Two Bison wrestlers earn NCAA bids at EIWA Championships

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Two Bison wrestlers earn NCAA bids at EIWA Championships

Becky Chambers, Senior Writer

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The University hosted the 113th EIWA Wrestling Championships on March 3—4 in Sojka Pavilion. Sixteen teams gathered to compete at the tournament, and the Bison finished sixth overall with 75 points. Cornell won for the 11th year in a row with 163 points.

On the first day of competition, Tom Sleigh ’18 and Tyler Smith ’18 won both of their matches at 197 and 141 pounds, respectively, allowing them to continue fighting for the title. Jordan Gessner ’20, Joey Gould ’20, Victor Lopez ’17, and Tyler Greene ’17 had to fight their way back through the consolation rounds.

On the second day, Sleigh and Smith secured automatic berths for NCAA Championships. Sleigh placed second in his weight class after losing to a Penn wrestler in a match that was tied up through two sudden death overtimes. The loss ended his 22-match win streak, but he will go into the NCAA Championships with a 31-5 record on the year.

“Bucknell hosting the tournament definitely helped me a lot. My family and friends were able to be there to support me and watch me compete. Although I didn’t accomplish my goal of winning the tournament, I believe it will be a motivator to wrestle better at the national tournament,” Sleigh said.

Smith won fourth place in his class after a loss in the semi-finals and another victory in the consolation semi-finals. He was ultimately taken down in overtime in the consolation finals. Smith has won 13 out of his last 15 matches and will look to continue his success at the national tournament, making his third appearance.

Of the rest of the wrestlers alive in the wrestle-backs on Saturday, Gessner exceeded expectations and placed fourth after winning two matches, only to lose in the consolation finals. Gould finished in eighth place, and Lopez and Greene both won 5th. Lopez had a hard loss in the consolation semifinals and Greene fell to a nationally ranked opponent. Lopez will have to wait to see if he gets invited to compete at the national championship.

The NCAA Championships will take place on March 16—18 in St. Louis.

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