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Winter break comes at good time for Lyco

Roger Crebs didn’t hesitate to say the winter break was coming at a good time for his Lycoming wrestling team. The veteran coach rattled off the litany of injuries which have plagued the Warriors through the first month and a half of the season and lauded the young wrestlers who have filled in.

Crebs called Monday afternoon’s 2-1 day at the Rennie Rodarmel All-State Duals both frustrating and disappointing. Lycoming went 2-1, defeating King’s (44-10) and Pitt-Bradford (42-18), but it dropped a 19-18 match to Cortland State in the day’s best dual.

Lycoming doesn’t compete again for a month when it hosts the Budd Whitehill National Duals at Lamade Gym. And after back-to-back weekends of competition with finals mixed in between, taking a step away may not be such a bad thing.

“If it was the beginning of February, we might panic a little bit,” Crebs said. “But it’s all correctable. It’s more mental than anything.”

Despite the “frustrating and disappointing” performance against Cortland, the Warriors still had an opportunity to win the dual. Cortland won six of the 10 bouts, but two of Lycoming’s wins were by fall. The Red Dragons’ lone bonus-point win was a major decision in the opening bout at 125 pounds.

But Joe Santomarco and Sam Hanley each had falls early in the dual which kept Lycoming hanging around despite losing four of five bouts at one point. But Lycoming’s ultimate downfall was its inability to win close bouts.

Seven of the 10 bouts against Cortland were decided by four points or fewer. The Warriors went just 2-5 in those bouts. Ethan Landis dropped a 5-3 decision in overtime when Matt Maquet sprawled out of a deep single-let shot from Landis and was able to spin behind for the winning takedown.

Paul Santomarco was tied with Cortland’s Gianno Silba, who is an honorable mention in the national rankings, but gave up the go-ahead takedown with a minute to go to drop a 6-4 decision. Hunter O’Connor was trailing 3-2 when he tried to hit an outside trip from a tied-up position and slipped, allowing Charlie Buckley to hold on for the win.

In a matchup of two wrestlers listed as contenders at 174 pounds in the national rankings, Cortland’s Demetrius Henry finished on a deep single-leg with 22 seconds to go to beat Hadyn Swartwood, 6-4. And Mark Rivera picked up a critical takedown with a minute to go to beat Brody Keefe, 7-4.

“I think the problem could have been a little bit of everything, including some stress coming off of finals,” Crebs said. “My freshmen, most of them are wrestling solid. We’re starting six freshmen and they went three and three. We just needed one more win either at 157 or 165 and we’re right there.”

“In the moment, it’s frustrating, but you have to get through it,” said Joe Santomarco, who had a pair of pins yesterday. “It’s a seven-minute match and you have to wrestle seven minutes. You have to go hard the full seven minutes you’re out there.

Getting the next month away from competition should allow the team much-needed recovery time. The hope is to come back completely healthy for the Whitehill Duals.

Crebs is expecting to get back junior 125-pounder from a back injury on Jan. 1. Also, former All-American Trevor Corl, who has wrestled just three bouts this year, should be back in January from a shoulder injury. And Crebs is also hoping to have national qualifier Travis Ogden return for the second semester as well.

But for now, the young wrestlers he has thrust into the lineup have performed admirably. Freshman Garrett Lee is 11-7 in Casey’s sted at 125. Sam Hanley is now 16-5 at 133 pounds after a 3-0 day. Paul Santomarco is 14-7 after a 2-1 day. Hunter O’Connor is 10-9 in his first season at 165, and Gable Crebs is 9-6 at 184. And Nick Winfield, who hasn’t wrestled since placing seventh at the PIAA meet in 2017 is now 12-5.

It’s an exciting, but still young group for Crebs. It’s the kind of group which can make noise like they did against both King’s and Pitt-Bradford, but are still learning the rigors of a college season.

“It’s nice to get a break,” Santomarco said. “But after a while we’ll all probably be like ‘when can we start this thing up again?'”

“We’re close,” Crebs said. “It’s going to be a totally different team in January.”

Lycoming 44, King’s 10

125: Garrett Lee, L, maj. dec. Liam Farrel, 23-12. 133: Sam Hanley, L, won by forfeit. 141: Robert Zelinski, K, pinned Connor Hurley, 2:13. 149: Joe Santomarco, L, pinned Colby Spencer, 2:12. 157: Paul Santomarco, L, won by forfeit. 165: Kade Kravits, K, maj. dec. Hunter O’Connor, 8-0. 174: Hadyn Swartwood, L, maj. dec. Isaac Mensah, 11-0. 184: Gable Crebs, L, pinned William Grace, 1:05. 197: Brody Keefe, K, pinned David White, 2:35. 285: Nick Winfield, L, pinned Issac Santiago, 1:57.

Cortland State 19, Lycoming 18

125: Ben Ilyod, C, maj. dec. Garrett Lee, 15-6. 133: Sam Hanley, L, pinned Vincent Santilli, 4:15. 141: Matt Maquet, C, dec. Ethan Landis, 5-3, sv. 149: Joe Santomarco, L, pinned Ryan Burgbacher, 2:29. 157: Gianno Silba, C, dec. Paul Santomarco, 6-4. 165: Charlie Buckley, C, dec. Hunter O’Connor, 5-2. 174: Demitreus Henry, C, dec. Hadyn Swartwood, 6-4. 184: Gable Crebs, L, dec. Kevin Morgans, 4-2. 197: Mark Rivera, C, dec. Brody Keefe, 7-4. 285: Nick Winfield, L, dec. Zach Herbert, 3-1.

Lycoming 42,

Pitt-Bradford 18

125: Garrett Lee, L, won by forfeit. 133: Sam Hanley, L, won by forfeit. 141: Elijah Hernandez, P, pinned Connor Hurley, 3:31. 149: Joe Santomarco, L, won by forfeit. 157: Paul Santomarco, L, pinned Trenton Wills, 1:08. 165: Hunter O’Connor, L, pinned Nate Powley, 5:27. 174: Hadyn Swartwood, L, won by forfeit. 184: Derek Ridgeway, P, pinned Conner Boal, 2:30. 197: Mason Novak, L, pinned Jason Reyes, :56. 285: Mitch Dowd, P, pinned Steve Longazel, 4:39.

Records: Lycoming (7-2); Cortland (3-0); King’s (0-5); Pitt-Bradford (1-5).

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