BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Bucknell wrestling team made headlines across the sport’s tight-knit community Saturday evening as it defeated No. 22 Lehigh, 18-17, in a dual match in front of more than 1,500 fans at Leeman Turner Arena at Grace Hall. The victory was the first for the Bison over the Mountain Hawks in 10 all-time meetings.
Bucknell (2-1) won five of the 10 bouts and outscored Lehigh (0-1) by an 18-17 margin in the team score. However, the Bison were docked one team point for unsportsmanlike conduct during the 165-pound match, making the score 17-17 following a Lehigh injury default in the heavyweight bout. The tiebreaker came down to which team had more six-point victories and the injury default at heavyweight was the only six-point outcome, giving Bucknell the 18-17 victory.
“This win means a lot for this program,” commented Bison head coach Dan Wirnsberger. “I am excited for the guys on our team who get rewarded for the hard work they have put in. It was a great atmosphere with well over 1,000 fans who really know the sport.
“We competed well in all 10 matches and had a chance to win every one of them. We were very confident heading into the heavyweight bout with our best guy out there. You never want to win by virtue of somebody’s injury, but it was great to get the victory.”
The Bucknell lineup featured four freshmen, but it was mainly the veterans who produced points on Saturday. Sophomore Paul Petrov (125) and senior Alex Pellicciotti (149) posted one-point decisions, while senior Stephen McPeek (174) collected a five-point win. Freshman Tyler Greene (184) added a 7-2 decision that brought the Bison to within 14-11 with two bouts remaining.
Lehigh led 17-11 entering the heavyweight bout, meaning Joe Stolfi needed a pin to tie the score and give the Bison the win on the six-point victories tiebreaker. Fifty-four seconds into the match Max Wessell injury defaulted, giving Stolfi and Bucknell the bout win they needed, which led to the overall match victory.
Pellicciotti, who was wrestling just his third match this season after not competing in 2012-13, posted perhaps the most impressive win for a Bison, defeating No. 19-ranked Mitch Minotti by a 5-4 score. Minotti was one of three ranked wrestlers in the Mountain Hawk lineup. Stolfi, who is ranked 10th nationally, was the lone Bucknell wrestler to show up in the latest individual rankings.
Bucknell will continue its difficult early season schedule next Sunday when it wrestles at Oklahoma State and Oklahoma.
Bucknell 18*, Lehigh 17
125: Paul Petrov (Bucknell) dec. Darian Cruz (Lehigh) 6-5, t.b.
133: No. 6 Mason Beckman (Lehigh) major dec. Grim Gonzalez (Bucknell) 10-2
141: Laike Gardner (Lehigh) dec. Victor Lopez (Bucknell) 3-2
149: Alex Pellicciotti (Bucknell) dec. No. 19 Mitch Minotti (Lehigh) 5-4
157: No. 10 Joey Napoli (Lehigh) major dec. Logan Kerin (Bucknell) 14-3
165: Brian Brill (Lehigh) dec. Rustin Barrick (Bucknell) 6-4, s.v.**
174: Stephen McPeek (Bucknell) dec. Elliot Riddick (Lehigh) 10-5
184: Tyler Greene (Bucknell) dec. Austin Meys (Lehigh) 7-2
197: John Bolich (Lehigh) dec. Tyler Lyster (Bucknell) 3-2
285: No. 10 Joe Stolfi (Bucknell) injury default Max Wessell (Lehigh) 0:54
* - Bucknell wins on second criteria (Combined total number of falls, forfeits, defaults and disqualifications.)
** - Bucknell docked one team point for unsportsmanlike conduct