Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) schools Mercyhurst University and Gannon University traveled to Heiges Field House to battle Shippensburg University’s wrestling team in a quad-meet on Saturday.
The SU wrestling team fell to No. 4 Mercyhurst in a hard-fought meet, 20–15. They also lost later in a dramatic contest to Gannon, 26–15.
Against Mercyhurst, the Raiders were up 15–12 after eight bouts, but lost the lead in the final two bouts of the match.
In SU’s match against Gannon, the two teams were tied after eight bouts, 15–15. The Raiders, however, lost momentum as they failed to triumph in the final two bouts, falling to Gannon, 26–15.
Throughout the two matches, SU featured three wrestlers who went undefeated on the day. The wrestlers were 197-pound junior Evan Ramos, 141-pound senior Karl Lightner and 157-pound sophomore Adam Martz.
The three Raiders led the squad with consistency and morale, but were unable to boost the Raiders to victory.
Ramos is currently ranked No. 2 in the Super Region I (SRI), and capped off his Saturday by beating the No. 5 197-pounder in the SRI, Wes Phipps, 6–4. Ramos displayed his impressive endurance and power on the mat with his hard fought decisions over his other opponents on the day.
Lightner was able to defeat the No. 5, 141-pounder, John Marotto from Gannon, 4–2, in a bout that kept everyone on the edge of their seats.
Martz matched the performance of his cohorts, going 2–0 on the day. He collected a major decision against Mercyhurst’s 157-pounder, Cole Gavin, and a regular decision over Gannon’s Giovanni Ciotti, 7–4.
The consistent barrage of takedowns and offensive superiority faltered throughout the day, as the Raiders continued to lose tight matches and fell by only a couple of points.
Young wrestlers stepped up for SU on Saturday. 133-pound sophomore Mike Hafer collected a technical fall over Mercyhurst’s Gage Nicolell, 125-pound sophomore Dustin Steffenino picked up a 9–3 decision against Gannon, and 184-pound junior Hunter Fenk took home a 6–5 win against Gannon.
SU looks to improve on these close bouts, but admires its hard fought battles against two Division II powerhouses. SU is now 3–5 overall, with an 0–1 record in the PSAC.
With the post-season drawing near, wrestlers prepare to take on tough competition to make a push at the national championships. This year, SU looks to bring multiple wrestlers to nationals for the first time in a couple of years.
The Raiders have an upcoming match next weekend as they travel to Lock Haven University to take part in the 2016 NCAA Division II Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Championships.