BLOOMSBURG - The weather outside Nelson Field House wasn't exactly pretty, but that didn't keep the Lock Haven University Bald Eagle wrestling team from coming up with some solid efforts in the 2011 Eastern Wrestling League Championships.
"Although I would have liked for us to have a few more wins, we did a good job of wrestling to our seeds," said LHU head coach Robbie Waller in between sessions. "Obviously you want to wrestle better than your seed so we have some work to do, but there is a lot of wrestling to be done yet to see where we shake out."
LHU opened with a 5-for-10 showing in the quarterfinals that included three byes.
The only winners by the Bald Eagles in the opening session were John Trumbetti with a 5-3 win over Devin Cook of Clarion followed by a 17-1 technical fall by Matthew Bonson over Josh Palivoda of Cleveland State.
Of the five Bald Eagles moving in the semifinals, only Bonson won to stay alive for a guaranteed national berth. In the semifinals, Bonson assured himself of a trip to the NCAA championships when he edged Mike Morales of West Virginia 6-5.
"He punched his ticket to Philly by making it to the finals and this is his second trip so he has to be excited about that," said Waller. "
So how important were the wrestlebacks to the Bald Eagles?
"As I said, going into the second session there was still a lot of wrestling left for us," said Waller. "What we needed to do was to win some matches on the comeback trail to place third and hope to get a wild card berth."
In the consi semifinals to reach the battle for third to keep hopes alive for a possible wild card, Bald Eagles who advanced were Owen Wilkinson (149), Dylan Caprio (165) and Mike Khoury (174). For Caprio, a former Central Mountain standout, his victory in the consi semis was the first of his varsity career.
In the place bouts for third, two more Bald Eagles put themselves in a position for a possible wild card berth as Wilkinson and Khoury both won.
As a result of dropping their first match, but still having a chance to wrestle back for a third-place finish and a trip to the City of Brotherly Love were Seth Creasy (157) and Jake Bachman (184).
However, the bad news for both Creasy and Bachman is that they both lost their first bouts in the consolation brackets to fall out of the competition.
In the championship final, Bonson was paired against Tyler Nauman of Pitt, a wrestler who defeated him by a 12-10 score in a wild affair in the regular season.
The former Lewistown standout took a 2-1 lead after one period on a takedown, but Nauman bounced back to escape and take Bonson down for a 4-2 lead after two periods.
Nauman stretched his lead to 6-2 with a takedown in the third period before Bonson closed the gap to two points with a late reversal.