On Jan. 26, true freshman Josh Humphreys took down No.13 senior Christian Pagdilao of Arizona State University during the 157 bout.
Humphreys came out with a 6-1 decision.
Humphreys was awarded the starting position after senior Ian Brown suffered an injury earlier this season. The coaches decided to pull his redshirt and let him compete. Since then, he has posted an 11-5 record and has scored 25 dual points.
“It’s been a little different, since everyone in my class has redshirted,” Humphreys said. “But I love going out there, and in the room I love looking up to (Jordan) Kutler, (Jordan) Wood and (Ryan) Preisch. These guys are consistently winning and are top-ranked, so it’s nice to have guys like that on the team that you can look up to.”
Heavyweight redshirt sophomore Jordan Wood said he is proud of what Humphreys has done and said that his natural talent, drive and competitiveness really sets him apart from other wrestlers.
Wood said Humphreys cares about doing the right thing and is constantly looking to improve in whatever he is doing. His confidence is growing throughout every match, especially in pressure situations.
Wood and Humphreys feed off of each other during practice, and they both inspire one another to work harder every single day.
Humphreys said his main goal this year is to become an All-American, but Wood said he believes Humphreys can achieve much more than that.
“(Humphreys’) goals should be getting on that podium and making that happen in March, winning EIWAs this year and then becoming a four-time All-American, four-time National Champ for Lehigh,” Wood said. “He’s got the abilities. He’s got the tools to do it, and he believes in himself, and I believe in him too.”
Humphreys said he also learns from redshirt junior Jordan Kutler, who wrestles at 174. They both share the experience of being asked to wrestle as a true freshman, so Kutler said he likes to pass down his knowledge.
Kutler said Humphreys loves to win and compete and that Humphreys will go to battle for the entire seven minutes and that the key to success for Humphreys is keeping the sport simple.
“He has a lot of heart and has really improved his technique throughout the season,” Kutler said. “Not too many wrestlers come into a Division I program as a true freshman and have the confidence to wrestle immediately, but Humphreys did, and it showed his character right away.”
This competitiveness has allowed Humphreys to have two falls, two major decisions and one tech fall so far this season.
Kutler, who earned All-American honors in the 2017-2018 season, said he thinks that Humphreys has the tools right now to accomplish the same thing.
“He has so much potential, and with a lot of hard work figuring things out, he is going to be something special.” Kutler said. “There’s no doubt in my mind that he could be on the podium in March.”