Cardinals Upset No. 7 CSU-Pueblo, Drop Pair vs. Top 10 Teams at National Duals


January 4, 2018

FORT WAYNE, Ind. The magic could not be bottled up from last January as a semifinal return trip fell short. The Wheeling Jesuit wrestlers started the National Collegiate Coaches Association National Duals by upsetting co-No. 7 Colorado State-Pueblo, 20-18, before it dropped matchups against two other Top 10-ranked clubs.

After a Justice Avery pin tied the match at 15, the Cardinals (5-3) saw the co-No. 7 Golden Knights of Gannon take the final three bouts for the 27-15 Quarterfinal win. In the consolation second round, No. 6 Central Oklahoma ran off wins in the final five matches, including three falls, for a 33-12 final to eliminate WJU.

"What a scrap those three duals were today! We were in position to make the semifinals and just missed. However, there were so many positives from the effort our men put forth that we leave here with a good feeling for the direction we are heading as a program," said WJU head coach Danny Irwin. "The last eight days of this program's work is something I believe we are going to remember when we are having big moments at the Qualifier and the NCAA Championships!"

Continuing to make a big splash, freshman Connor Craig ran through his 157-pound competition to a tune of a 3-0 day. The now 15-4 first-year Cardinal scored a 10-2 major against CSU-Pueblo and rallied from an 8-4 deficit for an 11-9 overtime win versus Gannon, before he pinned his Central Oklahoma foe in 2:28.

Redshirt freshman Tyler Warner (141) was one-point shy of being a second undefeated WJU wrestler. He dropped a tough 3-2 opening match, before he pinned his Gannon opponent in 45 seconds and took a 4-1 decision over Central Oklahoma. Justice Avery won twice at 174 with a forfeit and a fall over Gannon.

"Connor Craig dug deep for a thrilling come-from-behind win to go with two dominating wins over two Top 10-ranked individuals. We have been pushing Connor hard in the room and he is responding well. Connor is showing a relentless attitude out there that is coming full circle right now," noted Irwin.

Craig added of his day, "I am very pleased with how I performed. I have had a problem of not trusting my abilities and giving up easily once I get down by a couple points or so, but something has clicked recently where I go out there not doubting what I'm capable of, and competing how I know I can. Today has proven to me where I stand nationally and gives me a better understanding of the competition I will see at regionals and nationals. At the end of the day, the work needs to continue in some aspects, but I couldn't be happier with today's outcomes!"

In the opening match, WJU wrestled from behind the entire time. After three opening defeats, Daniel Romero put the Cardinals on the board with a 3-1 decision. Craig followed with a major decision upset, 10-2, of the No.9-ranked Kyle Fantin to make it 12-7.

Trailing 15-7, Avery received a 174-pound forfeit to make it 15-13. Following a 7-2 loss at 184, Sawyer Leppla registered a dominating 12-0 major, before Terrance Fanning won the match with a 13-6 decision for the 20-18 team win.

WJU will now be off until it travels across Pennsylvania for the Ursinus' Will Abele Open next Saturday, Jan. 13.

Match Results
Wheeling Jesuit 20, No. 7 Colorado State-Pueblo 18

125 Josiah Seaton (CSUP) by forfeit CSUP 6-0
133 Paul Gereia, Jr. (CSUP) dec. Jaylen Hill (WJU), 2-1 CSUP 9-0
141 Clay Archer (CSUP) dec. Tyler Warner (WJU), 3-2 CSUP 12-0
149 Daniel Romero (WJU) dec. Gavin Melendez (CSUP), 3-1 CSUP 12-3
157 Connor Craig (WJU) maj. dec. #9 Kyle Fantin (CSUP), 10-2 CSUP 12-7
165 JaCobi Jones (CSUP) dec. Keegan Driscoll (WJU), 6-3 CSUP 15-7
174 Justice Avery (WJU) by forfeit CSUP 15-13
184 JaVaughn Perkins (CSUP) dec. Aiden Pasiuk (WJU), 7-2 CSUP 18-13
197 Sawyer Leppla (WJU) maj. dec. Donavon Rincon (CSUP), 12-0 CSUP 18-17
285 Terrance Fanning (WJU) dec. Cody Johnson (CSUP), 13-6 WJU 20-18

No. 7 Gannon 27, Wheeling Jesuit 15

125 Jacob Dunlap (GU) by forfeit GU 6-0
133 Austin Hertel (GU) dec. Jaylen Hill (WJU), 2-1 TB 3OT GU 9-0
141 Tyler Warner (WJU) fall Carmine Ciotti (GU), 0:45 GU 9-6
149 George McGuire (GU) dec. Daniel Romero (WJU), 5-0 GU 12-6
157 Connor Craig (WJU) dec. Giovanni Ciotti (GU), 11-9 SV GU 12-9
165 Nate Ross (GU) dec. Keegan Driscoll (WJU), 9-3 GU 15-9
174 Justice Avery (WJU) fall Jake Stratton (CSUP), 6:37 Tied 15-15
184 Nick Costa (GU) dec. Aiden Pasiuk (WJU), 4-1 GU 18-15
197 Ethan Budd (GU) inj. forfeit Sawyer Leppla (WJU), 3:56 GU 24-15
285 Nick Budd (GU) dec. Terrance Fanning (WJU), 7-6 GU 27-15

No. 6 Central Oklahoma 33, Wheeling Jesuit 12

125 Zach D'Amich (UCO) by forfeit UCO 6-0
133 Jaylen Hill (WJU) dec. Blake Dauphin (UCO), 7-3 UCO 6-3
141 Tyler Warner (WJU) dec. Rio Zamora (UCO), 4-1 Tied 6-6
149 Will Steltzein (UCO) dec. Daniel Romero (WJU), 11-6 UCO 9-6
157 Connor Craig (WJU) fall Bryan Dutton (UCO), 2:28 WJU 12-9
165 Mason Thompson (UCO) dec. Keegan Driscoll (WJU), 8-4 Tied 12-12
174 Miguel Barreras (UCO) fall Justice Avery (WJU), 4:10 UCO 18-12
184 Joel Dixon (UCO) dec. Peyton Geary (WJU), 3-2 UCO 21-12
197 Colton Looper (UCO) fall Chase Logan (WJU), 2:26 UCO 27-12
285 #6 Caleb Cotter (UCO) fall Terrance Fanning (WJU), 2:40 UCO 33-12




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