LEWISBURG, Pa. – The Bucknell wrestling team had reasons to celebrate on Senior Night at Sojka Pavilion, with Tyler Smith becoming the first Bison since 2009-10 to go undefeated in dual action and Drew Phipps picking up his 20th victory of the season, but Bloomsburg ultimately emerged a 22-20 victor by erasing a 20-13 deficit in the final two bouts of the night.
For the second week in a row, the dual was decided by the heavyweight bout. After Logan Womelsdorf drew the Huskies (6-9, 2-4 EWL) within a single point with a pin at 197 pounds, Bruce Graeber registered a 3-0 decision to clinch their win.
Through the first two bouts, Bloomsburg raced out to a 7-0 lead, but Bucknell battled back to take a 20-13 edge by winning five of the next six. Smith kicked off the run, downing Shawn Orem by a 25-11 major decision to finish dual competition with a 16-0 record. Smith, who was one of the six seniors honored, posted 12 takedowns during the bout, including six in the middle stanza.
Joey Gould followed up Smith's decisive victory with a quick pin. The sophomore, a 133-pounder wrestling up at 149 for the first time in his collegiate career, tied up Braden Stahlnecker and brought his shoulders to the mat just 3:23 into the bout.
While the Huskies responded with a pin of their own at 157 pounds, D.J. Hollingshead regained the momentum for the Bison with a commanding 11-2 major decision over Nate Newberry at 165 pounds. Hollingshead scored three points in the first period and then built up a sizable riding time advantage in the second; then, he scored a quick reversal to start the third period and posted two more takedowns to score the major.
At 174 pounds, Nick Stephani earned one of the most dramatic victories of the night over Kyle Murphy. Trailing by a 4-2 margin in the third period, Stephani scored a takedown as the clock hit the minute mark to even the score. Then, as time expired, he gained control of Murphy to pull out a crucial 6-4 win.
Phipps topped Trevor Allard, who entered the dual with a 25-10 record, at 184 pounds. Early in the second period, Phipps netted four back points, which proved to be the difference as he won by a 7-4 decision. Phipps improved to 20-9 with his win, joining Smith (24-3) as the only Bison to reach the 20-win plateau this season.
Before Smith finished the year with a 16-0 dual record, the last Bison to go undefeated in dual competition (minimum five starts) was Andy Rendos. In 2009-10, Rendos went 12-0 at 165 pounds; he went on to win Bucknell's first EIWA title and place sixth at the NCAA championships.
With that 25-11 major decision over Bloomsburg's Shawn Orem, Tyler Smith finishes dual action 16-0!— Bucknell Wrestling (@Bucknell_WRST) February 18, 2018
He's the first Bison to go undefeated in dual competition since 2009-10. #DoMore #rayBucknell pic.twitter.com/YGZqU7wLCL
Smith will conclude his collegiate dual career on a 26-bout winning streak. Over the course of his winning streak, which began on Jan. 14, 2017, he racked up bonus points in 18 bouts, winning four by fall, four by technical fall and 10 by major decision.
Bucknell (3-14, 2-7 EIWA) next competes at the EIWA Championships on March 3-4 at Hofstra's David S. Mack Sports and Exhibition Complex in Hempstead, N.Y.
125: Willy Girard (Bloom) maj. dec. over Mike Macklin (BU) 12-0
133: Andy Schutz (Bloom) dec. over David Campbell (BU) 4-3
141: No. 14/11/17 Tyler Smith (BU) maj. dec. over Shawn Orem (Bloom) 25-11
149: Joey Gould (BU) fall over Braden Stahlnecker (Bloom) 3:23
157: Kevin Laubach, Jr. (Bloom) fall over Andrew Millsap (BU) 6:28
165: D.J. Hollingshead (BU) maj. dec. over Nate Newberry (Bloom) 11-2
174: Nick Stephani (BU) dec. over Kyle Murphy (Bloom) 6-4
184: Drew Phipps (BU) dec. over Trevor Allard (Bloom) 7-4
197: Logan Womelsdorf (Bloom) fall over Chad Reese (BU) 4:08
285: Bruce Graeber (Bloom) dec. over Brandon Stokes (BU) 3-0
Note: Rankings are Intermat/The Open Mat/FloWrestling