Towanda graduate helps lead Lycoming on first day of Whitehill National Duals
Sophomores Caleb Willey, a Towanda graduate, and Brian Watkins won all three of their matches, but the Lycoming College wrestling team fell out of contention to place at the 25th annual Budd Whitehill Duals, falling to 19th-ranked Ohio Northern, 31-9, and Coast Guard, 30-13, before rebounding with a win over Gettysburg in the consolation bracket on Friday evening, Jan. 11.
The Warriors (4-4 overall) were aided by a pair of forfeits and a pair of pins against Gettysburg (4-9 overall) and also won two bouts in overtime to seal the 33-16 win.
Sophomore Cody Barbiche started the bout off with a pin, flattening the Bullets' Holt Johnson in 4:37.
After a loss at 133, Willey won by forfeit and freshman Matt Neff earned a takedown in overtime to down Eddie Carroll, 8-6. Watkins followed with a 4-1 win over Tyler Cunningham at 157 pounds before junior Greg Wetzel escaped from the down position in overtime to post a 2-1 win.
Opening the tournament against Ohio Northern (8-2 overall), the Warriors posted three wins, but the 19th-ranked Polar Bears were able to close the match out with 11 points to take the 31-9 win.
After Ohio Northern opened the match with nine points in the first two bouts, Willey posted a 9-4 win over Jeremy Jones to get the Warriors on the board. Watkins added a 5-4 win over Maxwell Brooke at 157 pounds to get the Warriors within 12-6, but a sudden-victory win at 165 pounds gave the Polar Bears momentum, as they finished the match with bonus points in three of the last four bouts. Senior Tyler Cunningham momentarily stopped the momentum at 184, posting a third-period rally that included a 3-point near fall to take a 12-7 win over Kyle Raber.
Against Coast Guard (2-2 overall), Lycoming took a 13-11 lead halfway through the match, but the Bears responded with 19 points in the final five bouts to post the comeback win.
The Warriors opened the match with a forfeit win at 125, but a tech fall helped the Bears close within a point. Willey responded with a 5-1 decision against Mike Girogio at 141 before the Bears took the lead with a pin at 149.
The Warriors wrap up their time at the duals on Saturday, Jan. 12, when they face at noon.