The Elizabethtown College wrestling team competed at the Messiah Invitational this past weekend. The Blue Jays were led by four individual wrestlers that placed at the event. Fifth-year senior Bryan Pflanz took home the 133-pound title by defeating Ursinus’ Trey Harkness, 1-0.
Pflanz earned a berth in the 133-pound final at the Messiah Invitational last year but fell in the title match to finish second. On Saturday, Pflanz was not going to settle for second place. He pinned two of his four opponents on his way to the title, including first-year teammate Colton Rex in the semifinals.
Rex finished fourth in the 133-pound weight class after going 3-2 and earning a pair of technical fall victories and one pin. Senior Luke Fernandez entered the tournament ranked seventh in the nation at 197 pounds. He made it to the finals of the 197 pound weight class for the second straight year at the Messiah Invitational.
Fernandez cruised to a 17-0 first round victory and pinned his second round opponent to set up a semifinal matchup with Messiah’s Kyle Koser. Koser was ranked fourth in the nation by d3wrestle.com and sixth by National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA). Fernandez shut down Koser, 5-0 to earn a spot in the title match. In the final, he was met by top-ranked Michael Swider of Wheaton (Ill.) College. Swider earned a 3-1 decision to place first, giving Fernandez second.
Junior Phillip Torresani, who won over 20 matches for the first time in his career last season, placed third in the 125-pound weight class. He fell in the semifinals to Wheaton’s Carlos Fuentez, 9-2 after winning his first two matches of the day. Torresani became the third Blue Jay, along with Fernandez and Pflanz, to become a two-time placewinner at the Messiah Invitational.
The Blue Jays had junior Chris Kummerer competing at the 157-pound weight class where he won his first two matches before being forced to retire prior to his quarterfinal match against Lycoming College’s Hadyn Smartwood. Junior Eric Eckstein won three of his five matches at 285-pounds for the Blue Jays.
Etown will compete this Saturday, Nov. 12 in the Ursinus Fall Brawl. Following Saturday’s tournament, the Blue Jays will host York (Pa.) College in their first dual match of the season. The match against the Spartans will take place on Nov. 16 in Thompson Gymnasium. The match time is set for 7 p.m.