The Bucknellian

Smith earns berth in NCAA Wrestling Championships

Bri Pomonis, Senior Writer

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Three Bison wrestlers earned spots on the podium by advancing to the second day of the 2018 EIWA Championships on March 3-4. This year marked the 11th consecutive year that at least three Bison have placed in the meet.

Entering the Championships with a 24-3 season record and holding the No. 2 seed in the tournament, veteran Tyler Smith ’18 seamlessly translated his regular season success into the postseason. Smith pinned Penn’s Carl Antrassin in the quarterfinals, and topped American’s No. 7 seed Kizhan Clarke in the semifinal. He went on to earn his fourth-straight NCAA appearance and the Bison’s seventh EIWA runner-up finish after falling to top-seeded Yianni Diakomilhalis of Cornell, 11-time EIWA Champion.

Smith became only the fourth Bison wrestler since the 2006-07 season to punch a ticket to the NCAA meet all four years of his career.

Young members of the team had strong performances for the Orange and Blue, as well. David Campbell ’21 and Drew Phipps ’20 both advanced to the second day in their EIWA Championships debuts.

In his first match, Campbell upset No. 6 seed Gianni Ghione of Penn by a 4-2 decision for the Bison victory. Despite falling in quarterfinals to the third seed, a 8-4 decision over Hofstra’s Garrett Lambert propelled him forward in the consolation bracket, where the rookie later dropped to fifth-seeded Lane Peters of Army in a 5-0 decision.

Eighth-seeded Phipps topped Army’s No. 9 seed Noah Steward 5-1 in quarterfinals, but later fell to top-seeded Ryan Preisch of Lehigh in an 1-8 decision. He continued on to narrowly defeat Harvard’s Kanon Dean 5-4 to earn him mat time on Sunday, where he fell in a 13-5 major decision to Penn’s No. 7 seed Joe Heyob.

Phipps holds out hope for an at-large bid to the NCAA Championships to join his teammate Smith in the national meet. Smith’s final collegiate wrestling matches will be held at NCAA Championships in Ohio from March 15-17.

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Smith earns berth in NCAA Wrestling Championships