BETHLEHEM, Pa. – (Feb. 8, 2014) – The Rutgers wrestling team was tied, 6-6, with No. 23/22 (USA Today Division I Coaches/ InterMat) Lehigh after two bouts, but the Mountain Hawks took five straight decisions to put the match out of reach, defeating the Scarlet Knights, 27-9, Saturday evening at Leeman-Turner Arena at Grace Hall.
After the Mountain Hawks’ No. 13 (AWN) Laike Gardner opened the match with a pin, sophomore 149-pounder Ken Theobold (Toms River, N.J.) quickly responded, winning by fall over No. 13/10/11 Mitch Minotti at 149 pounds. The victory was his first over a ranked opponent, as the pin bumped his season total to six, tying him for the team lead.
Theobold also secured his 17th victory of the season – one over his rookie season total – bumping his overall record to 17-10 overall and 8-5 in dual action.
Following the pin, Lehigh won five consecutive bouts by decision to jump out to a 21-6 lead. Redshirt sophomore Billy Smith (Wantage, N.J.) outlasted Lehigh’s Max Wessell at heavyweight to earn a 5-3 decision in tiebreaker two. The win was Smith’s eighth consecutive victory, tying sophomore 197-pounder Hayden Hrymack (Lincroft, N.J.) for the second-longest on the team this season.
Smith also earned his 20th victory with the decision, improving to 20-5 overall and 11-2 in duals this season. Four of Smith’s last five bouts have been decided in sudden victory or tiebreakers.
After Smith’s victory and the score standing at 21-9, RU still had a shot to win the match. The Scarlet Knights would have needed two pins in the final two bouts to pull out the win, but Lehigh secured decisions in the final matchups, including a narrow, 2-1 win from No. 5/6/6 Mason Beckman over redshirt senior Vinnie Dellefave (Toms River, N.J.) in the last bout of the night.
The Scarlet Knights return to New Brunswick, N.J., on Saturday, Feb. 15 for a matchup with Lock Haven at the College Ave. Gym. The match begins at 1 p.m. and marks “Greek Day/ Embrace Kids Day,” as a sellout will secure a contribution for the Embrace Kids Foundation.
Families involved with Embrace Kids will receive a special $5 discounted admission price, while children 12 and under will be given the opportunity to sign up for the Junior Knights Club, which gives them free access to all RU Olympic sporting events.
A pair of Flips™ Audio Headphones will be given away in a free student raffle, while the Greek organization with the largest representation will win a new television.
Furthermore, Rutgers will hold a sumo suit match at the intermission, with the winner also receiving a pair of Flips™ Audio Headphones. The two RU students that use the hashtag "RU4EmbraceKids" most leading up to the Feb. 15 match will earn the right to compete in the sumo suit competition.
No. 23/22 Lehigh 27, Rutgers 9
Dual started at 141 pounds
141: No. 13/NR/NR Laike Gardner (LU) wins by fall over Tyson Dippery (RU), 2:50; Lehigh leads, 6-0.
149: Ken Theobold (RU) wins by fall over No. 13/10/11 Mitch Minotti (LU), 4:38; Match tied, 6-6.
157: No. 9/12/12 Joey Napoli (LU) dec. over Anthony Perrotti (RU), 7-4; Lehigh leads, 9-6.
165: Ben Haas (LU) dec. over Nick Visicaro (RU), 8-2; Lehigh leads 12-6.
174: No. 13/NR/15 Elliot Riddick (LU) dec. over Phil Bakuckas (RU), 5-2; Lehigh leads, 15-6.
184: Zach Diekel (LU) dec. over Dan Seidenberg (RU), 5-2; Lehigh leads, 18-6.
197: John Bolich (LU) dec. over Hayden Hrymack (RU), 6-5; Lehigh leads, 21-6.
285: No. NR/ 19/15 Billy Smith (RU) dec. over Max Wessell (LU), 5-3 TB2; Lehigh leads, 21-9.
125: Darian Cruz (LU) dec. over Sean McCabe (RU), 7-2; Lehigh leads, 24-9.
133: No. 5/6/6 Mason Beckman (LU) dec. over Vinnie Dellefave (RU), 2-1; Lehigh wins, 27-9.
Rankings (-/-/-): AWN / InterMat / W.I.N. (As of Feb. 4)
Follow Rutgers Athletics on Facebook (www.facebook.com/RutgersAthletics) and Twitter (@RUAthletics) for all of the latest news and updates. For specific updates regarding Rutgers wrestling, follow the program on Twitter (@RUWrestling) and Instagram (@RUWrestling). Fans can receive timely information, including special offers and giveaways throughout the year on our social media outlets along with www.ScarletKnights.com.