WRESTLING FINISHES FIFTH AT NATIONALS

JAKE CHRISMAN ‘20 | STAFF WRITER • The Little Giants concluded their wrestling season on at the National Tournament on March 9 and March 10. Five wrestlers, Owen Doster ’20, Austin Bethel ’21, Kyle Hatch ’21, Darden Schurg ’19, and Hunter Bates ’20 competed for a chance to end up on the national podium. The Little Giants had three individual placers and a fifth place finish as a team.

Doster entered the tournament as returning placer, but, unfortunately, this year had something different in store for him. In his first match against Austin Harris from Messiah College, Doster gave up a big move while ahead in points and got pinned 5:36 into the match. “I think he was ready to go, I just think he was not quite clicking,” Head Coach Brian Anderson said. “The national scene can do things to guys right as they hit the mat. When he lost, it in a way took the wind out of everyone’s’ sail, and it was tough to get him back in the following round.” He then dropped his second match by a score of 6-1 to Brendan Velez from Delaware Valley, eliminating him from the tournament.

“I believe Owen can come back and get himself back on the podium next year,” Anderson said. “That’s the thing with wrestling, anyone can beat anybody on any given day.”

The two freshmen representing the Little Giants showed out well. Bethel, impressively, finished third in his first trip to nationals. He pinned his first opponent in 20 seconds, but dropped his second match to the soon-to-be national champion. Bethel fought

his way back through some tough opponents to land himself in the third place match, where he pinned Evan Drill from New York University in the first period. Hatch also finished well in his first trip to nationals, finishing eighth overall. Hatch dropped his

first match to Kaidon Winters from Rochester Institute of Technology, but was able to battle back with pair of wins to land him in the placing round.

“After you step back from the tournament and you can see what we accomplished, it was a fabulous finish,” Anderson said. “To have all of our qualifiers, plus other guys returning, will make next year a lot of fun.”

Schurg wrestled well in his second trip to the national tournament. Schurg went 3-2 to get fourth place. Bates had limited success in his first trip to nationals. He lost to the second overall seed in the first round. Unable to rally after the first round loss, Bates lost his second match 1-0, eliminating him from the tournament.

After losing Riley Lefever ’17 and a host of other good seniors, the Little Giants wrestling season was unknown in terms of team points. The young roster this year proved to be up to the task, winning five tournaments and sending five wrestlers to the national tournament.

“It was tough,” Anderson said. “We were in position to bring home another trophy, but fell just outside of that. We had the fire power out there to get it done; we just had a couple falters that kept it from happening. However, with the senior fire power we lost from last year the ability to make up those lost points and finish where we did
was great.”

The Little Giants will be returning a majority of their starting roster next year and will recommence their pursuit of a team national title.