Lehigh wrestling won their fourth straight EIWA Championship and qualified all 10 wrestlers for Nationals at Spooky Nook Sports Complex in Manheim, Pennsylvania today.
No fans? No problem. The Mountain Hawks performed just fine without them, taking home four individual titles, with the other six finishing in the top six.
“Having 10 guys place is always a great thing,” head coach Pat Santoro said.” Having nine in the top four is a great thing. Having four champions is a great thing… To have 10 guys wrestle at the same level is really hard to do in a tournament…I think overall, everyone’s happy with the way they wrestled.”
125-pounder Jaret Lane, 133-pounder Malyke Hines, 197-pounder Jake Jakobsen and 285-pounder Jordan Wood all took home first place. Lane, Hines and Jakobsen were all first-timers, while Wood won his fourth individual championship. He’s the fifth person in school history to be a four-time winner and he’s the first EIWA heavyweight to win four titles.
“The individual title is just a cherry on top,” Wood said. “We won four straight, and it was a big goal coming into Lehigh. Something that coach Pat (Santoro) always talked about was that we got to get on top of the EIWA and get a team trophy at Nationals. We’ve done the first part, and we’re still shooting for that team trophy.”
141-pounder Connor McGonagle finished in third. 149-pounder Jimmy Hoffman had a strong day but came up short in the finals. 157-pounder Luca Frinzi lost the first match of the day but wrestled back to finish in fourth place. 165-pounder Brian Meyer took home third place. 174-pounder Jake Logan finished in fourth place after a medical forfeit. 184-pounder Dylan Ammerman hasn’t wrestled in over a year, was 0-0 this whole season, came out tonight and took fifth place.
Wood also won the Fletcher Trophy, which is awarded to the wrestler who has the most EIWA Tournament career points. Jakobsen won the Sheridan Award for finishing with the most falls. Head coach Pat Santoro was named EIWA Coach of the Year for the second straight time. It was his sixth time taking home the award.
Jake Jakobsen spoke with The Brown and White earlier this week and said when wrestling lost the EIWAs in 2017, they would win four in a row for Santoro. Feb. 26, that goal was accomplished.
Before today’s tournament, the Mountain Hawks went 3-4 on the season, not having many matches to showcase their talent. Tonight they once again proved that they’re still the same team.
Santoro said the three weeks of training without any team pauses were everything.
“We just felt like we never had more than two weeks straight of training,” Santoro said. The guys won all their tight matches today and were winning third periods. That’s typically what we’ve done, but we hadn’t done it all year. They just really wrestled well. I’m really proud of them.”
Lehigh will continue to train and isolate to prepare for the NCAA Division 1 wrestling Championships between March18-20 in St. Louis, Missouri.