LANCASTER, Pa. – The final week of the regular season figures to be an eventful one for the Franklin & Marshall wrestling team as the Diplomats conclude with a two-match home stand by welcoming Millersville to Mayser on Thursday for the annual Rupp Cup, before hosting Sacred Heart on Saturday for senior day.
Thursday, Feb. 18 – Millersville (Rupp Cup) | Mayser | 8:30 PM
Saturday, Feb. 20 – Sacred Heart (Senior Day) | Mayser | 8:00 PM
A Look at Millersville: The Marauders enter action with a 6-8 record and a 1-6 mark in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC). On Friday, Millersville fell to Wheeling Jesuit by criteria at 20-19.
The all-time series lead still belongs to the Marauders at 15-8, dating back to 1994. However, F&M has taken the previous five contests, including a 24-12 win last season.
Rupp Cup: The Diplomats and the Marauders meet annually for the battle of the Rupp Cup in honor of Lancaster County's wrestling patriarch, Ted Rupp. A student at the Franklin & Marshall Academy and Franklin & Marshall College, Rupp maintained strong ties to both his alma mater and Millersville University. In 1948-49, Rupp coached both Millersville and F&M, finishing with a 20-2 combined record.
That is believed to have been the only time in collegiate wrestling history when one man coached two colleges concurrently. In honor of his distinguished service to both institutions, the Rupp Cup is now awarded to the winner of the annual meeting.
A Look at Sacred Heart: A fellow Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA) competitor, the Pioneers head to Lancaster with a 2-14 record on the season. Following 10 straight losses, Sacred Heart ended the recent skid with a 24-10 win on the road against Bloomsburg on Saturday.
The Diplomats hold a 6-2 edge in the all-time series that began in 2000 and have won the previous five meetings, including a 21-13 victory last season.
Senior Day: On Saturday against Sacred Heart, the program will recognize its seven-member senior class of Rick Durso, Brandon Giovanetti, Colin Gironda, Charles Kerkesner, Aaron Moldoff, Scott Stevens and Sharron Townsend.
Last Time Out: F&M got back in the win column on Saturday afternoon, taking two of the final three matches to down George Mason by a narrow 21-17 score in Fairfax, Va. The victory was the first over the Patriots since 2006 and marked the Diplomats first road win on the season. F&M improved to 4-12 with the decision while George Mason fell to 6-10.
Leading by a slight 15-14 score heading into 184, F&M's Anthony Mancini delivered the Diplomats a clutch 5-1 decision win. Charles Kerkesner (197) clinched the contest in the next bout, dominating his opponent with four takedowns en route to an 11-5 decision.
To read the complete match recap, click here.
Shattering the Record: With his win on Saturday, Durso improved to 31-8 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 137-26 overall record. He also now has win totals of 30 or more in each of his four seasons in Lancaster.
Win Streak: Durso has won 10 straight matchups and 18 of his previous 20. He also holds a notable 15-2 mark against EIWA opponents.
Moving up the Chart: Durso has accumulated six pins during his senior campaign and now sits tied for fifth on the program's all-time list with 24 in his career. Justin Herbert '09 holds the record with 35.
Coaches' Rankings and RPI: Last week, the NCAA released the second of four coaches' panel rankings and a preliminary release of the ratings percentage index (RPI). Both are major tools in the selection process for determining the qualifiers and seeding for the 2016 NCAA Championships.
Durso remained at No. 14 in the coaches' rankings, while debuting at No. 9 in the RPI. Harvard's Todd Preston is the only EIWA competitor with a higher ranking in the coaches' poll, currently sitting at No. 9. Head-to-head, Durso downed Preston with a 2-0 decision at home on Jan. 22.
Get Your Tickets: Fans can begin purchasing their tickets for both the EIWA Championships and the NCAA Championships. The EIWA's are being hosted by Princeton on March 5-6, while the NCAA's will take place in historic Madison Square Garden on March 17-19.
Where Durso Stacks up at 141
No. 7 – Amateur Wrestling News (AWN)
No. 11 – Wrestlingreport.com
No. 11 – FLO Wrestling
No. 12 – InterMat Wrestling
No. 15 – The Open Mat (TOM)