Cox, Sita Lead AB Wrestling at Petrofes Invitational

December 2, 2017

GRANTHAM, Pa. — Behind second-place finishes from Curtis Cox and Giovanni Sita, the Alderson Broaddus wrestling team finished in seventh place of 15 teams at the Petrofes Invitational on Friday and Saturday at Messiah College.

"Overall I think we made progress," said head coach Sam Gardner. "A couple weeks ago was a low point for the team. Losing duals you believe you should win always hurts, but the sometimes they hurt worse because of how poorly you wrestled as a team. To comeback and compete pretty well in a tournament that is recognized as being one of the tougher small college invitationals in the East is a good thing. We entered 13 guys at nine weights, and we scored team points in eight weight classes."

At 133 pounds, Cox took home the first second-place finish for the Battlers. After earning a pin and a technical fall in his first two matches, Cox finished 3-0 on day one after earning another tech fall (16-0) to advance to the semifinals. On Saturday morning, Cox defeated Ian Tolotti of Springfield 11-6 to advance to the finals. 

In the championship match, Cox was topped by Hunter Harris from Messiah in a first-period pin.

"Curtis looked great up until the finals," said Gardner. "His finals opponent played a similar game to Curtis and beat him to the punch first. That happens. Still, he's moved to 11-2 on the year and is wrestling well."

At 174 pounds, Sita also finished 4-1 to finish in second place for the Battlers. After finishing 3-0 on Friday, Sita earned an 11-7 decision over Caleb Baxter of Waynesburg on Saturday morning to dance to the championship match. In the finals, Sita wrestled Ben Swarr, also from Messiah, and fell 14-3.

"Gino looked very good in his first four matches," said Gardner. "People enjoy watching him wrestle, as he really gets after it and dictates an active pace. In the final against the former Div.3 champion and currently No.1 ranked guy we were a little bit out horsed. He gave us insight in to some of the holes in Gino's game. As much as you want to win a match like that sometimes a loss is a blessing. A loss forces you to address problems you might have ignored when you were winning all the time."

Joining Sita at 174 pounds, Logan Shurina wrestled for the Battlers and won his first two matches to begin the tournament 2-0. In his next match, he lost to eventual champion Swarr, in a first period fall to send him to the consolation bracket. After winning his next match, Shurina closed out his tournament forfeiting the final two matches to finish in eighth place overall.

At 184 pounds, Sam Solomon, took the same route as Shurina and won his first two matches, both by pin, before falling to Henry Oberlander of Bridgewater State in the quarterfinals. In the consolation bracket, Solomon finished with two more pins to improve to 4-1 and then fell to Victor DeFrance in the consolation semifinals with a 7-3 loss. In the fifth place match, he returned the favor against Oberlander and pinned him in the second period to place fifth.

"Sam Solomon won the most falls trophy with five pins," said Gardner. "The officials and other coaches enjoyed watching him wrestle because he's entertaining. I think he was capable of winning the whole thing, but one mistake in the quarters hurt him. When he gets moving and he's attacking he's got the ability to beat a lot of very good people."

At 197, Alex Eaton of the Battlers finished in sixth place with an overall record of of 3-3. After a first-round bye, Eaton picked up a victory before losing in the quarters 12-7. In the consolation round, Eaton won two more matches, including one in overtime, before he was injured in the consolation semis late in the second period to end the match. Eaton concluded his day after forfeiting medically in the final match to finish in sixth place overall.

"Alex Eaton is having a really nice freshman year," Gardner said. "He's got 13 wins, which is second most on the team. He's getting better every tournament or meet we enter. He had a couple real brawls in this tournament and came out on top in them. He's deceptively athletic, and he's learning to wrestle a college style without losing his natural proclivity for scoring big points."

Also wrestling for AB, Brendan Coughlin and Drew Whaley each competed at the 125-pound weight class. Each one fell in their opening match before coming back to win their opening match in consolations. In the following round, Coughlin fell 4-3 to Paul Gonzalez of West Virginia Tech and Whaley lost to Trent Gill from Mount Union in a second-period pin.

At 141 pounds and 157 pounds, Parker Brown and Derek Schmidt also finished 1-2 on the day for the Battlers. At 165 pounds, Nick Sulholff received a first-round bye before getting pinned in his first match. In wrestle-backs, Sulhoff won 6-3 in his next match before closing his day with a fall to Conner Homan from Mount Union to finish 1-2.

Following the holiday break, the Battlers return to the mat on Saturday January 6th when they travel to compete at the Waynesburg Invitational.

"Compared to last year we showed some marked improvement," said Gardner. "We moved up five places in the team race, from 12th to seventh. We had our first two finalists compared to none last year. We have five place winner compared to four in 2016. We won more total matches and had a higher winning percentage in this meet than the previous year. We still have a lot of work to do, but I think this team can and will continue to grow and improve as the year goes on."


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