GRANTHAM, Pa. - Robert Ruiz captured gold at 133 pounds to lead a group of four Franklin & Marshall placewinners at the Messiah Open last Saturday. Seven freshmen competed in the event for the Diplomats, with David Hershberger, Isaiah Cromwell and Adam Schroeder also garnering placewinning honors.
Ruiz posted four wins in the 133-pound bracket to nab the first tournament championship of the year for the Diplomats. After taking down top-seeded Justin Branham of Liberty in round one with a 13-7 decision, Ruiz notched back to back pins to reach the finals. He then ousted Griffin Panicucci of Wilkes by decision, 9-5, to secure gold.
Hershberger (125) and Cromwell (197) each tallied fourth-place finishes on the day for F&M. Hershberger opened with a pinning of Gettysburg's Holt Johnson in 1:44, before taking down Elizabethtown's Kyle McNulty by a 9-2 decision. After falling in the semifinals, he responded with a 7-5 decision over Andrew Petroulias of Gettysburg and claimed fourth.
Cromwell edged out his first round opponent with a 6-5 decision, but dropped his second match to move into the backdraw. From there, Cromwell won three straight, two by decision and one via fall, to reach the third-place bout. Messiah's Charles Jones then outlasted Cromwell, 12-5.
At 174, Schroeder took sixth for the Diplomats. Shroeder pinned Elizabethtown's Kyle Deeds in just 0:37 to open his day, before downing Wilkes' Joshua Rodriguez by a 2-1 decision and adding another pin over Messiah's Stephen Cannon in 1:53. The freshman then fell in his ensuing two matches to grab sixth.
In addition to the four placewinners, the remaining three F&M competitors each tallied at least one victory. Brad Bailey went 2-2 at 174, while Paul Alessandrini (184) and Alex Henry (285) each claimed one win on the day.
F&M returns home to host Columbia on Friday at 7:30 pm in Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA) action at the Mayser Center.