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Wrestling travels to compete in Messiah Open

By Matthew Shaffer
Staff Writer

The College’s wrestling team traveled to Mechanicsburg, Penn., on Sunday, Feb. 9, to compete in the Messiah Open, where several wrestlers succeeded in multiple weight classes. In a tournament setting like this event, team points are earned for placements in the championship bracket and the consolation rounds. 

Ortega gets ready to grapple with his opponent (Photo courtesy of the Sports Information Desk)

Freshman Nick Denora picked up points for his team while working his way to the finals in the 125-pound weight class, but went on to finish in second place in the championship bracket. In the quarterfinals Denora knocked out a wrestler from Messiah College, sending him to the consolation ladder. It was a similar path for junior Anthony Rua, as he finished in second place in the championship bracket in the 141-pound wrestling group. 

Denora was able to scrape past his first opponent with an 8-2 decision, followed by a dominant 19-9 performance in the semi-finals, which was considered a major decision. Additionally, freshman Carmen Giumarello showed out in the consolation ladder, making it to the semi-finals and earning fourth place.

Junior Ryan Manahan and freshman Domenic Difrancescantonio also advanced to the semi-finals, each winning their first match in the 133-pound weight class. They went on to face division I talent, but were sent to the consolation ladder. After one more win for each of them, Manahan and Difrancescantonio were slated to wrestle each other in the consolation finals, where Manahan came out on the losing end. The third-place finish from Difranscantonio was a big win for the Lions. 

Rua won three consecutive bouts in the winner’s bracket, all of which were against Steven’s Institute of Technology athletes. The three wins were all close as they were wins by decision, which is when the result is within a 6-point differential. 

Senior Nick Mele started off with a blowout against his first opponent, with a 16-0 technical fall victory. After a loss in the quarterfinal he picked up three more wins in the consolation ladder en route to a fourth-place finish. Most of the day’s matches were decided by between eight and 14 points, with the exception of a technical fall dealt by Mele. A technical fall is issued when the opponent falls behind by 15 or more points, at which the deficit is essentially insurmountable.

Sophomores Peter Wersinger and Matt Valli each picked up victories in the main slate, but were forced to forfeit for medical reasons. Wersinger earned a pin in his second match of the day in the championship bracket before he was forced to stop competing. 

Some other notable performances were at the 174-pound weight class, where sophomore Joseph McCarthy picked up a pin-victory and freshman Reid Colella won two bouts by decision. Colella has been a reliable wrestler so far in his first year, as he has grappled at many different weight classes while earning a solid amount of victories.

The Lions will look to continue their strong season on Friday, Feb. 14, as they host Delaware Valley University at 7:30 p.m. They will be honoring their four graduating seniors.

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