LeValley ’11 defeats former national champ

By Joe Ruby

Writer

The wrestling team had place-winners in five of the 10 weight classes at the EIWA Championships held in Sojka Pavilion this past weekend and will be sending two wrestlers to the NCAA National Championships. Kevin LeValley ’11 won the 149 lb. weight class, defeating top seed and returning national champion Kyle Dake of Cornell. He was named Most Outstanding Wrestler by a vote of the event’s 13 coaches.

Jay Hahn ’11 placed fourth in the 197 lb. weight class to join LeValley as an automatic qualifier for the national tournament in Philadelphia. Rob Waltko ’11 took sixth place at 184 lbs. and Brantley Hooks ’11 and Corey Lear ’13 placed seventh at 157 and 165 lbs., respectively.

LeValley, ranked fourth in the nation and seeded second in the tournament, pinned Andrew Murano of Franklin & Marshall in his first round match to earn a 10-2 major decision against seventh-seeded Daniel Young of Army in the quarterfinals. Defeating third seed Ganbayar Sanjaa of American in overtime, LeValley completed his feat with a takedown in the second sudden-victory period for a 4-2 win over second-ranked Dake.

The fifth-seeded Hahn won his opening match by an 18-3 technical fall over Daniel Santoro of Princeton before losing 3-2 to Joseph Kennedy of Lehigh in the second round. Hahn wrestled back to the consolation semifinals with major decisions of 12-2 and 12-3. After earning a place in the third/fourth place match with a last-second takedown against Michael Wagner of Rutgers for a 7-6 victory, Hahn fell to third-seeded Daniel Mitchell of American by a 4-3 margin. His fourth place finish still earns him a chance to compete on a national stage.

“Hosting the tournament in Sojka Pavilion was a great way to finish my wrestling career as a Bison,” Hahn said. “It was one of the most exciting venues that I had ever wrestled in, and I attribute part of my success in the tournament to the fact that we could stay in our routines by not having to travel.”

“I will be training hard these next two weeks, and I am very excited to be going to the national tournament. My attitude going in is that I have nothing to lose and everything to gain, so hopefully I will be able to put together another solid performance so I can reach my goal of becoming an NCAA All-American,” he said.

Hahn was not the only Bison to have success in the consolation rounds. Hooks and Lear each won three of their five matches to take seventh place, and Waltko, despite losing his first match, won two consecutive consolation bouts to gain a place in the fifth/sixth bout.

The Bison finished eighth of 13 in the team standings, earning 59 team points. Cornell easily won the team championship, with 173.5 points to runner-up Lehigh’s 119. The Big Red boasted five of the 10 top-seeded wrestlers in the bracket and the Mountain Hawks claimed four. The lone exception was national No. 1 Steve Fittery, a 157 lb. wrestler for American.

LeValley, Hahn and the 48 other nationally qualifying EIWA wrestlers will compete for All-American honors on March 17-19 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. LeValley took seventh at the NCAA Tournament last year.

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