LHU wrestling electrifies packed Thomas Fieldhouse with 28-10 dual win over George Mason
By SAM KUPERMAN
For The Express
No. 17 Lock Haven University Wrestling did its job in the home opener, taking care of Eastern Wrestling League opponent George Mason 28-10. LHU did its damage early, as the Bald Eagles took a 19-0 lead after the first four weight groups with three technical falls and a pin to get in front by a wide margin.
“To start off a dual with a solid win over an up-and-coming team was great and am definitely proud of the effort,” LHU head coach Scott Moore said. “[I] Look forward to continuing to build and to get these guys ready for the next competition.”
George Mason, coming off of a 24-11 dual victory Thursday at Bloomsburg, had most of its lineup comprised of wrestlers taking the mat on back-to-back nights, and it showed early on.
At 125 pounds Lock Haven sophomore Luke Werner claimed an 18-1 tech fall. That was followed by freshman Dalton Rohrbaugh earning the 8-3 decision at 133. The next two contests aided LHU in gaining a commanding lead.
It started with reigning national qualifier Kyle Shoop, who tech-falled George Mason freshman Julio Algeria, 16-0, in less than two minutes. Shoop, who led the nation in tech falls last season, put his team up 13-0 in the dual with the dominant win.
“I really got into a groove right away,” Shoop said. “I just saw an opportunity and took it. I got into my best position on top and working toward turns.”
Shoop wasn’t even sure he’d get to wrestle in front of the home fans, considering the Patriots initially listed that they’d forfeit 141. However, Alegria got down from 149 to 141, setting the stage for the redshirt junior to put on a show.
“We’re at a small school so it’s really big that we can get a lot of people to come out,” Shoop said. “Anytime we get a chance to perform like this it’s really an honor and it’s a lot of fun.”
After Shoop, it was junior Jonathan Ross who got the call at 149. His opponent was 2018 NCAA Qualifier Tejon Anthony, who went to Cleveland at 141 last season.
Ross was down 5-2 to Anthony late in the second, but saw his opportunity and answered the bell. He was able to get in position to keep things rolling with a pin and the win.
“It kind of happened,” Ross said. “I just fell into it, had it and went for it.”
19-0 was the score at that point. The teams would split the remaining six bouts to finalize things at 28-10 in favor of the Bald Eagles.
Lock Haven’s nationally ranked foursome went 1-2 on the evening.
No. 17 Alex Klucker at 157 fell 11-3 to George Mason freshman Kolby Ho, who really looks like a building block of this retooled Patriots program.
No. 3 Chance Marsteller was out with an undisclosed injury, resulting in LHU redshirt sophomore Collin Glorioso having to move up from 149 to 165. He lost a decision 2-0.
At 184, no. 15 Corey Hazel displayed a gutsy performance, beating freshman Paul Pierce 11-6 despite rolling his ankle late in the first period.
“He was looking like he was going to get a major, maybe even a tech and just rolled his ankle and probably just tightened up and maybe panicked,” Moore said. “But he’s a tough kid and found a way to win that match and really set the margin for the dual.”
The most anticipated scrap of the evening was at the heavyweight position. Lock Haven’s No. 9 Thomas Haines battled George Mason’s Matt Voss, who’s ranked No. 10. Voss prevailed, 5-2, in a slugfest to close out the night.
Lock Haven did claim victory at 174 with a Jared Siegrist 4-2 decision, and at 197 via the work of freshman Luke McGonigal by a score of 9-6.
With a near-capacity crowd scrunched into the Thomas Fieldhouse for the annual White-Out, Lock Haven provided a great deal of excitement for the home crowd. Between NCAA ticket and hot tub raffles, along with a costume contest and a DJ blaring music before the dual, LHU displayed an atmosphere that Moore has built towards in his six years as the leader of the program
“It’s similar to last year,” Moore said. I think we had almost as many people last year against Rutgers. To open up the dual meet season, to get the community and the students involved, it felt really good to see their support.”
LHU now prepares for next weekend’s PSAC Championships in Kutztown.