point. Then, right at the buzzer, Szerencsits earned a 3-point takedown to go up 4-3 and chose the down position and earned an escape yet again. 

McKnight would not go down without a fight and got another takedown after Szerencsits had chipped away at his riding time a bit. Szerencsits chose the down position late in the bout but could not escape and the two finished regulation tied at 8-8. McKnight earned an 11-8 in sudden victory overtime, to bring the overall score to 12-3.

In the fifth bout of the night, redshirt junior 157-pounder Jack Nies took on Tanner Peake. The two New Jerseyans came together to create an exciting matchup. Nies led 3-1 early, but Peake came back to lead 5-4 late in the bout. Nies tied it up at 5-5 at the end of regulation and the two were off to overtime. The crowd in Bender Arena was energized and cheered on the wrestlers as they moved on to sudden victory. They were still tied after sudden victory and went to a ride-out where Nies took down Peake and won the bout, 9-6.

Then came the 165-pound bout for junior Breon Phifer and Davidson’s Bryce Sanderlin. Sanderlin earned an early 3-point takedown and Phifer earned an escape later, but it would not be enough to claw back, and Sanderlin won the bout 6-1. This brought the team score to 15-7 in American’s favor but within striking distance for Davidson.

Redshirt sophomore 174-pounder Lucas White took this moment to move closer to an American victory against Marc Koch. After the first period, the two were locked at 0-0. White earned a 2-point reversal and then followed that up with a 4-point near fall. He shut Koch out en route to a 6-0 win and added 3 points to his team’s total.

Graduate student Connor Bourne tacked onto White’s success and earned another shutout in the 184-pound bout against Wyatt Ferguson. Bourne earned a 3-point takedown early and allowed no points from Ferguson en route to his 4-0 decision. At this point, even if Davidson earned 6-point pins in the next two bouts, a win would not be possible for their team.

This did not affect junior 197-pounder Carsten Rawls in his bout with Cameo Blankenship. Blankenship remained close to Rawls for the first two periods, but Rawls leapt ahead in the third with 5 points in just that period. At one point, he slammed Blankenship to the mat with an audible thud and won with a major decision of 9-0.

Now in the final bout of the match, graduate student heavyweight Will Jarrell made it truly a  night to remember against Jake Fernicola. Jarrell won by fall and pinned Fernicola in 2:58 — his fourth of the season.

“The tricky part here is that it's not just the time, the kids go into finals mode and when you're when you're locked in academically, oftentimes the stress of that, you know, just compounds with the, all the other stresses of being a student athlete,” head coach Jason Borrelli said. “And we'll take their final schedules into account and we'll adjust our training accordingly. But I think the big thing for us is to still continue to train. Can't take time off even though we've got a lot academically on the plate.”

The Eagles return to Bender Arena on Dec. 21 at 7 p.m. to take on the Navy Midshipmen for their first EIWA match of the season.

This article was edited by Delaney Hoke and Abigail Pritchard. Copy editing done by Isabelle Kravis and Luna Jinks.

sports@theeagleonline.com


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