The Elizabethtown College wrestling team has certainly had a stellar year so far and showed no signs of stopping as the No. 22 team competed at the York Invitational on Saturday. The meet was a tense one, as all the teams — The College of New Jersey (TCNJ), Hunter College and York College — were quite strong, with many victories under their belt.
When Etown faced No. 30 TCNJ they came out on top with a 24-22 win despite a rough start. In the first match Etown won by forfeit but the next two were taken by New Jersey. Etown came back to earn the win after sophomore Michael Henning won the next match and lead the drive for Etown’s victory.
Etown was able to keep up its winning streak with a 25-21 win over Hunter. The contest started off with a bang for Etown with senior Will Bentley’s 10-1 victory over Hunter opponent Oliver Lopez. From there, the Jays were reinvigorated and won the next several matches handily.
The last match was against No. 15 York who Etown had not faced in a few years. Unfortunately, Etown was unable to triumph and lost 30-15. Once again, Bentley scored a win against York, winning 5-3, but York won the next four matches. Despite Etown making an inspiring comeback and earning a win in the final match, they were unable to overcome York.
The next meet was against Kings College on Feb. 8. The match was senior night as well as the last home meet of the regular season. Unfortunately not all seniors got a chance to compete, as there were not enough opponents to accommodate them. Seniors Bentley, Kyle Deeds, Quint Eno, Mike Evarista, Tim Goldkamp, Bill Meaney, Ken Nakagawa and Henry Tucker were honored.
Coach Eric Walker is busy preparing for the conference at the end of the month after the regular season ends. “Everything is preparation for Conference, even the [York] Invitational. Not one day this year have we been able to give our toughest lineup,” he said, admitting it’s been a tough season.“But we’ve had solid guys to back us up.”
Walker is still training the team for the upcoming conference, emphasizing constant discipline for his team. “Weight control, constant maintenance is the key to success in the conference tour,” he said. Along with physical conditioning, Walker tries to keep his team mentally sharp and not complacent due to the recent string of victories Etown has earned in the face of injuries to players including sophomore Tye Boyer, who plans to come back for the upcoming conference.
While wrestling is a team sport, Walker has pleasantly noticed the progress and talent of upcoming wrestlers like sophomore Julian Meaney, who “is really starting to showcase what he is capable of.” Walker has been extremely impressed with the effort and chemistry of the team as a whole and their ability to remain “prepped, primed and peaking.”
Walker also noted certain “benchmarks” the team had achieved this season such as the victory over Centenary College. Centenary was winning with a huge 18-4 lead, but Eno and Julian Meaney managed to turn the tables and win 23-22 in a stunning victory. Walker also mentioned the early season 30-13 win over Delaware Valley as another important event this year.
Etown still has one match to go before the end of the regular season. The Metropolitan Conference Championships will be held at Etown’s own Thompson Gymnasium on Feb. 26.