By Miguel Gonzalez
The wrestling team was one of busiest teams at the College during winter break.
The Lions achieved their 700th program victory in dual meet play, finished eighth place at the Budd Whitehill Duals and won against the United States Merchant Marine Academy and the College of Mount Saint Vincent, while conceding losses to Centenary and New York universities.
The Lions traveled to Fort Wayne, Ind., on Jan. 5 to compete in the NWCA Duals meet.
The Lions ultimately placed ninth out of 22 teams after dropping a dual to Baldwin Wallace University on Jan. 6.
The Lions first lost to the Concordia-Wisconsin University Falcons, 15-22.
After the loss, the Lions followed up with two consecutive victories against Springfield College, 22-18, and Concordia-Moorhead College, 23-18.
Erwin won three consecutive matches during the meet. His performance garnered the College’s “Athlete of the Week” honor for the week of Jan. 9.
The celebration was short-lived when the Baldwin Wallace University Yellow Jackets defeated the Lions, 28-10.
The Lions fell behind early when freshman Dan Ortega was pinned down by Yellow Jackets junior Chris Doyle at the 125-pound matchup. After three matches, junior Luke Balina grabbed the Lions their first lead, 10-9, with a major decision victory against the Yellow Jackets sophomore Richard Burke.
Afterwards, the Yellow Jackets overwhelmed the Lions as they won the next five matches.
The week of Jan. 13, the Lions trekked to Williamsport, Pa., to compete in the Budd Whitehill Duals at Lycoming College. The Lions faced a similar result, finishing eighth out of 16 teams.
The Lions started 2-1, defeating Thiel College 35-16 and the Rochester Institute of Technology 20-13 while conceding a close loss against the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, 21-20.
The following day, the Lions endured two tough losses to the Ohio Northern University Polar Bears, 33-12 and the Millikin University Big Blue, 30-16.
Senior Nick Herring, senior Sigala Fosam and Erwin won their matches, while the Polar Bears stomped on the Lions for the remaining ten matches.
The Lions then fell into a 16-0 deficit against the Big Blue. Sophomore JT Beirne gained the Lions first points, beating Big Blue sophomore Cooper Collings. Junior Kellen Whitney, freshman Dan Kilroy and senior Pat Schinder were able to pick up victories, but the deficit was too much to overcome.
On Jan. 17, the Lions defeated the United States Merchant Marine Academy, 32-10 at home. Afterwards, the Lions endured consecutive losses against Centenary University, 28-13 and New York University, 21-17. The Lions had to forfeit in two weight classes because of injuries against New York University.
“We’ll been hampered with injuries this season,” head coach Joe Galante said. “Yet our team is still competing hard. Our team captains are setting the example for underclassmen.”
Afterwards, the Lions were able to cruise through the College of Mount Saint Vincent Dolphins 40-13, as the Dolphins forfeited five matches.
“Getting healthy and creating a family atmosphere within the team is the priority right now,” Galante said. “It’s the team mentality that will make us successful for the rest of the season.”
On Saturday, Jan. 28, the College will the hosting the annual New England Wrestling Association/Metro Dual meet at noon. The Lions will be competing against Williams College, Centenary College, Roger Williams University, City of New York-Hunter College and Bridgewater State University. The following day, the Lions will battle the Springfield College Pride at noon in Packer Hall.