A crowd of over 1,700 fans came out to Alumni Arena for the fourth annual Takedown Cancer fundraiser and dual on Monday evening to open the home schedule, as the Bulls (0-2) hosted the fifth-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes. The event, which raised over $14,000 for cancer research for the day, was marked with explosive offense between the two teams, with the Hawkeyes (10-0) prevailing 39-3. Mark Lewandowski earned a win at 165 pounds for the team’s lone win.
“What people don’t see is the controlled steady pace that Iowa wrestles,” head coach Jim Beichner said. “They’re consistent and put the pressure on you. We need to do the same in return, but today we faded. We scored a lot of takedowns, but ultimately you need to win those battles and win those matches. You have nothing to lose against a team like Iowa, but when you’re aggressive you need to have a big gas tank to go with it.”
Lewandowski, who came into the night ranked in the low 20s at his class by most media outlets, was a slight underdog in his match against Iowa’s Nick Moore. The senior started with a takedown in the final minute of the first period and rode Moore out. He scored another takedown in the second period and led 4-2 going into the final two minutes of the match. He made a quick escape, then took Moore down and earned a riding time point for the 8-3 win.
“Mark was in control tonight, and that comes with experience,” Beichner said. “He dominated from start to finish and was able to get an important win. We want him to be on the All-American podium at the end of this season, and if he keeps wrestling like this he’ll get there.”
After only one wrestler scored more than five points in the season-opening dual against Central Michigan, the Bulls were able to be more liberal on offense for the night, case in point with the 149 pound bout between Blake Roulo and Mike Kelly. In the first 20 seconds of the match, Roulo scored a big takedown and turned Kelly for two near-fall points. Kelly would squeeze away and it would spark off a first period that saw an 8-8 tie after just the first three minutes. Kelly would ultimately take advantage of Roulo’s aggression, turning a handful of errant scoring attempts by Roulo into takedowns and earned a 21-13 win.
The team will need to rebound quickly, as tomorrow it will travel to Bloomsburg for a 7 pm dual against the Huskies.