Knights pinned in one-point loss

Rebuilding is a term that’s often shied away from in sports. The opposite is true, however, for the Gannon University wrestling team, which featured five redshirt freshmen in its 20-19 loss to Kutztown University Saturday.

The Knights also dropped a 23-13 decision to rival Mercyhurst University on the road Thursday to move their record to 7-3.

Despite the youth, coach Don Henry said the Knights have shown signs of progress throughout their season.

“We’ve been wrestling much better than what people expected us to do up to this point,” he said. “We’re a really young team, but improving with every match.”

Against Kutztown, each team wrapped up five victories, but Kutztown earned a bonus point in three matches compared with Gannon’s two to comprise the margin.

Junior 157-pounder Sean Floor briefly gave the Knights a 10-7 lead with his 4-1 win, before Kutztown took three in a row.

Floor said the Knights are improving but must take something from each match.

“I believe we are progressing, but that we should take these last couple losses and learn from our mistakes, because that’s all part of the maturing process,” Floor said.

Henry said the Knights were in good position to win Saturday, but weren’t able to get it done.

“We’ve wrestled some really good teams and beat some good teams,” Henry said. “We’ve also lost a couple matches we probably shouldn’t have, but at this point, most people probably expected us to have four or five wins.”

However, Gannon wasn’t without its highlights Saturday. Senior Ethan Swope, who is ranked fifth nationally, scored a 9-1 major decision in the 149-pound weight class. It was Swope’s second of the week, as he also recorded an 11-3 win against Mercyhurst.

Still, the Knights will have to put their faith in younger wrestlers, who, thus far, have impressed. Floor said the younger wrestlers are beginning to find their identity.

“They’re stepping up into their roles that they need to,” he said.

The Knights hope all pistons are firing by the time they enter the NCAA Division II Super Regional One tournament at the end of February.

For now however, the Knights say they are only worried about their next match at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown Wednesday.

“Our team’s approach is to keep on grinding and win this next one for sure and come back and beat Ship at home,” redshirt freshman Scott Bulzan said.

The Knights will return home to face Shippensburg University 8 p.m. Friday.

JOE CUNEO

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