WILKES-BARRE, Pa. -- Three Franklin & Marshall wrestlers earned medals at the 78th Annual Wilkes Open. Jake Bucha and Matt Fullowan each took silver, while Colin Ely earned bronze at 197-pounds at The Rose Bowl of Wrestling.
Bucha moved to 11-1 on the season and finished with the second-best tournament finish of his career. He took gold at the Navy Classic back in November. On Tuesday, the Diplomats' 133-pounder suffered his first setback of the season, falling 3-2 in the finals to Pitt-Johnstown's Ryan Link.
With three wins on the day, Bucha upped his career record to 58-19, making him the 18th most victorious wrestler in F&M history. Bucha advanced to the finals on the strength of a pin and a pair of decisions. He blanked Pitt-Johnstown's Matthew Scherich 7-0 before pinning Millersville's Daniel Calzarette in the second period of the quarterfinals. In the semifinals, Bucha handed American University's Glenn Donatelli a 10-4 setback for the right to face Link in the finals. Link had advanced to the finals on the strength of a 4-2 decision over Bucknell's Alex Pelliccotti.
Fullowan (8-7) advanced to the 174-pound finals on four decisions, earning sudden victory in both the quarter and semifinals. He was downed 12-5 in the finals by Rutgers' Greg Zannetti, leaving him in second place for the second time this season. Fullowan took second at the Mat Town Open last month.
Wrestling from a pigtail in the 174-pound bracket, Fullowan defeated Rutgers' Bernard Ard 3-2, before dealing Wilkes' Tyler Pickard a 7-1 loss. Fullowan's first sudden victory win was a 4-2 decision over Bionojel Candelaria from Kutztown. He followed that with a 3-1 overtime win over American's Phillip Barreiro to get into the finals.
Ely (8-3) defeated Bloomsburg's Nathan Ronan 9-2 in the first round and followed on with a 12-8 decision of East Stroudsburg's Eddie Ebewo to advance to the 197-pound semifinals where he was bumped out by eventual silver medalist, Rex Harris (unattached). Ely defeated Wilkes' David Oberrender 9-4, setting up a consolation final against Ebewo who had wrestled back three matches after falling to Ely in the quarters. Ely got the best of Ebewo again, posting a 17-6 major for the best tournament finish of his career.
Kenny Knapp advanced to the 141-pound quarterfinals before being bumped from the championship draw. All three wins on his 3-2 afternoon came via decision moving him to 5-6 on the season. He was knocked out of the consolation quarterfinals by Sacred Heart's Justin Belanger, who eked out a 6-4 decision.
Andrew Murano (2-7) picked up a 13-6 victory over Alex Lincoln from Bloomsburg before dropping consecutive bouts at 149. Eric Norgard (2-7) picked up his lone victory of the day over teammate Sean Tippen (0-4). Anthony Bongarzone (1-8) beat Wilkes' Nicholas Lynch 13-1 for his first win of the season before dropping the next two at 165. Matt Latessa (1-8) won a bout 14-7 over Eldar Muradov before ending his day 1-2. It was his first win of the year.
The Diplomats return to action on Friday, January 7, against Davidson. The Friday match will be wrestled at noon, not 7:00 p.m. as it appeared on the preseason schedule.