By Justin Lockowitz/”The Voice” Sports Editor
The Bloomsburg University wrestling team hosted Central Michigan this past Saturday in a non-league dual match losing by a score of 24-8. The Huskies (5-5) came in as underdogs to the Chippewas (11-1, ranked sixth in the latest USA Today/Intermat/NWCA polls) but competed hard and wrestled the visitors with toughness.
The final score of the match was not indicative of how close the match actually was, as Bloom lost five matches by three points or less.
The match began at the 141-pound weight class as Bloom’s Ricky Donald took on CM’s Eric Kruger. The only scoring in the period came when Kruger countered a shot by Donald for a takedown. In the second period Donald was able to ride out Kruger for the entire two minutes, and chose bottom to start the third. Donald was able to escape with about 40 seconds left in the period, but Kruger was able to secure another takedown on the way to a 4-1 win.
In the next bout, BU’s George Hickman took on number eight Steve Brown. Brown got in on a shot about halfway through the first period, but was eventually awarded the takedown. In the ensuing period Brown quickly escaped to give him a 3-0 lead. A crazy scramble occurred during the period, but no points were scored. In the last period Hickman earned an escape about halfway through, but was unable to put any more points on the board, losing 3-1.
In the next contest the Huskies’ number 10 Matt Moley faced Tyler Grayson. Moley quickly grabbed hold of the match, earning a takedown in the first 25 seconds, then tilting his opponent for three sets of three-point near falls, ending the period with an 11-0 lead. After not much action in the middle period, the third period saw Moley earn a takedown and a quick two back points to win the match by technical fall, 16-0. The win brought the team to within a point of the visitors at 6-5.
The 165-pound match saw Ricky Schmelyun meet CM’s number 10 Trevor Stewart. The first two periods produced zero points for either wrestler, but Schmelyun earned two minutes of riding time. In the third, Stewart was able to get a hold of his opponent’s leg and lift it into the air, but was countered by a nice move that led to a takedown for Schmelyun, who went on to win the match by a score of 3-1. The win propelled Schmelyun into the rankings, earning him a slot at number 17.
Nate Graham faced off against the Chippewas’ number seven Mike Miller in the next match. Miller accumulated two takedowns to earn a 4-1 lead after the first two sessions. In the final period Miller was able to earn an escape and another takedown on his way to an 8-2 decision.
The 184-pound bout featured the Huskies’ Brian Shaw against Vince DiDona, in what proved to be the closest bout of the night in terms of final score. Shaw led 2-1 after the first, but DiDona used an escape and a takedown to steal the lead by a score of 4-3 going into the third period. Shaw chose bottom and escaped to tie the match with about 1:20 remaining. DiDona then picked up another takedown, followed by a Shaw escape, but DiDona was able to hold off Shaw for the remainder, earning a 6-5 decision.
The following bout featured Jesse Hasseman and CM’s Eric Simaz. Simaz led 1-0 after two periods, but Hasseman was able to tie it with an escape early in the third period. While near the edge of the circle, Hasseman attempted a throw, which Simaz countered and capitalized on, earning a takedown and three near-fall points on his way to a 7-1 victory. The win advanced the visitor’s lead to 15-8.
The heavyweight match featured Bloom’s Zach Walsh versus Jarod Tice. Tice was able to score a takedown in the first, while Walsh earned an escape in the second. Tice escaped early in the third period and held on for the 4-1 decision.
With two bouts remaining and the visitors up by a score of 18-8, the lightweights took the mats as Ian Moser met CM’s number eight Scotti Sentes. Moser was able to put the first points on the board scoring a takedown, but Sentes’ escape made it 2-1 heading into the second period. In the second Sentes quickly fought for another escape and picked up a takedown, making it 4-2, and a scoreless third led to a Sentes victory.
The final match of the night featured BU’s Jason Guffey against number 20 Conor Beebe. Beebe used a takedown and an escape through the first two periods to build a 3-0 lead, then rode out the third period in route to a 5-0 win.
Despite the loss, the team wrestled hard and was in the majority of their matches till the end. Coach Stutzman stated, “We were in position to not only win individual bouts, but to win the meet, which is all you can ask for when you wrestle a team of that caliber.” He explained the loss of so many close matches by saying, “We need to learn how to win. Guys need to relax and be confident in those positions, because sometimes they tend to tighten up.”
The team was able to take away a lot from the match, as is usually the case when wrestling such a high-caliber opponent. Though the Huskies did many things well, they also see room for improvement. Hickman said the team needed to “have more mat awareness,” while Donald added, “We need to get mentally tougher in certain situations so we can beat the good teams instead of just making it a good match.”
Moley felt the team needed to improve on “imposing our will right off of the first whistle, until the last.”