PHILADELPHIA – Sophomore Mason Beckman became the 124th Lehigh wrestler to win an individual title as he claimed the 133-pound crown at the 110th EIWA Championships, which wrapped-up Sunday at the Palestra. Beckman survived an overtime test in the semifinals before winning a 4-1 decision over Kevin Devoy in the finales.
Beckman was joined in the finals by freshman Mitch Minotti, who suffered a 4-2 loss to top seed Chris Villalonga of Cornell. As a team, the Mountain Hawks finished second with 101 points. Five wrestlers earned automatic bids to the NCAA Championships as sophomore Max Wessell and freshmen Darian Cruz and Elliot Riddick all wrestled back to secure third place.
In the semifinals at 133 Beckman outlasted No. 4 seed Vinnie Dellefave of Rutgers 2-1 in the second set of tiebreakers. Beckman, the top seed at 133, was tied 1-1 through regulation and a sudden victory period against a tough defensive wrestler in Dellefave. In the first set of tiebreakers both wrestlers were able to ride out sending match to a second set of overtime periods. After a scoreless second sudden victory period, Beckman escaped in the first half of the second tiebreaker and then rode out Dellefave to advance to his first EIWA final.
Beckman met Devoy, the No. 6 seed from Drexel, in the finals. The match was scoreless after one period but in the second, Beckman escaped and then converted a single leg shot for a takedown to lead 3-0 after two. Beckman conceded an escape in the third but added a 1:30 riding time advantage to win 4-1. He improves to 24-3 on the season and wins Lehigh’s 204th individual EIWA title.
Minotti joined Beckman as a finalist with a 12-5 decision over Cody Ruggirello of Hofstra in the semifinals at 149. The second seeded Minotti gave up the first takedown but reversed late in the period and opened up a good sized lead behind a second period takedown, a reversal, and a late two point near fall.
In the finals, the top seed and national No. 3 Villalonga built a 3-0 lead in the second period with an escape and a second period takedown. Minotti scored a reversal in the third and then cut Villalonga loose but was unable to muster a tying takedown.
Wessell bounced back from a semifinal loss to No. 2 seed Joe Stolfi of Bucknell to punch his first ticket to the NCAA Championships. In his consolation semifinal, Wessell scored a first period takedown that stood up in a 3-2 win over Jacob Aiken-Phillips of Cornell. That win guaranteed Wessell top four and a bid to nationals. Wessell won by medical forfeit in his final bout to place third at 285.
Cruz and Riddick both successfully worked their way through the consolations to finish third in their respective weight classes. At 125, Cruz won all three of his bouts, with a pair of pins along the way. In his first bout of the day Cruz earned a fall over Tanner Shoap of Drexel, which earned him a berth to the NCAA Championships. In the consolation semifinals, Cruz locked up a cradle for the only takedown in a 3-2 win over Hofstra’s Jamie Franco. His second fall of the day came against David White of Binghamton in the third place match as he hit a cement mixer in the second period and got the fall in 3:28.
Riddick came all the way back from pinning himself in the opening round Saturday, winning five straight bouts to finish third at 174. On Sunday, he posted three wins by decision, beginning with a 7-3 decision over Brown’s Ricky McDonald and concluding with a 2-1 win over Frank Affronti of Hofstra to collect the EIWA’s third automatic berth at 174. A takedown at the first period buzzer proved to be the difference in the win over Affronti.
Senior Joey Napoli came up short in his bid to repeat as EIWA Champion at 157 as he fell to Markus Scheidel of Columbia in the semifinals. With the match tied 1-1 in the third, the No. 3 seed Napoli ended up on the wrong end of a scramble as the seventh seeded Scheidel scored the go-ahead takedown with about 20 seconds left to win 3-1. Following the semifinal loss, Napoli defaulted to sixth place and will need an at-large berth to qualify for the NCAA Championships.
Cornell crowned four champions and won its eighth straight team title with 165.5 points. Lehigh finished second with 101, ten points more than Rutgers, who finished third. Harvard’s Todd Preston, the champion at 141, received the Coaches Trophy as the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler.
Lehigh’s NCAA qualifiers will move on to the NCAA Championships, March 20-22 in Oklahoma City. At-large selections and brackets for the NCAA Championships are expected to be announced on Wednesday.
125 – No. 5 Darian Cruz – 3rd place
Consolation quarterfinals – Fall Tanner Shoap (Drexel) 4:16
Consolation semifinals – dec. No. 3 Jamie Franco (Hofstra) 3-2
Third place match – Fall No. 6 David White (Binghamton) 3:28
133 – No. 1 Mason Beckman – 1st place
Semifinals – dec. No. 4 Vinnie Dellefave (Rutgers) 2-1, tb2
Finals – dec. No. 6 Kevin Devoy (Drexel) 4-1
149 – No. 2 Mitch Minotti – 2nd place
Semifinals – dec. No. 3 Cody Ruggirello (Hofstra) 12-5
Finals – L by dec. No. 1 Chris Villalonga (Cornell) 4-2
157 – No. 3 Joey Napoli – 6th place
Semifinals – L by dec. No. 7 Markus Scheidel (Columbia) 3-1
Consolation semifinals – Medical Forfeit