Lions roar en route to postseason, dethrone Royals

When the College’s latest opponent helplessly forfeited their first match of the day, they had the right idea.

The unchallenged Lions spearheaded a coup d’état against the Royals of the University of Scranton, using brute strength and superior finesse to control each weight class. The College gained its final victory of the season with ease as they shut out Scranton by a score of 54-0 on Saturday, their second win on the day.

Although a flawless victory such as this would give many lesser teams a large boost, the 16-1-1 Lions find that obliterating a minor opponent is less than satisfying.

“They are in our conference and it’s a match we had to wrestle but it’s not the most enjoyable thing in the world,” head coach David Icenhower said.

Due to the fact that this was the College’s final regular-season dual meet, Icenhower will remain stranded at 499 wins, just short of 500. The milestone which only three other Division III coaches have acheived will have to wait until next season.

“As great as it would of been to be part of winning 500 this year while I was still on the team, I still know that my team and I helped contribute to this great milestone,” senior Greg Osgoodby said. “It has been an honor to wrestle for coach Ice for all four years.”

Following Scranton’s forfeit at 125 pounds, the Lions physical dominance began to manifest itself in sophomore Dan Hughes, who took the win via technical fall at 133 pounds with a score of 20-4. It only got worse for the Royals when Lions junior Tyler Branham pinned his opponent in 0:23 at 149 pounds.

The final five matches for the College were equally dominant as the Lions showed no signs of mercy against their unranked foe. Stellar seniors John Dinan and Osgoodby recorded back-to-back technical falls at the 165 and 174 pound weight classes while freshman Scott Kelley as well as sophomores Adam Koziol and Ed Broderick each pinned their adversaries to seal the deal for the Lions.

Earlier in the day, the College bested Oswego State University 29-10 on the strength of six consecutive victories. The No. 18 Lions were challenged early by the Lakers, as junior Danny Franke and senior Bill Tenpenny both fell and the squad dropped two of their first three matches.

Branham boosted the team with a 7-3 victory and like clockwork, five more wins followed. Sophomore Joe Falco scored a 12-4 major decision win at 157 pounds for the Lions and junior Justin Bonitatis followed suit with 16-5 major decision victory at 165 pounds. Osgoodby, Kelley and Dinan each earned victories to secure the win for the Lions.

The College had five dual winners on the day – Falco, Branham, Osgoodby, Kelley and Dinan – but now all eyes of the blue and gold grapplers turn to the Metropolitan Championships which will be held on Feb. 22 in York, Pa.

To prepare for this team tournament, the Lions will begin two-a-day practices on Tuesday following their two-day layoff after Saturday’s matches. “We will then go real hard on Friday, Saturday and Sunday,” Icenhower said.

Beyond the prestige of winning a conference tournament, the Mets have significantly strong undertones for the Lions and all other teams involved as they decide who will be representing their schools in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, for the NCAA Division III Championships beginning on Mar. 6.

Bobby Olivier can be reached at olivier6@tcnj.edu.