The Gannon University wrestling team had two competitors place among the top six at its most recent outing, the annual Findlay Open on Nov. 19.
Freshman Carmine Ciotti followed up on his impressive season debut earlier this month by finishing fifth at 133 pounds, and junior Jake Stratton wound up sixth at 174 pounds.
A total of 18 teams participated in the tournament, and each bracket featured an average of 22 wrestlers battling for the gold.
The Knights had at least one wrestler competing in eight of the 10 weight class brackets.
Gannon did not have an entry at 184 pounds or in the heavyweight bracket, as redshirt sophomore Nick Costa (184) and redshirt junior heavyweight Nick Budd both sat out the weekend due to injury.
Also sitting out due to injury was Eric Lewandowski, who is regionally ranked at 157 pounds.
Ciotti came through with another stellar performance, winning six of his seven outings at 133.
The freshman from Erie bounced back from a 3-2 second-round loss to Ashland’s Mike Labry — ranked No. 2 among all NCAA Division II wrestlers in that weight class — to win five straight to take fifth place.
He capped that streak by posting an 8-2 decision against Wheeling Jesuit’s Nolan Whitely in the match for fifth place.
With three more pins, a major decision and his first technical fall of the season, Ciotti improved his season record to a team-best 10-1.
Stratton opened by pinning Christian Hipsher of John Carroll in 2 minutes, 20 seconds. After losing, 16-10, to Tiffin’s Nicholas Mason, Stratton posted four straight wins before falling to Lane Hinkle in the battle for fifth place.
The 174-pound class featured an all-Gannon matchup that pitted Stratton against redshirt junior Christopher Matthews, who blitzed Paul Mizia of Mercyhurst by technical fall, 18-0, to reach the quarterfinals, where he fell to Bradley Metz of Findlay.
That dropped Matthews — ranked third in Super Rgion One — into the consolation bracket, where he met Stratton.
In the previous tournament, Matthews prevailed in a similar battle, posting a 14-4 major decision over his teammate.
But this time around, Stratton got the win with a pin in the second period. Stratton would go on to post another pin before ultimately taking sixth place in the tournament.
The Knights will return to action in a tri-meet Saturday in Shippensburg against the host Raiders and Millersville.
Gannon did not compete during the Thanksgiving weekend and 174-pounder Louis Crawford said before the time off that he and his teammates would try to enjoy the break – to a degree.
“It’s good to get a break, but that doesn’t mean that we will be relaxing the whole time,” he said. “It’s great to go home for Thanksgiving, but each wrestler is going to be watching their weight.”
Extra practices, Crawford said, aren’t even considered “extra” anymore. “It just becomes part of the grind,” he said.