LANCASTER, Pa. – The second half of Franklin & Marshall's 2016 schedule continues on Saturday with one of the Diplomats' toughest matchups of the year, when Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA) powerhouse and the nation's No. 8 team Lehigh heads to the Mayser Center for a 2:00 p.m. matchup.
The Week Ahead
Saturday, Jan. 16 – No. 8 Lehigh | Mayser Center | 2:00 PM
Saturday, Jan. 16 - Millersville Open | All Day
A Look at Lehigh: A staggering seven out of 10 spots in Lehigh's lineup are occupied by top-20 grapplers (125 – Darian Cruz (No. 13), 141 – Randy Cruz (No. 18), 157 – Mitch Minotti (No. 9), 165 – Ryan Preisch (No. 15), 184 – Nathaniel Brown (No. 3), 197 – John Bolich (No. 15), 285 – Max Wessell (No. 12).
The Mountain Hawks enter competition holding a 9-1, 4-0 EIWA record with notable wins on the year including a 22-12 defeat of No. 16 Minnesota on Nov. 15, a 34-3 domination of No. 25 Princeton on Dec. 5 and a 30-7 bashing of No. 8 Oklahoma on Dec. 20. Now riding a seven-match winning streak, their lone loss on the year was to No. 10 Nebraska on Nov. 15.
The overall series record belongs to Lehigh at 28-1 and these teams last squared off on Jan. 24 of last season when the Diplomats traveled to Bethlehem, falling in a 40-6 loss. Robert Ruiz (133) picked up F&M's points when he pinned Sean Somers at 2:32.
Matchup to Watch: A pair of nationally-ranked wrestlers are projected to face off at 141 when Lehigh's Randy Cruz (No. 18) and F&M's Rick Durso (No. 15) are set to meet for the first time. Cruz enters with a 14-4 record on the season, which includes a 7-2 dual mark, and is the reigning EIWA Champion at 141. Durso has won four straight, including a perfect 3-0 record on Saturday at the Pitt Duals.
Last Time Out: F&M competed in a trio of matches at the Pitt Duals on Saturday afternoon, finishing with a 1-2 record at the event. The Diplomats (3-7, 0-3 EIWA) downed Davidson by a dominant 32-6 score, before falling to EIWA opponent Columbia (27-15) and the nation's No. 20 ranked team Pittsburgh (25-12).
Overall, the team put together a solid performance, winning 15 of the 30 matchups on the day, including a 3-0 record from Rick Durso and strong showings from 125-pounder Aaron Moldoff (2-1) and 285-pounder Antonio Pelusi (2-1).
Shattering the Record: With a 3-0 mark last weekend, Durso improved to 25-8 on the season, and continues to distance himself from the school's previous all-time wins record, held by Craig Blackman's '81 with a career mark of 117-31-2. A three-time NCAA qualifier and 2014 All-American, Durso now holds a 131-26 overall record.
Moving up the Chart: Durso has also accumulated five pins during his senior campaign and now sits tied for sixth on the program's all-time list with 23 in his career. Justin Herbert '09 holds the record with 35.
Where Durso Stacks Up at 141
No. 13 – FLO Wrestling
No. 15 – InterMat Wrestling
No. 17 – Wrestlingreport.com
No. 18 – The Open Mat (TOM)