Mariners Nearly Pull Upsets Versus Nationally Ranked Teams; Finish 1-3 at North/South Duals
Collegeville, PA – The USMMA wrestling team defeated Trinity and had a chance to pull off a pair of upsets at the North/South Duals and eventually finished with a 1-3 record Saturday afternoon. The Mariners started the day with a 19-13 loss at the hands of #4 Cortland and followed that performance with a 35-9 defeat against #24 Wilkes and ended the day with a narrow 24-18 setback versus #22 Messiah. The Mariners' meet finished with a 43-10 rout of Trinity in which four USMMA grapplers won by pin fall.
Merchant Marine got off to a strong start in its opening match against #4 Cortland as Costas Rerras (Norfolk, VA) earned an 11-3 major decision in the first bout. Thomas Healey (Andover, NJ) made it a 7-0 USMMA advantage with a shutout decision victory at 133 pounds. Cortland took the next three bouts but a 3-2 triumph by Jake Walker (Kansas City, MO) tied the match at 10-10. Sam Fry (Sturgis, MI) won his bout at 184 pounds, 7-3, to level the dual again at 13-13 heading into the final two bouts. However, the Red Dragons picked up decision victories in back-to-back contests to avoid the upset and come out on top, 19-13.
USMMA struggled in the early portion of its match with #24 Wilkies before Josh Miller (Jackson Hole, WY) got the Mariners on the board in the 174 pound bout. Miller secured the first pin fall of the day, putting his opponents' shoulders to the mat at 5:28. Fry made it two straight wins for the Mariners, and himself, with a 4-2 decision. Wilkes closed the dual match strongly to earn a 35-9 victory.
Rerras supplied the Mariners with another fast start at 125 pounds in the third match of the day as the freshman pinned his man at 5:19 to give USMMA a quick 6-0 edge. #22 Messiah rallied to take the next two bouts but Bernard Watson (Fort Morgan, CO), Branden Yeik (Bremerton, WA), and Walker put together three straight wins for Merchant Marine as USMMA built a 15-11 cushion. The Mariners found themselves down 18-15 before an 11-6 victory from Tyler Russell (Georgetown, ME) made it 18-18 heading into the heavyweight bout. However, a pin for Messiah at 2:58 allowed the Falcons to also slip away and avoid the upset.
USMMA dominated Trinity in the final match of the day with Rerras, Ian Nisley (Camp Hill, PA), Yeik, and Miller all earning six points with pin fall victories. Walker and Ricky Fisher (Nashville, TN) both defeated their opponent via decision. When the final bout was complete Merchant Marine had knocked off Trinity, 43-10.
The Mariners return to the mat January 16 for a road dual meet against NYU.