Eagles stun No. 11 ranked Rutgers, 22-16, at Thomas Fieldhouse
BY ALEX WAHL
FoR The Express
Lock Haven-It was a very anticipated matchup for the Lock Haven University wrestling team against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, and the Bald Eagles didn’t disappoint.
In front of an estimated 2,400 roaring fans, the Bald Eagles came away with a team victory in the last bout of the night to upset the No. 11 ranked Scarlet Knights, 22-16.
LHU’s Thomas Haines, ranked fifteenth the country, only needed 43 seconds in the first period to pin Razohnn Gross to give Lock Haven the upset victory over Rutgers.
“I’m so happy,” said Haines. “The whole team wrestled its heart out and it showed on the scoreboard.”
“My mindset was actually very calm and I’ve been in that winner-take-all situation before, and I was ready for it,” added Haines.
This is the first time that Lock Haven wrestling has beaten a top 25 team since February 13, 2005 when the team beat No. 22 ranked West Virginia.
Lock Haven head coach Scott Moore was thrilled with the victory on the first dual of the year.
“This was one of those matches that you really prepare for and think about,” said Moore. “When you have the mindset of pulling off an upset, good things happen and it’s really special.”
“It’s even more special for the guys on the team that they believe they could do all along, and I’m grateful to lead the program and continue to climb the national rankings,” added Moore.
Rutgers got an early advantage in the first two matches at 125 and 133 pounds, respectively.
Nick Suriano, who wrestled for the Penn State Nittany Lions last season, came into the match ranked second in the country against Josiah Kline.
Kline, who won the individual title at last week’s Mat Town Open, did his job as he only gave up four team points as Suriano won by an 18-5 major decision.
Later– tenth ranked Scott DelVecchio was held to just a 11-5 decision victory over LHU’s DJ Fehlman, who was an NCAA tournament qualifier from last year.
Lock Haven finally got on the team scoreboard at 141 pounds as Kyle Shoop cruised to a 13-0 major decision over Michael Van Brill.
In what was a highly anticipated matchup at 149 pounds, fifteenth ranked Ronnie Perry faced thirteenth ranked Elezar DeLuca of Rutgers.
After a scoreless first period, Perry came up big getting an escape point followed by a takedown to lead 3-0 after two periods.
Later in the third period, Perry received a point after DeLuca was caught stalling. A late escape from DeLuca settled the score as Perry won by a 5-1 decision to tie the match at 7-7.
“I felt great,” said Perry. “We had a nice relaxing week with Thanksgiving and it worked out well.”
Alex Klucker later came up big at 157 pounds. He got a last second riding-time point to win by a 16-1 tech fall over Nick Santos, to give Lock Haven a 12-7 lead with five bouts left.
“I felt electric and alive,” said Klucker. “I had a good week of training and battled hard for seven minutes.”
After a brief intermission, Chance Marsteller, ranked tenth the nation, made his Thomas Field House debut in great fashion as he earned a 11-3 major decision over John Van Brill.
Marsteller, who became a father on Sunday, explained his emotional journey to get to where he is now.
“Switching back-and-forth with school and practice and going to different hospitals, it has been a long emotional week,” said Marsteller. “I was thankful to have great sportsmanship this week and me and the boys came out big tonight, it really means a lot and I feel great.”
“The ride is still going,” added Marsteller. “It’s been special, up, and down, but someone back then told me don’t get too high on your highs and too low on your lows; just drive away. I didn’t understand what that meant a few years ago, but over this past year and a half, I understood what it meant. I’ve had some really big highs lately just going to school and competing, but that’s life and you just keep moving forward.”
Rutgers’ Joseph Grello put a stop to a four-match winning streak for the Bald Eagles as he earned a riding time point to beat Jared Siegrist, 3-2.
At 184 pounds, Lock Haven’s Corey Hazel suffered a tough 6-4 loss when Jordan Pagano got a take down with 21 seconds left in sudden victory.
At 197 pounds, Scarlet Knight Nicholas Gravina, ranked ninth in the country at 184 pounds, was put up to the task of beating Tristan Sponseller and he did just that with a 6-4 decision to tie the match 16-16 with one match left at heavyweight.
LHU’s Haines ended the match with a pin to give the Eagles the win, 22-16.
The Lock Haven University wrestling team will now have a week to prepare for the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) championships hosted by Edinboro University on Saturday December 9.