LANCASTER, Pa. – With convincing wins in the final two bouts, Franklin & Marshall's wrestling team retained the Rupp Cup for the eighth consecutive season with a strong 24-15 victory over Millersville on Thursday evening in the Mayser Center gym.
The Diplomats improved to 3-11 with their second straight dual win while the Marauders evened their season record at 7-7.
A flurry of action at 125 opened with match with F&M's Edgar Garcia and Millersville's Connor Sheehan trading takedowns and reversals through the first two periods. Tied at 9-9 late in the third, Garcia earned an escape with just 19 seconds remaining and held off the Marauder grappler to deliver three points to the Diplomats.
After Millersville responded with an 8-4 decision at 133 pounds, Brett Kulp made short work of his opponent at 141 pounds with a takedown, followed by the ensuing pin in the opening minute of the first frame to put F&M in front at 9-3.
The Marauders' Eric Fuentes secured a second-period pin in the 149-pound match to once again tie the team score at 9-9. At 157, Emmett LiCastri scored a takedown and four nearfall points in the waning seconds of the second period to take a commanding 9-4 lead into the final frame. LiCastri kept up the pressure in the third period with an early takedown and rolled to the 11-4 decision.
A strong second period kept Jacob Conners neck-to-neck with Division II's No. 9 ranked 165-pounder Shane Ruhnke. However, Ruhnke held on for the 12-7 decision win to pull Millersville within one. During the 165-pound match, a penalty point was docked from Millersville's team total due to controlling the mat, making the team score 12-11 in favor of the Diplomats.
Josh Young rolled at 174 pounds, capping off a 22-7 tech. fall victory in the final seconds of the third. The senior notched a total of seven takedowns in his dominant performance. Millersville kept the contest close with a 17-5 major decision at 184, pulling the overall score within two at 17-15.
However, it was all F&M in the final two matchups as Philip Robilotto (197 pounds) and No. 31 ranked Antonio Pelusi (285 pounds) cruised to commanding wins. Robilotto went ahead 8-0 after the first and totaled three takedowns and six nearfall points for the 15-4 major. Pelusi did his part in the night's final match, registering three first-period takedowns en route to a 7-4 decision.
The Diplomats return to the mat on Saturday for the final dual of the regular season when F&M hosts Sacred Heart at 6:30 p.m. Before the match, the Diplomats will honor their four-member senior class of Sam Butler, Edgar Garcia, Dan Martoccio, and Josh Young.
F&M 24, Millersville 15
125: Edgar Garcia (F&M) over Conner Sheehan (MILL) (Dec 10-9)
133: Alex Baider (MILL) over Dan Martoccio (F&M) (Dec 8-4)
141: Brett Kulp (F&M) over Kevin Constantine (MILL) (Fall 0:59)
149: Eric Fuentes (MILL) over Sam Butler (F&M) (Fall 4:52)
157: Emmett LiCastri (F&M) over Seth Decker (MILL) (Dec 11-4)
165: Shane Ruhnke (MILL) over Jacob Conners (F&M) (Dec 12-7)
Note: (MILL docked -1.00 for Controlling the mat)
174: Josh Young (F&M) over Kyle Narber (MILL) (TF 22-7 6:48)
184: Evan Morrill (MILL) over Steven Mercadante (F&M) (MD 17-5)
197: Philip Robilotto (F&M) over Jared Fetterman (MILL) (MD 15-4)
285: Antonio Pelusi (F&M) over Zachary Yackenchick (MILL) (Dec 7-4)