LANCASTER, Pa. – Franklin & Marshall's wrestling team takes part in its final home competition of the season when the Diplomats welcome the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association's (EIWA) No. 5 team Drexel to Lancaster for a 7:00 p.m. dual. F&M enters action with a 2-6 mark, while the Dragons sit at 6-9, not including a matchup against Rider on Friday evening.
To watch this week's interview with head coach Mike Rogers, click here.
Saturday, Feb. 7 – F&M vs. Drexel – 7:00 PM
A Look Drexel
The Dragons hold a 13-2 advantage over the Diplomats in a series dating back to 1979. Last time out the Dragons fell to North Carolina by a 22-13 score with their last win coming against American by a narrow 19-18 margin on Jan. 31.
Multiple Drexel grapplers hold spots in the national and conference rankings. Tanner Shoap ranks No. 6 in the EIWA, while 133-pounder Kevin Devoy sits at No. 2 in the conference and No. 16 in the nation. At 141, David Pearce is No. 6 in the EIWA rankings and 149-pounder Matt Cimato (149) is No. 4.
Last Time Out
F&M battled early but was unable to overcome a series of tough matchups in the middle of the lineup, as Princeton came away with a 25-9 victory on Saturday evening at the Mayser Center.
Princeton clawed its way out to a 3-0 lead following the opening bout at 125, but F&M's Edgar Garcia fought hard throughout the defeat. Garcia was ahead by a 5-3 score following the opening period, before nine points from the Tigers in the second stanza sealed the decision.
Scott Stevens quickly tied the match at 3-3 with his 6-2 decision at 133. The junior grappler earned a pair of takedowns, one in both the first and third periods, to claim the victory. Princeton jumped back out in front with a 4-2 decision at 141, but needed a pair of sudden victories to do so. Points proved hard to come by in the matchup as a late takedown in overtime from the Tigers' Jordan Laster made the difference.
Following a narrow 13-9 loss at 149, F&M got the momentum back on its side at 157, when a dramatic Rob King escape with just 16 seconds remaining in the third broke a scoreless tie and handed the 1-0 decision to the Diplomats' senior.
Trailing by a meager 9-6 score heading into 165, F&M suffered a pin at 174, a 10-6 loss at 174 and a 17-7 major at 184 to fall behind for good at 22-6. Charles Kerkesner provided a positive note at 197, scoring three takedowns and a pair of reversals to capture the 10-5 decision.
Moving Up the Charts
Robert Ruiz continues his ascent up the program's career wins leaders. The senior grappler has 68 wins entering Saturday's contest, a mark that places him tied for 13th all-time. He needs seven more victories on the season to move into the top 10. The all-time record belongs to Craig Blackman '81 with 117.
On Saturday, the Diplomats will honor four members of their senior class in the group's final competition at Mayser. Ruiz enters the dual with a 68-60 record through his time in Lancaster, while Alex Henry has amassed 44 wins. Isaiah Cromwell has recorded 30 and Adam Schroder has captured 18 victories.
Freshman Patrick Quinlan leads the Diplomats with a 19-8 mark at 133, followed by Robert Ruiz with 15 victories on the season. Jason Bing, Rob King and Alex Henry have 14 victories a piece, while Charles Kerkesner (12), Colin Gironda (12), Scott Stevens (11) and Andrew Francos (10) round out the list of Diplomats with double-figure win totals. To view the complete 2014-15 records for F&M's wrestlers, click here.