Warriors stumble with 0-3 first day at Whitehills

A trio of golden mylar balloons floated in a barren corner of Lamade Gymnasium. The three balloons formed the number ‘100’, a reminder of the milestone Lycoming 174-pounder Brandon Conrad reached Friday morning at the Budd Whitehill National Duals.

The senior from Bloomsburg became the seventh wrestler in Lycoming history to reach the century mark, and he was the lone bright spot on a day where the Warriors went 0-3. Lycoming lost to York (30-12), Wisconsin-Eau Claire (26-23) and Williams (20-19).

Conrad and heavyweight Garrett Wesneski were the lone Lycoming wrestlers to win all three of their bouts Friday. Only Muncy graduate Andy Aguilar and nationally-ranked Trevor Corl also won two bouts.

The best Lycoming can finish in today’s placing round is 13th. They’ll get a bye into the 13th-place match because Milikin did not attend the tournament as previously scheduled. The Warriors wrestle the winner of Ohio Northern and Waynesburg for 13th.

“We’re trying to wrestle kids that aren’t very good in situations that we need wins and we’re not getting them. That’s our problem,” Lycoming coach Roger Crebs said. “With (Eric) Hunt being hurt, we have Lucas Drick there who is doing well, but he’s not in shape. At 25, we have little kids. (Hadyn) Swartwood, who knows what his problem is? We’ll figure it out and make some lineup changes (Saturday).

Conrad’s three wins improved his season record to 22-2 and his career mark to 102-41. It was also his third consecutive season with at least 20 wins. Not bad for a wrestler who was 13-18 as a freshman for Lycoming. And not bad for a wrestler who didn’t win 100 matches in high school and who never advanced past the regional tournament in high school.

But Conrad has become a completely different wrestler in his four years at Lycoming. Crebs said there’s still things Conrad needs to work on over the next two months of the season, but there’s also still room to turn his career into more than just a 100-win career.

Conrad has never qualified for the NCAA tournament. But he’s currently the ninth-ranked 174-pounder in the country by d3wrestle.com, and he appears on his way to battling for his first trip to NCAAs.

“I hope we’re wrestling well into March with him,” Crebs said. “He’s growing and getting better. We’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of him, but I hope he’s not done. I don’t want to send him home in February. I want to take him to Cleveland.”

Conrad joins Seth Lans­berry (145), Nolan Barger (139), Royce Eyer (127), Andy Lausier (121), Eric Walker (119) and Rob Cosper (111) on the school’s 100-wins club. The only other thing missing from Conrad’s resume that those other six wrestlers have, is a place on the podium at nationals.

And it’s that thought which is driving Conrad during his final season. He also knows this is the final time he’ll compete as a wrestler. It’s a thought which struck him during the summer, leading up to the season, and he’s learning to appreciate every day for what it is. So while Conrad was excited to pick up his 100th career win yesterday, his focus is still on becoming Lycoming’s next All-American.

“It’s my last year doing something that I absolutely love and something I’ve been doing since I was 4-years-old,” Conrad said. “I said to myself, appreciate every single day that you’re in the room.”

His three wins Friday, though, weren’t enough to save the Warriors from a disappointing afternoon. The Warriors won just three bouts against York. Even nationally-ranked Corl fell by major decision to returning All-American Greg Warner. Lycoming lost three bouts by four points or less in the dual.

The Warriors picked up a forfeit win against Wisconsin-Eau Claire in the second dual, but it was wiped out by back-to-back falls at 133 and 141 pounds. Travis Ogden was forced to injury default after a hard mat return at 197 pounds, and the six points secured the win for the Blugolds.

Williams then got a major decision at 197 pounds in the third dual of the day to put the match out of reach. Each time seventh-ranked Wesneski took to the mat, the dual was already out of reach, so his two falls were moot points to the team score.

“We’re just trying to find a mix of kids that we can have 10 kids who will wrestle together,” Crebs said. “The problem is we don’t have that. We have Corl, we have Brandon and we have Garrett, and that’s what we got. The rest we’re just trying different things.”

“I think we just need to relax. A lot of our guys seemed a little tense today and they weren’t opening up as much,” Conrad said. “I just think we need to stick to our stuff. I think we’ll rebound. It’s rare that we have two bad days in a row. So as long as everybody sticks to their stuff, we’ll be fine.”

York 30, Lycoming 12

125: Dylan Nuttall, Y, maj. dec. Cameron Terry, 16-5. 133: Alex Hin, Y, dec. Lucas Drick, 8-7. 141: Andy Aguilar, L, pinned Jonathan Walker, 2:45. 149: Greg Warner, Y, maj. dec. Trevor Corl, 13-4. 157: Eric Hutchinson, Y, dec. Hadyn Swartwood, 7-3. 165: Jackson Drum, Y, pinned Kevin Keppler, 1:34. 174: Brandon Conrad, L, dec. Joe Sindoni, 5-2. 184: Francis Krauss, Y, maj. dec. Kyle Bennett, 15-2. 197: Muhamed Alic, Y, pinned Travis Ogden, :36. 285: Garrett Wesneski, L, dec. Stefanos Karpontinis, 5-0.

Wisconsin-Eau Claire 26, Lycoming 23

125: Shane Casey, L, won by forfeit. 133: Casey Hedrington, WEC, pinned Lucas Drick, 4:38. 141: Jordan Meyer, WEC, pinned Ethan Landis, 2:58. 149: Trevor Corl, L, tech. fall Jaden Winchel, 16-0, 1:47. 157: Hadyn Swartwood, L, dec. Carter Focht, 6-0. 165: Chase Schmidt, WEC, tech. fal Dallas Labar, 19-4, 6:58. 174: Bradon Conrad, L, dec. Tyler Vogt, 4-2. 184: Evan Lawrence, WEC, dec. Kyle Bennett, 7-3. 197: Ramsey Bloy, WEC, inj. def. Travis Ogden, 1:34. 285: Garrett Wesneski, L, pinned Paul Carter, :28.

Williams 20, Lycoming 19

125: Matt Morris, W, dec. maj. dec. Shane Casey, 12-4. 133: Lucas Drick, L, dec. Ben Morton, 5-4. 141: Andy Aguilar, L, dec. Alex Pankhurst, 6-4, sv. 149: Trevor Corl, L, maj. dec. Jack Murphy, 8-0. 157: Brendan Kiernan, W, dec. Hadyn Swartwood, 6-3. 165: Yo Akiyama, W, pinned Kevin Keppler, 1:14. 174: Brandon Conrad, B, L, dec. Luke Anselmi, 7-0. 184: Carl Sangree, W, dec. Kyle Bennett, 5-3, sv. 197: Sebastian Dziadkiewicz, W, maj. dec. Loc Long, 14-4. 285: Garrett Wesneski, L, pinned Nicholas Beauchamp, 1:11.