Wrestling bests Sacred Heart and Drexel

Roger Mellado, Contributing Writer

The Bison had another dominant weekend on the mat, besting league opponents Sacred Heart 36-3 and Drexel 27-2 on Sunday, Jan. 26 to improve to 6-3 on the season and 5-1 in Patriot League Play.

Geo Barzona ’21 (125) started the Orange and Blue strong by winning by a tech fall against Drexel 18-3. The Bison rode the momentum from Barzona’s dominant start all the way to intermission, securing a 19-0 lead over the Red Pioneers.

The dominant match was capped off by two strong finishes at 197 lbs. and 285 lbs. The Bison’s Drew Phipps ’20 and Eric Chakonis ’21 both proved superior to their Sacred Heart opponents and walked away with major decisions, and sent the Pioneers on a long and solemn bus ride back to Connecticut.

Immediately following the win over Sacred Heart, the Bison faced league opponent, the Drexel Dragons.

Following his first win over the Pioneers, Darren Miller ’23 (133) battled for the first win of the series against Drexel’s Chase Shields ’23. Miller had a dominant first two periods and rode out the remainder of the time taking the match at a final decision of 7-2.

David Campbell ’21 was the next Bison to take the mat at 141 lbs. In a back and forth thriller between Campbell and Drexel’s Tyler Williams ’23, the decision came down to the third period when a perfectly executed takedown brought the score to 7-5 in favor of Campbell. Taking advantage of the riding time point, Campbell brought the final score to 8-5 in favor of the Bison.

Matt Kolonia ’21 (149) hit the mat running, quickly taking down his opponent and securing multiple back points in the first period, bringing the score to 8-1. He closed out the match 8-3 to bring home his second victory of the day.

At 157 lbs., Jaden Fisher ’23 had the strongest match of the day. Fisher beat Drexel’s NCAA qualifying junior Parker Kropman in a thrilling fashion. The first period was a battle with neither wrestler giving up much ground. Midway through the second, head coach Dan Wirnsberger shouted, “Use your conditioning!” and as the ref blew the whistle to commence the third period, it was clear that Fisher had been listening. From the neutral starting position, Fisher managed to take down Kropman. Once on the ground, Fisher manhandled him taking as many back points as he could. As the clock ticked down to zero, the scoreboard displayed a final of 14-2 and a huge victory for Fisher.

“As I looked at the guy I could tell he was tired. I was excited for the third period. I knew all I had to do was take him down once and he was going to quit,” Fisher said. “The coaches described our wins as ‘Beating the bag off those guys.’ With the way we’ve been wrestling I see us finishing as one of the top teams in the EIWA and entering the national team rankings.”

Vincent Andreano ’23 (165), Mitch Hartman ’20 (174), Kyle Inlander ’20 (184), Brandon Stokes ’20 (285) and Phipps (197) all capitalized on the momentum to win their individual matches and secure a convincing win for the Bison.

The Bison will be back on the road this weekend with a dual meet at Franklin and Marshall on Jan. 30 and another huge test at UNC on Feb. 1. As the season begins to wind down, it looks like the Bison are finding their groove.

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