By Alex Reid in Sports
February 23, 2012
After an embarrassing 13-28 loss to Bucknell, the Lock Haven Wrestling team may have been beaten down; but giving up was never an option.
Against rival Bloomsburg University, the Bald Eagles knew they would have to dial up their level of intensity in order to be victorious and the seniors stepped up to the challenge.
With a packed Haven crowd in attendance, on Friday, the energy was higher than usual at Thomas Fieldhouse. Head coach, Robbie Waller, knew that beating the 15-7 Huskies would be difficult, but getting a win in their last home match of the season was the only thing that was on his mind.
“On paper they may have the advantage, but today we’re going to have to come out strong and set the tone early. Last week the intensity wasn’t there, and tonight we’re really going to have to push ourselves.”
While Bloomsburg may have a superior current record, the Bald Eagles dominate the all-time series over the Huskies 41-26. Unfortunately, the Huskies have decisively won the last seven bouts against the Bald Eagles, none being more painful than the 25-12 beat down they got from them last year.
Looking to dominate early, the Bald Eagles’ true-freshman, Bobby Rehm, came out strong in the first match at 125 against Sean Boylan but was never able to gain the upper hand, as he lost by decision, putting the Bald Eagles into 3-0 hole.
Johnathon Childress got dropped decisively by Nick Wilcox at 133 by major decision giving the Huskies a commanding 7-0 lead over the Bald Eagles. So far, the matches seemed like they were going to be a reenactment of last week’s onslaught.
In the next match, at 141, Bald Eagle senior, Matt Bonson controlled the match from the beginning like he was a man on a mission. The intensity and the desire to win were all there as he dominated the Huskies’ Matt Hicks, winning by major decision to close the gap as they trailed the Huskies at 7-3.
Winning his last match at home was definitely an emotional moment for Bonson.
“Winning tonight was incredible, especially after being sick recently. Getting the win for the team meant everything to me, and, right now, my goal is to go the distance at EWL’s and to get All-American.”
While Bonson’s match may have electrified the crowd, it didn’t give the team the spark they needed, as they dropped their next two bouts to put them behind 3-14.
Behind by an incredible deficit Bald Eagle senior, Seth Creasy, responded to adversity by winning in a close decision at 165 over the Huskies’ Chris Smith putting the Bald Eagles closer at 6-14.
“I’ve had a good season this year and getting the win was a great feeling. We had a big crowd tonight and having my family here and being able to go out on top meant everything to me.”
After Creasy’s win, the Bald Eagles found their swagger by winning two of their last four matches with decision victories from Harry Turner, at 285 and Fred Garcia, at 184. Despite the surge in momentum, the Huskies never relinquished their lead, beating the Bald Eagles decisively 21-12.
While coach Waller may have been disappointed that they lost, he was proud of the effort and intensity his wrestlers exemplified.
“The intensity was there tonight. We got upset at 125 which surprised me, but we upset them later on in the higher weights. Overall, I was proud of the effort they put forth throughout the course of the match.”
Waller also gave praise to Bonson and Creasy who ended their wrestling careers at Lock Haven in victory.
“I felt great for those guys. They’ve been staples in the program since I got here and I’m happy for both of them that they were able to finish their careers out with a win in their own gym.”
With Nationals on the horizon, the Bald Eagles are determined to go the distance, as they gear up for the EWL Championships, at Clarion University, on Sunday, March 4 at 9 a.m.