The Gannon wrestling team won six of the first eight bouts and knocked off 16th-ranked Ashland 21-18 Saturday afternoon at the Hammermill Center.
Gannon finally broke through against a nationally-ranked team after falling to seventh-ranked Kutztown and 11th-ranked Pitt-Johnstown within the last two weeks. Matt Turek (Madison, Ohio/Madison) set the pace with a technical fall at 5:20 of the opening match. Ranked third in the NCAA Division II Super Region One, the redshirt sophomore controlled the match from the opening whistle. He led 12-5 after one period, before extending the lead to 19-7 after two periods. A takedown and nearfall during the final stanza brought an end to the match. As a result, Turek won his fifth consecutive match to improve to 19-5 overall and 5-0 in duals. His last four decisions have come by either a major decision or a technical fall.
Following a loss at 133, Adam Weinell (Blairsville, Pa./Blairsville) pushed the Gannon lead to 8-3 with an 11-4 decision at 141. The redshirt sophomore moved to 9-8 with the convincing win. The match was tied at three after one period, before Weinell surged ahead 5-4 after two frames. He then dominated the final period, rolling off five straight points. A nearfall gave Weinell a 10-4 lead with a riding point coming his way, but Ashland’s Robert Mason held off the major decision.
Ashland rebounded with a quick pin in 55 seconds at 149 to grab a 9-8 lead. Gannon took flight at that point and rattled off four consecutive victories to clinch the verdict. Sean Floor (Westbrookville, N.Y./Port Jervis) began the rally with a come-from-behind 10-6 decision at 157. The redshirt senior fell behind 6-2 after one period, but bolted ahead with a takedown and a three-point nearfall during the second frame. The onslaught continued with an escape and a takedown during the final period to account for the final 10-6 score.
Adam Greenman (Port Allegany, Pa./Port Allegany) jumped out to a 5-3 lead after the first three minutes at 165 and rode out Nick Mason for a 7-3 decision, giving the Golden Knights a 14-9 advantage.
The momentum continued at 174 where Jermaine Easter (Erie, Pa./Cathedral Prep) used a second-period flurry to grab a victory. Down 2-0, the redshirt freshman used a takedown and a three-point nearfall in a span of seconds to grab a 5-2 lead. Another takedown offset two escapes during the third period, before a point for riding time gave Easter an 8-4 victory.
Gannon rode the three consecutive victories to a 17-9 lead heading into 184 where Zack Zelcs (Ridgway, Pa./Ridgway) could end the match with a major decision. And the redshirt sophomore didn’t disappoint. The NCAA Division II Super Region One second-ranked 184-pounder raced out to a 5-1 lead with a takedown and a nearfall during the opening three minutes. After a scoreless second period, Zelcs increased his lead to 7-1 with a takedown during the third period. Knowing he had a riding-time point in the bag, Zelcs let his opponent escape and recorded a late takedown for the 10-2 major decision.
Ashland regrouped to capture the final two bouts, winning a 6-1 decision at 197 and receiving a medical forfeit at heavyweight. But the final two wins weren’t enough as the Golden Knights posted the 21-18 upset.
Gannon improved to 2-3 in dual meets. Ashland saw its three-match win streak snapped, dropping to 8-5. The Golden Knights return to action Wednesday, January 30 at Seton Hill. The non-conference match against a future Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) foe is scheduled for 7 p.m.
For more on GU athletics, check out www.gannonsports.com.