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Lehigh wrestling beats Bucknell for sixth win in a row

Lehigh’s Jake Logan, left, posted a big win over Bucknell’s Noah Mulvaney Friday at Lehigh University's Leeman-Turner Arena at Grace Hall in Bethlehem. (Jane Therese/Special to 첥Ƶ)
Jane Therese/Special to 첥Ƶ
Lehigh’s Jake Logan, left, posted a big win over Bucknell’s Noah Mulvaney Friday at Lehigh University’s Leeman-Turner Arena at Grace Hall in Bethlehem. (Jane Therese/Special to 첥Ƶ)
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Lehigh wrestler Jake Logan banged heads with five ranked wrestlers over the past two months, getting one of them twice, as he continued adjusting to 165 pounds after spending four years at 174. Logan admitted that the weight management, the schedule, and some of the losses wore on him. But on Friday, Logan wrestled his breakthrough bout.

The fifth-year wrestler scored a 9-8 decision over 12th-ranked Noah Mulvaney of Bucknell, highlighting the Mountain Hawks’ 31-11 victory at Grace Hall. Logan (8-8) earned his first win over a ranked opponent, one that he hopes will be the launch point of his season.

“I needed that one,” Logan said. “I’ve been pretty close with a lot of these ranked matches. I finally just put one away.”

Lehigh, ranked 15th in the National Wrestling Coaches Association poll, won its sixth consecutive match in mostly dominant form. The Mountain Hawks (6-3) scored five technical falls, including three from top-10 wrestlers Luke Stanich (No. 3 at 125), Michael Beard (No. 4 at 197) and Nathan Taylor (No. 9 at 285). Lehigh also won for the second consecutive week without top-ranked Ryan Crookham, who has taken over the 133-pound weight class in college wrestling.

Crookham (13-0) has missed Lehigh’s last two matches with what coach Pat Santoro called a minor tweak, one that shouldn’t keep him out much longer. The Saucon Valley graduate, who won three PIAA titles, worked out Friday (“He looked great,” Santoro said) and could return for Lehigh’s next match Feb. 17 against Princeton at Grace Hall. Crookham in November defeated Cornell’s then-No. 1 Vito Arujau, the reigning world champ at 61kg, to become the first Lehigh wrestler to defeat a world champion.

“We’re less than a month away from [the EIWA Tournament], so now is not the time to push it,” Santoro said. “It’s nothing serious at all. Let’s make sure we’re fresh and ready to go [for the postseason].”

In Crookham’s absence, Santoro bumped 125-pounder Sheldon Seymour to 133. Seymour, 11-4 at 125 this season, took Bucknell’s 14th-ranked Kurt Phipps to the finish, nearly pulling off the upset with a takedown at the third-period buzzer. But he just missed scoring (a call upheld upon review) in a tense 1-0 loss. Santoro was impressed with Seymour, who continues to duel with Stanich at 125. The two have traded dual-meet starts, and Santoro said he’s nearing a decision about the weight class for the postseason.

“They’re both so much fun to watch,” Santoro said of Seymour and Stanich. “We have two great 125 pounders, and we’re going to let them compete.”

For Logan, the postseason looks more promising after Friday. He decided, with the coaching staff, to move from 174 to 165 pounds this season, having given the higher weight class four years of effort. The move hasn’t been easy, especially with how the schedule fell. Logan began the season 6-0 before the ranked wrestlers appeared.

Logan wrestled third-ranked Izzak Olejnik of Oklahoma State, fourth-ranked Julian Ramirez of Cornell (twice), seventh-ranked Mitchell Mesenbrink of Penn State (“That guy was a stud,” he said) and two other ranked wrestlers.

Some bouts were closer than others, but the procession put Logan “in a rut,” he said. Still, he was doing enough good work to stay motivated. Against Mulvaney on Friday, Logan hit a quick first-period takedown, one that gave him a confidence surge. The wrestlers traded scores through two periods, with Logan escaping after a Mulvaney tying takedown for the decisive point.

“It’s still tough, but I feel like it’s starting to finally come together,” Logan said of his decision to drop to 165. “I’ve have some moments, but I think I put it together tonight.”

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Lehigh won seven of 10 bouts, including a 3-1 decision from Kelvin Griffin at 149. Griffin reversed Bucknell’s Riley Bower in the second period and delivered a near 2-minute ride in the third to secure a grueling win. The 149-pound weight class is another where Santoro is giving two wrestlers, Griffin and Owen Reinsel, a continuing chance to earn the postseason spot.

“I wish there was room for all of them,” Santoro said.

Malyke Hines (ranked 15th at 141) and Max Brignola (157) contributed technical falls for Lehigh, which improved to 6-0 in the EIWA.

During the match, Lehigh honored program legends Mike Caruso (Class of 1967), Darian Cruz (2018) and Jordan Wood (2022).

Lehigh 31, Bucknell 11

125: Luke Stanich (Lehigh) tech. fall Kade Davidheiser 17-1 in 3:29

133: Kurt Phipps (Bucknell) dec. Sheldon Seymour 1-0

141: Malyke Hines (Lehigh) tech. fall Dylan Chappell 21-6 in 7:00

149: Kelvin Griffin (Lehigh) dec. Riley Bower 3-1

157: Max Brignola (Lehigh) tech. fall Aiden Davis 20-5 in 4:47

165: Jake Logan (Lehigh) dec. Noah Mulvaney 9-8

174: Myles Takats (Bucknell) tech. fall Connor Herceg 18-3 in 7:00

184: Mikey Bartush (Bucknell) dec. Jack Wilt 7-1

197: Michael Beard (Lehigh) tech. fall Logan Deacetis 21-6 in 2:40

285: Nathan Taylor (Lehigh) tech. fall Dorian Crosby 17-2 in 4:55

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