Junior Filiberto Colon led the Eastern Michigan University wrestling team Saturday at the 19th annual Eastern Michigan University Open at Bowen Field House.
Colon won his 133-pound weight class. Six other EMU wrestlers made it to the finals and lost.
“I wrestled the match tough, saw the opportunity, and got the win,” Colon said.
More than 300 wrestlers came to compete in the event, along with their families, friends, coaches, trainers and fans. The field house was filled with people wearing their school’s colors in shirts, blazers, as well as tights.
“We had a great turnout,” coach Derek DelPorto said. “This was the biggest open we’ve had. We had some good competition out of the smaller schools in Division II and Division III; Division I was really tough.”
DelPorto said he was pleased with how his team compared to the competition, especially his best finisher of the day. “I like what Filiberto did at 133 pounds,” DelPorto said. “Anytime you finish on top of your weight class you know you’re doing something right. Our boys had good fight; this was a good start.”
Sophomore Khodor Hobollah said, “Filiberto did awesome. He made me proud as a teammate. He wrestled every match hard and wrestled to pin which worked out for him. He never gave up. In his semi finals he was losing 7 to 0 and came back and won with a pin which shows the kind of heart he has.”
Redshirt freshman Mike LeHolm (141), junior Corey Phillipa (149) and redshirt sophomore Aaron Sulzer (157) all finished second in their weight classes. Freshman Michael Curby (174) and redshirt freshman Khodor Hoballah (174) finished second in the freshmen and sophomore brackets.
Redshirt freshman Nick Whitenburg (184) finished third in his weight class, coming back from the loser’s bracket after losing his first match of the day.
“I felt good today,” Hoballah said. “I worked hard, and I knew I could win if I wrestled my best.” Hoballah had a good outing getting pins in his two matches prior to his loss in his final match of his bracket and weight class.
In the last match Hobollah said, “He caught my arm and I refused to get put on my back. The competition was tough, just like every year. With us, our goal is to win a MAC championship.”
The wrestlers credited their good outing to hard work and conditioning leading up the EMU Open.
“Our goal is to out-wrestle every opponent we face, and conditioning has to be the best,” DelPorto said. “Maybe other than Navy, we had the best conditioning. This is something we will continue doing.”
“Our conditioning was a key factor,” Sulzer said. “We’ve been prepping for two months and it showed, for me, in my first couple of matches.”
The Eagles will travel to East Lansing this Saturday to participate in the Michigan State University Open.
“We want to improve every day, week in and week out,” Sulzer said. “If we keep to this, we should be MAC champions.”
Hobollah said, “We want to be the toughest team in the MAC. After a team wrestles us, win or lose, they’re going to regret stepping on that mat.”