By Josh Kestenbaum
The past few wrestling matches have been up and down for the Lions, and when they travelled to Wilkes University on Friday, Feb. 6, it was mostly down. The Lions only won three weight classes on their way to a 27-12 defeat at the hands of the Colonels.
Going into the match, the Lions were out-ranked by their opponents, ranking as the 25th Division III team in the country while the Colonels boasted 11th.
Wilkes wrestled like the better team early on, taking four of the first five weight classes to build a sizeable lead. However, the Lions won the 197 weight class in dominant fashion.
Sophomore Dan Wojtaszek won his class by fall when he pinned his opponent at just 4:46. With the win, Wojtaszek improved to 7-2 on the season.
The Lions gained some ground on the Colonels, as they were victorious in two of the next three weight classes. Freshman Ryan Budzek defeated his opponent at 141 by a score of 10-4. Two classes later, junior Antonio Mancella earned a 12-5 decision at 157.
The Lions then dropped the final two weight classes, making the final score 27-12 in favor of Wilkes University.
Notably absent from the Lions’ lineup was senior Zach Zotollo, the top-ranked, D-III wrestler at 174. Zotollo is 14-0 on the season but has not wrestled since Saturday, Jan. 31, when the College hosted the Metro/New England Duals.
The Lions will return to the mat on Friday, Feb. 13, when they travel to Doylestown, P.A. to take on Delaware Valley College. The Delaware Valley Aggies are the eighth-ranked, D-III wrestling team in the nation, so the Lions will be up against a strong program.
“We come to practice and work hard,” coach Joe Galante said in regards to the team’s preparation this week. “Each and every opponent is difficult in a different way.”
The Lions will then be back at The College on Saturday, Feb. 14, to face Messiah College at 7 p.m. in Packer Hall.