By Nicholas Saccaro
On Tuesday, Nov. 24, while ESU’s students were getting ready to go home and enjoy their Thanksgiving turkey, the ESU men’s wrestling team took on No. 6 Pitt-Johnstown (UPJ) at Koehler Fieldhouse.
Through the first five matches, ESU led 15-10 behind redshirt junior Marius Kola (133) and freshman Mike Raccioppi (149), who both won by fall.
After that, UPJ went on a tear winning the final five bouts of the day to finish off ESU 33-15.
Starting at 125, UPJ’s Evan Link defeated redshirt freshman Collyn Dorney by major decision at 16-4 giving UPJ a 4-0 lead.
After getting out to a 12-5 lead, Kola pinned UPJ junior Troy Dolan at 5:12 to give ESU a 6-4 lead going into bout number three.
At 141, UPJ senior Sam Hanau took a forfeit from ESU as they did not have anyone in that spot. That gave UPJ a 10-6 lead.
Then at 149, Raccioppi pinned senior Travis Shaffer in the second period at 3:47 after holding a 7-4 lead beforehand. That gave ESU a 15-10 lead.
Raccioppi now has a record of 8-2 as a true freshman. Raccioppi has gotten off to a good start and really seems to be wrestling well at the college level. He seems to know what he’s doing and is comfortable in any position on the mat.
Following Raccioppi’s match, ESU junior Joey Kratochvil (157) won in overtime against UPJ’s Luke Palamides by a score of 5-3. Kratochvil got a takedown 28 seconds into overtime.
Then at 165, Pitt-Johnstown’s No. 8-ranked Tyler Reinhart won by technical fall over ESU freshman Josh Deutel. That made the score 15-15.
The 174 match was uneventful as UPJ junior No. 4 John Blackenship, a returning All-American, pinned ESU senior Colin Martucci in the third period at 6:51.
184 had the same result. UPJ’s No. 4-ranked Travis McKillop, a three-time returning All-American, pinned ESU junior Brandon Steele in the first period at 1:27. The Mountain Cats now led ESU 27-15.
The final two matches were perhaps the toughest losses for ESU, as UPJ freshman Tyler Oliver defeated ESU’s No. 6-ranked Tyler Richardson by a score of 3-1.
It was a hard fought match, and Oliver had a good defense that prevented Richardson from scoring.
Following at heavyweight (285), UPJ’s D.J. Simmons defeated ESU’s Tyson Searer by a score of 6-1.
The final score was UPJ 33, ESU 15.
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