Lehigh Wrestling Weekend Preview

Lehigh faces two in state foes this week. Both teams are young and down from previous years. Lehigh has one of the toughest schedules in the country this season and is off to a bit of a mixed start against some of the less challenging competition they’ll face. If Lehigh wrestles well they could shut out both teams. On paper they should win every match, however some of the Mountain Hawks have really struggled finding their attacks during this short start to the wrestling season. Pittsburg has its own problems. Coach Jason Peter is in his second season as head coach and hasn’t developed the team’s talent as I might have expected. For example Mikey Racciato was once one of the most exciting wrestlers in the nation but has changed his style, dropped a weight class and question marks remain. Why recruit a wrestler if you are going to totally change him? His True Freshman season was slightly better than his sophomore season. He won his wrestle off against Zanetta but it was very close. Time win tell how Racciato and the Panthers season develops.
Back to the dual, if Lehigh wins more than 8 matches it’s a step in the right direction. If Pitt wins two or more matches it’s a moral victory for them. In most likelihood of an upset 174, 133, 141 165, I have 285 as a toss up with a slight edge to Lehigh. I like what Elliot Riddick has done in the past but he just looks different this season. Maybe he’s just getting used to the weight? He’s got a ton of talent but his head isn’t the same as the previous two seasons. Beckman has struggled with his offense in the past and perhaps this is the worst stretch he’s experienced. With his confidence at the lower end of the spectrum getting to his attacks will be that much more difficult. It’s a tough hole to dig out from but he’s got the talent to do it. As I mentioned before Lehigh’s strength and conditioning seems less than other top 15 teams. Strength can’t be developed during the season but conditioning can be. If it is it should help the confidence of the Lehigh wrestlers and that should help them get to their attacks. If it’s not the conditioning it might be the lack of a solid warm up prior to competing?

125: LJ Bentley Fr. Vs. #14 Darian Cruz
133: Dom Forys So. Vs #15 Mason Beckman (Sr)
141: Mikey Racciato Jr./ Zanetta vs. #8 Randy Cruz (Jr)
149: Robert Lee Fr. Vs. #18 Laike Gardner (Jr)
157: Ronnie Garbinsky RSr. Vs. #8 Mitch Mnotti (Jr)
165: Cody Wiercioch RSo. Vs. #12 Ryan Preisch (Fr)
174: TeShan Campbell Fr. Vs #17 Elliot Riddick (Jr)
184: Zach Bruce So. Vs. #7 Nate Brown (Sr)
197: Nick Bonaccorsi RSr. Vs. #16 John Bolich (Sr)
285: #19 Ryan Solomon RSo. Vs. #15 Max Wessell (Jr)

Edinboro graduated a ton of talent last season after placing a school high 3rd last March at the NCAA’s. Their best wrestlers are out of the lineup, Austin Matthews and Vic Avery. Again Lehigh on paper should pitch a shutout. Does coach Tim Flynn have his young talent ready to take the next step? Again if Lehigh wins more than 8 matches it’s a step in the right direction. If Edinboro wins 2 or more matches it’s a step in the right direction for Flynn’s team and a moral victory. The only way I see that happening is again if Lehigh doesn’t get to their attacks early and often. Toughest matchups look to be (unless Matthews & Avery return) 125, 285, 149 and 165 (unless Matthews & Avery return).

Edinboro @ Lehigh Sunday 2 PM
125 lbs. #20 Sean Russell RFr. vs #14 Darian Cruz (So)
133 lbs. Tony Recco Fr. Vs. #9 Mason Beckman (Sr0
141 lbs. Tyler Vath Fr. Vs. #8 Randy Cruz (Jr)
149 lbs. Patricio Lugo Fr. Vs #18 Laike Gardner (Jr)
157 lbs. Spencer Nagy Fr. Vs. #8 Mitch Minotti (Jr)
165 lbs. Casey Fuller RSr. Vs. #12 Ryan Preisch (Fr)
174 lbs. Patrick Jennings RSr. Vs #17 Elliot Riddick (Jr)
184 lbs. Chris Laird RFr. vs. #7 Nate Brown (Sr)
197 lbs. Vince Pickett Sr. vs. #16 John Bolich (Sr)
285 lbs #20 Billy Miller RFr. vs. #15 Max Wessell (Jr)

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