By Maximillian C. Burgos
The wrestling team had a bittersweet weekend, devastating Delaware Valley University on Friday, Feb. 9, with a final score of 33-5. The next day, the Lions travelled to Grantham, Pennsylvania to face Messiah College, who narrowly defeated the College by just two points.
The Lions, ranked No. 19 nationally, managed to win eight out of the 10 bouts against Delaware Valley, ultimately securing the win. Sophomore Dan Ortega got the Lions off to a quick start at the 125-pound bout by pinning his opponent in less than two minutes. Senior James Goldschmidt continued the momentum by winning his match 8-3 at the 133-pound bout.
After dropping a match at 141, the Lions rebounded with a major decision win at 149 by junior Eric Friedman. The Lions continued their success until losing a 184-pound bout.
Seniors Pat Schinder and Kyle Cocozza ended the night. Schinder pinned his opponent in one minute and 46 seconds at the 197-pound bout, while Cocozza shut out his opponent, 4-0, at the heavyweight match.
Cocozza attributes the team’s success to an intense training regimen during the season.
“We’ll been training hard all semester,” Cocozza said. “We practice more than twice a week, not many teams do that.”
Cocozza, who formerly attended Delaware Valley, was glad to have the opportunity to compete against the school.
“This match was special to me because I transferred from Delaware Valley after my first semester,” Cocozza said. “It was pretty cool.”
On Saturday, Feb. 10, the Lions competed against Messiah College in a match that came down to the wire. The Lions stumbled initially, losing the first bout of the night. Goldschmidt claimed the lead by getting a major decision over his opponent and putting the Lions up, 4-3.
Freshman Robert Dinger contributed to the lead at the 141-pound bout after pinning his opponent in four minutes and 29 seconds. The Lions then dropped a bout at 149, but freshman Dominic Fano pinned his opponent at 157 in four minutes and six seconds, putting the Lions at a 16-6 lead.
The Lions watched as their lead dwindled over the next four bouts. By the time Cocozza stepped up to the mat, he needed to pin his opponent or at least get a technical fall to tie the match. Cocozza pulled out a win, but it wasn’t enough to get the Lions a victory.
After this weekend, the Lions’ record stands at 15-5, a vast improvement over last year’s record. The wrestling team looks forward to the NCAA regionals which will take place on Feb. 24.