Fernandez reaches finals for third straight tournament to open wrestling season

Brian Lukacsy December 8, 2016 0

The Elizabethtown College men’s wrestling team competed at the New Standard Corporation Invitational this past weekend at York (Pennsylvania) College. Senior Luke Fernandez made it to the championship match for the third time in three tournaments.

Fernandez entered the tournament with an 11-1 record and was ranked in both national polls. Fernandez was ranked third on D3wrestle.com, while National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) ranked him sixth.

Fernandez began the tournament with a major decision over the College of New Jersey’s Kyle Schlittler and followed up with another major decision victory over SUNY Cortland’s Kevin Morgans, 8-0. Schlittler’s dominance over the first two matches pushed him into a quarterfinal match up against NWCA No. 8 Tyler Maclellan of Baldwin Wallace University.

The match up between Fernandez and Maclellan was the third time the two wrestled each other in their careers. With Saturday’s 3-2 quarterfinal victory over Maclellan, he has now won all three matches against the Baldwin Wallace wrestler by one point each. The two matched up twice last year with the final meeting coming in the NCAA Division III Championships.

Fernandez’s 3-2 semifinal decision over No. 4/6 AJ Kowal of Stevens Institute of Technology placed him into the finals against the College of Brockport’s Triston Engle. Engle handed Fernandez his second defeat in 17 matches and took home the title with a pin in just 1:51. Fernandez also placed second in the Messiah Invitational back on Nov. 5.

At 125 pounds, junior Philip Torresani fell to No. 8 Robert Murray of Stevens in the second round, 1-0. Torresani fought back to earn a 13-4 major decision over Steven’s Michael Heck and an 11-5 victory over the Coast Guard Academy’s Earl Roberts. His final win of the day was a 7-4 decision over Ithaca College’s Tito Colom to propel Torresani into the consolation quarterfinals.

In the quarterfinals, Torresani was tripped up by Williams College’s Matt Morris, 3-2. With the win, Torresani would have picked up his 50th career victory. At 133 pounds, senior Bryan Pflanz advanced to the quarterfinals. He defeated Delaware Valley College’s Max Styer by pin and Baldwin Wallace’s Charlie Nash, 7-4. Pflanz was pinned by Stevens’ Troy Stanich before he was forced to retire in his consolation quarterfinal match.

Junior Eric Eckstein competed at 285 pounds and earned two wins in his four matches Saturday. Eckstein defeated York’s Stefanos Karpontinis, 3-2 in overtime. He also took down Coast Guard’s Patrick Irwin, 6- 5.

Etown traveled to Baltimore on Tuesday night for a dual match against Johns Hopkins University. Torresani picked up his 50th career victory, but the Blue Jays could not overcome Johns Hopkins.

Torresani’s victory at 125 came because of a forfeit, improving his career record to 50-34. The Blue Jays jumped out to a 10-0 lead after first-year Colton Rex earned his first career major decision, 16-6, over Christian Vallis.

Johns Hopkins would win the next seven weight classes and go on to win the match, 34-13. Eckstein earned his 14th win of the year to give the Blue Jays three wins for the evening.

Etown will return to the mat after the holidays when they compete in the North-South Duals at Ursinus College.


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