Over break, wrestling shows promise against tough foes

Category:  Sports
Wednesday, January 31st, 2018 at 6:27 PM

The Fighting Scots started off their winter break by competing in the Ken Kraft Midlands Invitational hosted by Northwestern University. 

The majority of teams in the tournament came from the Big Ten, the premier conference in Division I wrestling. The Fighting Scots performed well through opening day, with Sean Russell, Korbin Myers and Billy Miller still alive in the wrestle-backs. 

On day two, Russell earned a win over Spencer Lee of Iowa, who he lost to earlier in the tournament, due to Lee medically forfeiting the match. Russell would take fifth overall and would be the highest finishing Fighting Scot. 

Myers would end up finishing eighth after winning one of two on the second day. Miller would lose his only match on day two, finishing outside the podium in his first action back on the mat since Nov. 11 at the EMU Open.

On Jan. 6, the Fighting Scots took on Eastern Wrestling League (EWL) opponent Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, dispatching them, 35-3. Nate Hagan, Peter Pappas, Andrew Shomers, Fritz Hoehn and Ty Schoffstall would help the effort by earning major decision victories, while Russell received a forfeit at 125 pounds to give the team its first 6 points of the meet. Myers, Aaron Paddock and Miller would all pick up decisions, good for a total of 9 points, to aide the Fighting Scots’ effort. The lone blemish came as Zach Ancewicz lost by a 3-2 decision. 

The Fighting Scots returned to action at McComb Fieldhouse on Jan. 19 to host the No. 10 ranked Virginia Tech University.  They would give Virginia Tech a run for their money, but ultimately came up short, losing 20-15. 

The loss was not without bright spots, though, as No. 18-ranked Myers defeated No. 13 Dennis Gustafson, 6-4. Not to be outdone, No. 14 Miller defeated No. 18 Andrew Dunn by a score of 3-2. 

Flynn believes the meet showed that the team has improved over the course of the season, and he is hopeful the Fighting Scots can succeed if they keep improving.

“I thought they did well. We’re getting better,” Flynn said. “We weren’t a good team to start out, and I think we’re slowly improving, and that’s good.”

The next test for the Fighting Scots came just three days later against Rider University, where they would lose, 21-15, in another competitive meet. Russell, Myers, Ancewicz and Miller would all secure decision wins over their respective Rider opponents.

Shomers highlighted the Fighting Scots performance as he picked up a win over No. 16 B.J. Clagon. Clagon went up early in the second period, 2-0, but Shomers kept working and kept it close by securing a takedown of his own. Having choice to start the third period, Shomers chose neutral and scored a late takedown to make it 4-2 as the final buzzer sounded. Clagon received an extra point for riding time, but it was not enough to overcome Shomers.

Flynn said he felt the Scots fought well and showed signs of promise even while they struggled through their last two meets.

“I thought we looked good, even against Rider and [Virginia] Tech, and we lost those matches, but I thought overall we looked good physically,” he said.

George Schmidt can be reached at sports.spectator@gmail.com.

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