Lehigh senior No. 3 Randy Cruz, left, prepares to take the bottom position against Princeton's No. 4 Matt Kolodzik at the match on Friday, Dec. 9, 2016 at Grace Hall. Lehigh wrestling moves to 7-1 on the season following wins over Navy and American. (Annie Henry/B&W Sta ff)

Lehigh wrestling team begins 2017 with back-to-back dual wins

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Most Lehigh students are still on break for another week, but the Lehigh wrestling team was back in action Friday and Saturday as it won its first two duals of 2017.

Lehigh (7-1, 5-0 EIWA) first beat Navy 23-9 on Friday night in Maryland before traveling to Washington D.C. to defeat American University 31-3.

The Mountain Hawks got the early lead in both duals, but each of them ended quite differently.

Against Navy, senior Darian Cruz gave Lehigh a quick five points in the first bout after earning a technical fall in under three minutes. Four of the next five matches went to Lehigh by decision, including a win by freshman Joe Lobeck in his dual debut, to put the Mountain Hawks up 17-3.

Navy threatened a comeback with a win at the 174 level over sophomore Chase Gallik, also making his dual debut, but the threat was quickly squashed when freshman Kyle Gentile won the next bout to seal the dual’s result.

The win was Lehigh’s sixth straight over Navy and its 19th in the last 21 duals between the two schools.

Lehigh had an easier go of it on Saturday, losing just one of the 10 bouts against American en route to a decisive victory.

Cruz started the Mountain Hawks with a victory again, this time by decision. He was followed by Lobeck, who suffered a close 7-6 defeat in the next match after being taken down with just three seconds left.

The next three matches went Lehigh’s way, with wins by senior Randy Cruz, junior Cortlandt Schuyler and sophomore Jordan Kutler increasing Lehigh’s lead to 12-3.

Two technical falls in the next two matches from senior Drew Longo and junior Ryan Preisch gave Lehigh an insurmountable 22-3 lead before three more Lehigh victories in the final three bouts.

Lehigh has now won all seven of its duals against American since the schools’ first meeting in 2004.

After the two results from the weekend, No. 8 Lehigh is undefeated in its last four duals and its last 12 against EIWA opponents dating back to 2015.

The Mountain Hawks look to continue those streaks next Friday and Saturday when they host UPenn and Cornell University in Grace Hall.

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  1. Bruce Haines '67 on

    Hoping the Brown and White runs a feature article regarding the Cornell dual next Saturday as it pits the two top teams in the EIWA both Ranked in the Top 10 nationally. Lehigh has long dominated the EIWA conference until the last decade when Cornell has run the table at the Conference Championships in March. This looks like the year that Lehigh could overtake Cornell and regain its Eastern Wrestling supremacy in both the dual meet and Conference Championships.

    This matchup on Saturday afternoon needs to be a SRO event at 2pm in legendary Grace Hall where the Lehigh Top 5 college wrestling tradition was built dating back over 70 years. Lehigh students need to experience what Top 10 College Wrestling is all about and support their fellow classmates to upset Cornell on Saturday in our house!!

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