Lehigh wrestling upset No. 5 Arizona State at Leeman-Turner Arena in Grace Hall on Friday evening in front of a sold out crowd.
The victory marked the second time this season Lehigh has beaten a top five ranked opponent after defeating No. 4 Oklahoma State on Nov. 16, 2019. The No. 11 Mountain Hawks stretched their winning streak to 11 matches with the win.
The night also marked a special occasion for the team’s eight seniors who were honored before the match.
“I like how close the fans are,” senior Ryan Pomrinca said. “Everyone’s really close to the mat. It’s not a big arena, it’s a small enclosed arena. So, the fans are right up in your face and getting some big wins. The crowd really gets loud. Comparing it to other arenas, like Harvard and Bryce Jordan at Penn State, it’s just not the same. The fans really care, the alumni care. Everyone who comes here cares. It’s such an awesome community of people that comes to these things.”
Junior Brandon Paetzell provided an early victory for Lehigh in the 125-pound weight class, securing the first takedown of the match. Paetzell notched an escape and a takedown in the third period to win the match 5-1.
Sophomore Jaret Lane was up next for the Mountain Hawks in the 133-pound weight class. Lane fought through struggles in the first period but was able to stop No. 30 ranked Josh Kramer from scoring. The crowd played its part in creating a boisterous atmosphere when Lane’s third-period takedown secured the win.
Pomrinca also had a successful night in the 141-pound weight class after his match went 17 seconds into overtime. A Pomrinca takedown against Sun Devil Cory Crooks won the match for Lehigh.
“This was my last dual meet of the season,” Pomrinca said. “It being on senior night, a top five team was a really good team to end the season on. It’s a good atmosphere and a really big match. I wanted to do what I needed to do for the team.”
After three bouts, the Mountain Hawks were up 9-0 against their opponent.
In the 149-pound weight class, sophomore Jimmy Hoffman provided yet another Lehigh victory after an escape in the third period. Hoffman won the match 5-4.
Sophomore Josh Humphreys had the first loss of the night for the Hawks in the 157-pound weight class. At intermission, the Mountain Hawks were up 12-3 against the Sun Devils.
After the break, freshman Brian Meyer also had a frustrating night in the 165-pound weight class after the Sun Devils secured the first bonus points of the match, cutting Lehigh’s lead to 4 points.
In the 174-pound weight class, No. 3 ranked senior Jordan Kutler brought Lehigh back to its winning ways against No. 9 ranked Anthony Valencia. Valencia scored an early takedown, but Kutler persevered and won his match 9-4.
Lehigh was up 15-8 with 3 bouts left in the match.
Junior Chris Weiler shutout Cade Belshay 10-0 to give the Mountain Hawks an 11-point lead with two bouts to go.
Although senior Chase Gallik lost in the 197-pound weight class, fans gave Lehigh a standing ovation after the team’s overall victory was all but secured.
Junior Jordan Wood ended the night for Lehigh, but he lost 5-2.
Arizona State was without No. 1 ranked Zahid Valencia in the 184-pound weight class, who was suspended after failing a drug test.
Lehigh will wrestle next in the EIWA Championships, a competition it hopes to win for the third year in a row, at Stabler Arena from March 6-7.