ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Tyler Smith (141 pounds) and Victor Lopez (157) won titles at the Navy Classic on Saturday to pace the Bison wrestling team that had a total of seven placewinners on the way to a fourth-place finish in the team standings. It marked Bucknell’s highest finish at the event since placing third in 2011-12.
In addition to Smith and Lopez, freshman Zach Firestone (4th at 133), freshman Garrett Hoffman (6th at 184), freshman Drew Phipps (2nd at 197), junior Tom Sleigh (3rd at 197) and senior Tyler Greene (5th at 285) were Bison placewinners.
Bucknell finished behind only team champion Indiana (155.5 points), host Navy (114.5) and Kent State (113.5) in the 12-team field. The Bison totaled 108 points.
Smith posted a 4-0 record on the day, including two bonus-point victories. He advanced to the final with a tight 2-1 victory over Navy’s Nicholas Gil in the semis and then defeated Navy’s Jared Prince 8-1 in the championship bout.
Lopez breezed to his title, winning twice by fall and once by tech fall. His closest match was a 5-3 decision in the quarterfinals over Ohio’s Zach Wilson. Lopez took first place thanks to a 16-0 tech fall in 2:46 against Kent State’s Casey Sparkman. Lopez is now 5-1 this year and 85-45 in his career, putting him into 13th place on the program’s all-time wins list.
Phipps and Sleigh gave Bucknell two of the top three places at 197 pounds. Phipps won three consecutive bouts to advance to the championship before falling to Navy’s Steban Cervantes 7-3. Sleigh lost to Cervantes in the semifinal, but came back to defeat Kent State’s Stephen Suglio in the third-place match. Sleigh won twice by major decision and once by decision. Phipps continues to lead the Bison in victories this year (8).
Firestone, one of three Bison rookies to be placewinners, advanced to the semifinals of the 133-pound bracket, winning two matches by a combined 19-4 score. He then lost to eventual champion Anthony Tutolo (Kent State), before coming back with a win by fall in the consolation bracket. He then lost to Indiana’s Garrett Pepple in the third-place bout.
Hoffman lost his first bout of the day, but reeled off four consecutive victories in the wrestlebacks. Three of those victories were by just two points. Hoffman then lost his final two matches of the day to finish in sixth place.
Greene advanced to the semifinals of the 285-pound bracket thanks to a fall and a major decision. He then lost to eventual champion Zach Roseberry, but eventually recorded a pin in the fifth-place match to become a placewinner at the Navy Classic for the first time.
Bucknell will now be idle until it travels to the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational Dec. 2-3.