LEWISBURG, Pa. – Jake Bucha and Matt Fullowan accounted for all of Franklin & Marshall's team points on the first day of the EIWA Championships. Bucha ran to the semifinals before incurring his first loss. Fullowan went 1-1 in the championship bracket and wrestled his way into Sunday's consolation semifinals as well.
The Diplomats are in 12th place in the field of 13. With 18 team points, F&M trails Harvard by 17.5 points, and holds a dozen on Brown. Cornell is out in front with 146, followed by Lehigh with 105.
In a rematch of the Navy Classic final, Bucha (30-5) opened the championship against Bucknell's Alex Pellicotti. Bucha won that bout 8-4, but his Bison opponent kept things closer on the second go-round. Pellicotti used a knee pick for an early takedown and then worked in a tilt for three near fall points to build a quick 5-0 lead. Bucha used an escape and four confident bull rush doubles to take control of the bout, adding a riding point for good measure in a 10-8 win.
Bucha kept the double working to break open a 1-1 match in the third period. After trading escapes with Rutgers' Matt Fusco, Bucha stuck a pair of doubles in the third, then countered a shot to score for a 7-3 win. The victory was Bucha's 30th of the season making him only the fourth Diplomat to win 30 matches in a year a feat accomplished a total of five times.
Bucha's run in the championship bracket came to an end in the semifinals at the hands of the 133-pound bracket's top seed, Mike Grey of Cornell. After a scoreless first period, Grey escaped off of the whistle in the second. He caught Bucha off guard with 15 seconds left in the period to make it 3-0. Bucha escaped to start the third, but was caught by a Grey double. He managed a reversal, from which Grey escaped. He killed the clock for a 6-3 win.
Fullowan (26-12) stepped out of the way of Ian Roy's shot and hopped on top for the match's only takedown. Roy got free after 32 seconds to cut the lead in half heading into the second period. Roy chose bottom, where Fullowan kept him for the first 50 seconds of the period before Roy could knot it at 2-2 with an escape. Fullowan escaped quickly in the third and tacked on the riding point for the 4-2 win.
Fullowan was bounced to the consolation bracket by Lehigh's Austin Meys. The 174-pound second seed pinned the Diplomat with 1:01 left in the third period. F&M's junior advanced to the consolation quarterfinals by way of injury default. He was slated to wrestle unseeded Tanner Schaffer of American University.
The sophomore faced Columbia's Stephen West in the consolation quarters. The two met back in January and wrestled to a Fullowan 4-2 decision. Today's match ended with the same score, though Fullowan's road was considerably tougher. It appeared he was going to ride out West for a 2-1 edge in the second tiebreaker, but West escaped with three seconds left. In the sudden victory, Fullowan managed a takedown with 17 seconds to survive Saturday. The match was the second of the day and 18th of the season decided by a pair of points of less for Fullowan. He is 13-5 in those bouts.
All of Franklin & Marshall's other wrestlers went out in two bouts. Bucha and Fullowan will return to action tomorrow morning.