The Eastern Michigan University men’s wrestling team showed improvement when they competed at the North Dakota State University Quad meet Saturday. They took on the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers, the Itasca Community College Vikings and the North Dakota State University Bison.
The Eagles fell to the Golden Gophers in their first meet of the day but went on to triumph over the Vikings and Bison, which brought EMU to a 2-3 overall record.
Minnesota entered the competition ranked first in the country and walked away with nine out of 10 matches. Redshirt freshman Vincent Pizzuto was the lone EMU wrestler to gain a win against Minnesota and go 3-0. At the 133-pound weight class, Pizzuto defeated Golden Gopher Jordan Kingsley 12-2 by a major decision, earning the Eagles the only four points of the meet.
“We actually wrestled well regardless of the score,” said EMU wrestling head coach Derek DelPorto. “They are the best team in the country and I think we pulled a lot of positive stuff away from that match.”
ICC didn’t stand a chance when the Eagles demolished them 57-0. EMU won every match. Multiple were by fall, one by technical fall, one by major decision and another by forfeit.
Redshirt junior Jared Germaine excited the Eagles as he received the first EMU pin of the day over Julian Valhuerdi. This was then followed by pins from Pizzuto, redshirt junior Mike LeHolm and redshirt freshman Justin Melick.
Redshirt senior Aaron Sulzer received his first meet win of the
season when he crushed ICC wrestler David Booth for a technical fall in the 157-pound weight class.
EMU received a major decision from redshirt sophomore Jacob Dorulla at 165 pounds. He beat Luke Copp with an 11-3 personal score.
“A win is always a good thing, but in the big scheme of things it’s about improving individually as a team,” Dorulla said. “I think we’re heading in that direction.”
The Eagles continued to knock down the Vikings with pins from redshirt sophomores Mike Curby and Anthony Abro and redshirt junior Phillip Joseph. Redshirt senior Chris Eggert earned points for EMU when he won his match by way of default.
The Eagles shared the mat with host team NDSU for their final win of the day, and first victory over a ranked opponent since DelPorto became head coach during the 2006-07 wrestling season.
Germaine got the Eagles off to a rocky start as he lost to NDSU wrestler Trent Sprenkle at 125 pounds. Pizzuto brought the team score to a tie as he defeated Joshua Rodriguez, which brought on three more EMU wins.
Redshirt junior Seth Schaner (141 pounds), Melick (149 pounds) and Sulzer (157 pounds) all contributed to EMU’s wins, bringing the team score to 15-3.
The Eagles lost points as NDSU won the next three matches. There were major decisions over Dorulla, Curby and a decision over Joseph, which brought the score to 15-14 with EMU still in the lead.
Abro received the last Eagles win of the day as he overcame NDSU wrestler Kallen Kleinschmidt 3-0. The Bison tried to latch onto a win, but even with the 285-pound weight class match going in their favor they were unsuccessful. The Eagles came out victorious by only one point (18-17).
“We were able to knock off a powerful NDSU team,” Pizzuto said. “It was really a team effort and a successful weekend for Eastern Michigan wrestling.”
DelPorto said he believes the wins will help his wrestlers realize their potential. With returning starters Jaylyn Bohl and Nick Whitenburg out, EMU wrestled with only one senior in the lineup.
“If these guys can get on the same page at the same time, we can win a lot of matches,” DelPorto said. “And with the schedule that we have, we will need this to happen every time if we want to win.”
The Eagles will welcome Cleveland State University Nov. 30 at Bowen Field House for their second home dual meet. The meet will start at 7 p.m.
“Continue to support Eastern Michigan Wrestling,” Pizzuto said. “And we will do our part on the mat.”