To kick off the 2018-2019 season, members of the Lehigh wrestling team went head-to-head in its annual wrestle-offs on Nov. 1 at Leeman-Turner Arena in Grace Hall.
The exhibition offered fans a glimpse at this year’s talent while acting as a dual simulation for the wrestlers themselves.
“The wrestle-offs prepare the young guys more than the older ones because it’s important to get into an intense environment and wrestle,” said junior Kyle Gentile. “It’s not always easy wrestling in front of a crowd, so it is good practice for guys who haven’t competed in Grace (Hall) yet”.
Five out of seven members of the true freshman class took to the mat to compete against their teammates.
The Mountain Hawks will compete in duels with some of the top wrestling programs in the nation this season.
“We have the hardest schedule that we’ve ever had this year, so almost all of the matches are important to show how hard we have been working,” Gentile said.
The No. 6 Mountains Hawks will face other preseason top ten teams such as No. 1 Penn State, No.3 Iowa and No. 4 Oklahoma State.
All-American junior Jordan Kutler feels optimistic about the team’s chances.
“I’m excited for the team,” Kutler said. “We have a great lineup and the potential to be a top-five team in the country.”
With returning wrestlers, such as EWIA title holder sophomore Jordan Wood, the Mountain Hawks feel confident on the mat.
“Anything can happen, so I’m excited to just lay it all out on the line every match,” Wood said. “We have all been in the spotlight and don’t have anything to be afraid of.”
Lehigh will wrestle in its first duel meet of the season when it travels to Ann Arbor to take on Michigan on Friday, Nov. 16.