BU Wrestling Finishes Third at EWL Championship

By Justin Lockowitz/The Voice Sports Editor

While most Bloomsburg University students were putting the finishing touches on their spring break, the university’s wrestling team competed at the Eastern Wrestling League (EWL) Championships on March 7th. The team finished third with 88.5 points, trailing only West Virginia (95.5) and Edinboro (126.5). The third place finish was the best for the team since 1993, when they claimed the title. Coach Stutzman felt the team “wrestled really well and competed really hard.”

Three Huskies finished high enough in the tournament to earn automatic berths to the NCAA Division I Championships in St. Louis, March 19-21. These three were Matt Moley (1st), George Hickman (2nd), and Ian Moser (3rd). Moley began the day by pinning Lock Haven’s Ollie Underwood in the first period, and then earned a tough decision over Clarion’s Hadley Harrison by a 3-1 score. The win over Harrison earned Moley his third trip to nationals and advanced him to the finals, where he once again met Edinboro’s top-ranked Gregor Gillespie. Going into the match, Moley had a career record of 0-9 against Gillespie, but you never would have guessed it. Moley said, “I knew that this could have been the last time that I got to wrestle him, so before the match I had it set in my mind that I was not going to lose a tenth time to the same kid. I felt no pressure going into the match, and planned on attacking early and often, and it worked for me.”

Matt Moley
Matt Moley

Moley came out on fire, scoring a takedown just seconds into the 157-pound match, and adding another one later in the period for a 4-2 lead heading into the second. In the second period, Moley was able to counter a shot by Gillespie and pick up another takedown. In the third, Gillespie was able to escape, but Moley had already accumulated 1:54 of riding time. Gillespie answered back, taking Moley down to cut his lead to one point, but a Moley escape and point for riding time earned him the 8-5 victory. The win also earned him the honor of being named the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler. Stutzman pronounced, “I think it was a huge win for him,” mentioning, “Moley doesn’t get the respect he deserves.”

After the win, Moley remarked, “It was definitely a confidence booster being that he is ranked number one in the nation, and it just shows that I have the potential to accomplish my goal to be a national champ.”

 

 

George Hickman
George Hickman

In the 149-pound bracket, Hickman earned a bye into the semi-finals where he beat Greg Lewis of Clarion by a 6-1 score, setting up a rematch with Matt Fittery of Lock Haven. Hickman pinned Fittery in their last meeting, but the Bald Eagle got the best of him this time, winning by a score of 4-2. The second place finish earned Hickman his first trip to nationals, a berth the senior has been working for his entire college career. He stated, “It feels good to qualify for nationals after all the hard work, and my expectations are to be an All-American.”
After dropping a 5-2 decision to Clarion’s Jay Ivanco, Moser bounced back with a 3-1 win over Pitt’s Chris Albright and a 16-8 major decision of Lock Haven’s Nick Hyatt. The third place finish was enough to automatically qualify Moser for his first trip to nationals. Also placing for the Huskies were Nate Graham (3rd), Jason Guffey, Rick Donald, and Jesse Hasseman (4th), Ricky Schmelyun and Zac Walsh (5th).

Stutzman was happy, but not satisfied with the team’s third place finish. He stated, “For us to get to the next level, I want to win the tournament,” adding, “I think we’re going in the right direction.”

As far as preparing his guys for the National Championships, there isn’t much Stutzman can do at this point. His philosophy is to train the team real hard early in the year so he can back off of them in the post-season. It’s his responsibility to keep them healthy and fresh mentally at this point. When it comes to the mindset needed to be successful at nationals, he stressed competitiveness and confidence. Stutzman announced, “We’re going out there to win,” and believes “a true competitor wants to win.”

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