The College’s wrestling team opened 2012 by competing in a pair of tough tournaments, winning five of eight dual meets at the North/South Duals and Whitehill Duals while facing quality opposition and a plague of injuries.
“Coming back from the New Year’s break we’ve gotten off to an OK start,” head coach Joe Galante said. “Seven wins is a pretty good reflection of how we’ve been competing.”
The 27th-ranked Lions (7-4) first took two of three at the North/South Duals on Jan. 7, winning a dramatic 21-18 contest with United States Merchant Marine Army before splitting a pair of matches with No. 19 Messiah College and University of Scranton.
The Lions clinched the victory against USMMA in the last round, when Trevor Salvatore (285) won by decision to break an 18-18 tie after successful bouts by Joey DiCarlo (125), Dan Herr (135), John Palsi (141) and No. 7 John Darling (157).
Against Messiah, two early injury default losses by regular contributors Herr and Brian Bollette (141) extended the Lions’ deficit to 15-0 in an eventual 31-10 loss, with wins coming from Darling and Salvatore. The Lions rebounded by pounding Scranton 42-6 in their final meet of the tournament.
The College then went 3-2 at last week’s 24th-annual Budd Whitehill Duals, beating John Carroll University, Trine University and Williams College with a combined score of 85-40 but bowing out of the tournament early with losses to No. 25 University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point and No. 9 York College.
Highlights of the Whitehills Duals include Herr pinning No. 2 Chris Albright of York College in 1:37, P.J. Schmidt (125) winning all five of his bouts, and No. 1 Mike Denver (184) going 4-0.
The 29-16 loss to York College reflected the Lions’ injury woes, though, with two more key injury default losses bloating York’s advantage 13-point advantage by 12 points.
“It’s been difficult with our injuries,” Galante said, “(and with a crowded schedule) the recovery process is definitely strained.”
The Lions expect to overcome adversity in the coming weeks, including Saturday’s trip to the Messiah College Open, to achieve their season goals and remain a conference powerhouse.
“This is when the tough get going,” Galante said. “All these guys are starting to realize they can compete with the best in the country and can beat them … as the season goes on and we recover from our injuries, I think we’ll continue to improve.”