HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. – Bucknell's Tyler Smith punched his ticket to his fourth-straight NCAA Championships with a runner-up finish in the 141-pound weight class at the EIWA Championships on Sunday at Hofstra's David S. Mack Sports and Exhibition Complex.
Smith became the fourth Bison since the wrestling program was reinstated ahead of the 2006-07 season to qualify for the NCAA Championships during all four years of his collegiate career. David Marble (2007-10, 133), Andy Rendos (2007-10, 165) and Joe Stolfi (2013-16, 285) previously accomplished the feat.
Smith advanced to his first EIWA championship bout behind a 5-2 decision over Lehigh's Luke Karam, the No. 3 seed and Intermat's 18th-ranked 141 pounder. After a scoreless first period, Smith got on the board 41 seconds into the middle stanza with a takedown. He then extended his lead to 4-1 with another takedown at the 1:08 mark of the third frame and picked up the bonus point thanks to his riding time advantage.
Smith faced top-seeded Yianni Diakomilhalis of Cornell in the championship bout. Diakomilhalis, a freshman ranked third by Intermat, raced out to a 6-3 lead in the first period and never looked back, ultimately topping Smith by a 17-9 major decision. The loss snapped Smith's winning streak, which began on Dec. 30 with a victory in the Ken Kraft Midlands Championships' third-place bout, at 17.
Smith is Bucknell's seventh EIWA runner-up, joining Marble (2008, 133), Rendos (2009, 165), Kevin LeValley (2010, 149), Stolfi (2015 & 2016, 285), Paul Petrov (2016, 125) and Tom Sleigh (2017, 197). Smith will graduate as a three-time EIWA placewinner, as he took third as a freshman in 2015 and fourth as a junior in 2017. He posted a 12-6 all-time record at the EIWA Championships.
David Campbell (133) and Drew Phipps (184) placed eighth at their first EIWA Championships, each going 2-3 over the course of the two-day event. In the seventh-place bout, Campbell, a freshman, gave fifth-seeded Lane Peters of Army West Point a battle but ultimately ceded a 5-0 decision.
Phipps, who only faced seeded opponents during his run at the EIWA's premier event, narrowly missed securing an auto bid to the NCAA Championships; he fell to Penn's Joe Heyob, the No. 7 seed, in the seventh-place bout by a 13-5 major decision. The sophomore could still join Smith in Cleveland, Ohio if he is awarded an at-large bid.
The Bison, who have now placed at least three wrestlers on the EIWA podium every year since 2007, finished 14th in the team standings with 32 points. No. 8 Lehigh snapped No. 11 Cornell's streak of EIWA titles at 11; the Mountain Hawks claimed their 35th championship with 164.5 points, 18.5 more than the Big Red. Princeton rounded out the top three teams.
The NCAA Championships will take place on March 15-17 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.
133: David Campbell (8th Place, 2-3)
Round of 16: W, dec. over #6 Gianni Ghione (Penn), 4-2
Quarterfinals: L, dec. to #3 Josh Terao (American), 6-1
Consolation Round of 8 #2: W, dec. over Garrett Lambert (Hofstra), 8-4
Consolation Round of 4: L, dec. to #8 Jacob Nicholson (Binghamton), 8-1
Seventh-Place Match: L, dec. to #5 Lane Peters (Army West Point), 5-0
141: #2 Tyler Smith (2nd Place, 3-1)
Round of 16: W, fall over Carl Antrassian (Penn), 5:45
Quarterfinals: W, technical fall over #7 Kizhan Clarke (American), 15-0 (6:22)
Semifinals: W, dec. over #3 Luke Karam (#8 Lehigh), 5-2
Finals: L, maj. dec. to #1 Yianni Diakomilhalis (#11 Cornell), 17-9
184: #8 Drew Phipps (8th Place, 2-3)
Round of 16: W, dec. over #9 Noah Stewart (Army West Point), 5-1
Quarterfinals: L, dec. to #1 Ryan Preisch (#8 Lehigh), 8-1
Consolation Round of 8 #2: W, dec. over #10 Kanon Dean (Harvard), 5-4
Consolation Round of 4: L, dec. to #4 Alex DeCiantis (#25 Drexel), 10-6
Seventh-Place Match: L, maj. dec. to #7 Joe Heyob (Penn), 13-5
Note: Number listed beside wrestler is EIWA Championships seed, number listed beside team is national ranking
For Bucknell's Saturday results, visit this link.
1. Lehigh 164.5
2. Cornell 146.0
3. Princeton 93.0
4. Drexel 86.5
5. Navy 83.0
6. American 66.5
7. Binghamton 65.5
8. Army West Point 56.5
9. Columbia 55.5
10. Brown 50.0
11. Harvard 49.5
12. Penn 48.5
13. Hofstra 37.0
14. Bucknell 32.0
15. Franklin & Marshall 17.5
16. Sacred Heart 2.5