Gannon University’s wrestling team fought neck-and-neck with the 12th-ranked Lake Erie Storm Wednesday before the visiting Knights captured the 23-22 decision.
Redshirt junior Nick Budd tied the score at 22-22 after a 3-2 comeback win in the heavyweight class, and Gannon wound up with the victory on the basis of a tiebreaker tied to the number of nearfall points.
The nail-biting win in the final dual meet of the season for both teams improved Gannon’s overall record to 8-2 in dual meets.
In the deciding match, Brandon Houle of Lake Erie took an early 2-0 lead in the first after a takedown.
Budd answered with a quick escape, giving him one point in the first three minutes.
Starting down in the second period, Budd was able to make another escape to tie the score, 2-2.
Houle started the third period down and Budd was able to claim a point for riding time, giving him the 3-2 win and tying the score at 22-22.
The tie was broken by the fourth criterion, which is nearfall points. Gannon tallied five nearfalls for 18 points while Lake Erie had five for 16 points, thus giving the Knights the win.
Two matches before, Gannnon junior Jake Stratton won in the 174-pound weight class. Stratton led after the first period over Brendon Winning, as he posted a pair of takedowns and an escape to put the score at 5-3.
In the second period, Stratton added two more takedowns, stretching his lead to 9-4 after an escape by Winning. Winning was able to shorten the deficit to 9-7 with an escape and takedown in the final period.
Stratton answered with four takedowns and an escape marking the most takedowns of the match for him in one period.
Winning answered the first three takedowns with a few escapes but Stratton rode out the fourth for an 18-10 win by major decision.
In the 157-pound division, Gannon junior Eric Lewandowski claimed a 16-0 victory over The Storm’s Josh Pappas by technical fall. Lewandowski was efficient with time, defeating Pappas within the first period.
He was able to do it with a takedown, three four-point nearfalls and one two-point nearfall to cap off the period.
Senior John Marotto added to Gannon’s wins with a major decision over Lake Erie’s Zach Ruggles at 141 pounds.
After the first period Marotto owned a 10-2 lead and during the middle frame he extended his lead to 14-3.
In the last period Marotto managed two more takedowns to match Ruggles’ three escapes for an 18-6 win.
The Knights’ win was aided by a strong start in the 125-pound class, as Gannon freshman Abraham Guarriello pinned Lake Erie’s Blake Glogouski in the opening period.
Guarriello managed a quick two points before Glogouski answered with an escape, earning him a point and putting the score at 2-1.
With 66 seconds left in the first period Guarriello responded with another takedown that he turned into a pin to win the match.
Next on the Knights’ radar is the NCAA Division II Super Regional One hosted by Mercyhurst University Friday through Saturday.
Head coach Don Henry said there are quite a few tough weight classes in the upcoming Super Regional One.
“We are going to continue to do what has made us successful over the last six weeks,” Henry said. “Work hard in the wrestling room, put in the extra time in the weight room and learn something from every match.”
Gannon will look to improve on last year’s effort, when the Knights finished sixth among 15 teams and had three wrestlers finish among the top four of their weight classes to earn trips to the NCAA Division II national championships.