Wrestling defeated by Gannon in rivalry duel


Breonna Bailey

Alexis Soriano gets ready as Gannon University’s Austin Hertel lunges forward. Gannon won the annual crosstown match 20-15.

Lauren Abbott, Opinion editor

On Feb. 14 the Mercyhurst wrestlers had their last home meet against their rivals, Gannon University’s Golden Knights. The Lakers ended the regular season with an 11-2 dual meet record after the loss.

Final score for the match was 20-15, Golden Knights. Out of the 10 matches of the day, six went to the Golden Knights and four to the Lakers.

Prior to the loss and the previous week’s loss to Pitt-Johnstown, the Lakers were undefeated.

The crosstown rivalry match-up saw great turnout from members of the Mercyhurst community for the meet.

“The support we got for our final home match was great. We had a lot of other Mercyhurst teams in attendance along with our usual fan base,” said Laker head coach Mike Wehler.

While the Lakers didn’t win the meet, there were a couple of wrestlers who won their individual matches.

“Obviously, I preferred to have a different overall outcome, but we had a lot of good individual performances in that match,” said Wehler. “Eric Bartos claimed a win in a 3-1 overtime decision at 125 pounds. Gavin Wilkerson earned a first period fall at 165 pounds. Wes Phipps earned a 8-3 decision at 197 pounds. ”

One particularly good match was that of Jake Robb, a freshman for the Lakers, who “defeated a returning All-American who was a fifth year senior,” Wehler said.

Robb claimed a 4-0 win in the 285 heavyweight against No. 7 ranked Nick Budd, which brought the final team score to 20-15 Gannon.

The Lakers also celebrated their senior night at this meet and honored five seniors.

Seniors Joel Bowers, Mason McCollum, Paul Mizia, Wes Phipps and Dakota DesLauriers were all honored before the start of the meet.

“It’s bittersweet anytime you say goodbye to a senior class,” said Wehler. “As a coach you grow very close to your athletes and they become part of your family. I feel like a dad who is sending their sons off into the world. I’m excited for their futures, but sad to see them leave.”

The Lakers will compete in the Super Region I tournament on Feb. 23.

The Johnstown tournament is the second to last competition of the Mercyhurst team’s scheduled season before the Lakers head to Grand Rapids, Mich for the NCAA Division II National tournament.