ST. LOUIS, Mo. - Junior Darian Cruz reached the championship quarterfinals at 125 to salvage a tough round of 16 for the Lehigh wrestling team, but the Mountain Hawks were able to bounce back late in Thursday’s evening session to send all seven entrants to day two as day one of the NCAA Championships wrapped up at Scottrade Center.
Cruz punched his first career ticket to the quarterfinals by edging Ohio’s Shakur Laney 1-0 in a tight, defensive battle. He was the only one of Lehigh’s five wrestlers in the championship bracket to win as the Mountain Hawks dropped three matches by two points or fewer in the final 10 seconds or overtime.
After opening the day with 12 points in session one, Lehigh mustered just two at night and ends day one in a tie for 10th place with 14 points.
Darian Cruz and Laney were scoreless through two periods in their match at 125. The fourth-seeded Cruz escaped early in the third and used solid defense to hold off the 13th-seeded Bobcat. Cruz will next face No. 12 seed Sean Fausz of North Carolina State in the quarterfinals, needed one win on Friday to claim his second career All-America medal.
The remaining six Mountain Hawks will need three wins on Friday to reach the podium.
Information courtesy Lehigh University Athletics.