The Shippensburg University wrestling team had three contests last week and struggled to get the desired results.
Three Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) rivals in one week proved too much for the Raiders to handle, as they dropped each match. The wrestlers did not have any easy time gaining any leverage in their matches.
The Raiders got off to a rough start in the first competition of the week at home against the Warriors of East Stroudsburg. SU dropped their first three bouts, giving the Warriors an early 14–0 lead. Cody Blankenship earned the first win for SU in the 149-weight class, before the team dropped the two following bouts, one of which was a tech fall by the No. 5 165-pound wrestler in the country, Mike Raccioppi.
The Raiders, however, did not go down quietly.
Ryan Narber picked up a decision at 174, followed by Alexi Castro who, in his third collegiate bout, defeated the No. 7 ranked wrestler in Super Region 1. He landed a critical takedown in the overtime period to earn the victory.
SU’s No. 3 wrestler in the country at 197 pounds, Evan Ramos, picked up his third straight victory with a pin to bring SU to within 10 points of East Stroudsburg.
With only one bout remaining in the match, however, this streak was too little too late for the Raiders to complete the comeback.
Derek Bereberick nonetheless fought hard and picked up a major decision victory to narrow the margin to a final score of 25–19. Berberick’s victory was his eighth straight and his third major decision of the season, best on the team.
The Raiders tried to shake off the narrow loss when they traveled to Gannon University. For the second straight contest, SU could not get going early and dropped its first three bouts.
Blankenship was again the first points for SU, earning a pin victory. Over the next four bouts, two Raiders went up against Top 12-ranked wrestlers in their weight classes, both of which ended in losses.
Ramos picked up another victory, a major decision, but the match was once again out of hand and the win only brought the overall score to 31–10. Berberick could not keep his streak going against the No. 7-ranked heavyweight Nick Budd and dropped his bout to make the final score 37–10.
The Raiders did not need to go far for their next match, facing nearby Mercyhurst University Saturday.
Mercyhurst was undefeated in dual play going into the tie and came out with the victory. It brought six regionally-ranked wrestlers to the meet.
The Raiders’ struggles early in matches continued as they could not get a result until Ramos’s decision late in the contest over another nationally-ranked opponent. Ramos improved his season record to 17–1, 13–0 in dual meetings.
SU will look to rebound when it returns home to face No. 11 Pitt-Johnstown. The contest will be the Raiders’ final home meet of the season and will take place today at 7 p.m. All the senior wrestlers will be honored before the match.