LANCASTER, Pa. – A prestigious 55-year event, as well as a unique first-year competition, highlights an exciting final week of 2017 for the Franklin & Marshall wrestling team. The Diplomats are set to send a pair of unattached grapplers to the annual Midlands Championships on Friday, while also squaring off with four of the nation's top dual teams at the first-ever South Beach Duals in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
The Week Ahead
Friday, Dec. 29-30 – Midlands – All Day
Friday, Dec. 29-30 – South Beach Duals 11:00/1:00 PM
A Look at the Midlands: The Diplomats are set to send a pair of unattached competitors out to compete at the 55th annual Midlands Championships, hosted by Northwestern. Anthony Mancini (184 pounds) and Paddy Quinlan (141/149 pounds) will take part in the two-day event, which is being held this year at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Illinois.
Last year's event featured the largest field in the history of the tournament and consisted of 71 ranked wrestlers, including 38 that placed in the top-10 of their respective weight classes.
Both Mancini and Quinlan competed at the tournament last season with Mancini nearly pulling off an upset over Myles Martin, the defending 184-pound National Champion from Ohio State, but suffering a narrow 12-10 SV-1 loss. Quinlan earned a victory in his opening bout with a 10-3 decision over Indiana's Tommy Cash.
All four sessions will be broadcast on FloWrestling and BTN Plus (both $). Each mat is a different stream on BTN2Go, while Flo will be here. The Big Ten Network will not be broadcasting the final sessions as they have in years past.
A Look at the South Beach Duals: F&M will compete in four bouts over a span of two days at the first South Beach Duals, starting Friday at the Deerfield Beach Sportsplex in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The event will feature a total of six mats with continuous action, beginning at 11:00 a.m. and ending with duals at 1:00 p.m.
Track wrestling is covering the event with live results and video, which can be accessed here. F&M's schedule of events can be found below. More information on the competition, including a full schedule of events, can be found on the tournament webpage, located here.
Friday – 11:00 AM vs. Binghamton
Binghamton enters the South Beach Duals with a 3-1 record and is riding a three-match winning streak. Each of those victories came at the Indiana Duals on Nov. 26 with wins over Indianapolis (35-7), Indiana (29-6) and Eastern Michigan (28-13). Binghamton's top grappler is 184-pounder Steven Schneider who is ranked No. 13 in the nation. These squads last faced off on Jan. 14, 2017 with the Bearcats securing a 38-12 win.
Friday – 1:00 PM vs. Michigan St.
The Diplomats had faced the Big 10's Michigan State just once in program history, last squaring off in 1938 when F&M captured a win over the Spartans. Michigan St. enters action with a 1-1 record, including a narrow 18-17 win over Buffalo last time out on Dec. 8. The Spartans' lineup consists of a pair of top-20 wrestlers in 141-pounder Javier Gasca (No. 18) and 174-pounder Drew Hughes (No. 19).
Saturday – 11:00 AM vs. North Dakota St.
NDSU, who received votes in the USA Today/NWCA Coaches National Poll, currently sits with a 1-4 record on the year. The Bison have faced four opponents ranked in the nation's top-20, including No. 18 Central Michigan in a 19-16 win on Dec. 10. Three Bison find their names in top-20 rankings at 133 pounds, 157 pounds, and 165 pounds. F&M has only faced NDSU once in program history, winning the lone matchup in 1974.
Saturday – 1:00 PM vs. No. 21 Rider
F&M last faced Rider on Feb. 4, 2012, when the Diplomats fell by a 35-6 score in Mayser. The teams have battled 11 times since 1977 with F&M trailing the series at 5-6. A pair of Broncs rank in the top 10, including 165-pounder Chad welsh, who ranks as high as No. 3, and 2015 All-American 157-pounder B.J. Clagon, who is ranked eighth by three publications. Rider is 2-1 on the year with wins over Iowa State (22-15) and Penn. (19-15) while also taking third as a team at the Keystone Classic on Nov. 19.
VMI Recap: F&M's youth movement was on full display on Dec. 2 in a dominant 25-12 victory over VMI. The Diplomats, who evened their season dual meet record to 1-1, won seven of 10 matchups and saw their freshmen go 3-0 on the day. The win marked the first time since 1948 that F&M was victorious on the road against VMI.
To read the complete recap, click here.
Wilkes Open Recap: Anthony Mancini secured third place, and Josh Young took fifth to lead four F&M grapplers at the Wilkes Open on Dec. 22. Both Mancini and Young competed unattached for the Diplomats. Mancini tallied two pins on the day and finished with a 4-1 record at the tournament, while Young placed in his first tournament of the season after collecting four consecutive wins to close out his day.
Full results from the Wilkes Open are available here.
Wins Leaders: Freshman Brett Kulp (141 pounds) paces the Diplomats with an 8-4 record in the early going of 2017-18, including a perfect 2-0 mark in duals. Antonio Pelusi, a 2016 NCAA Qualifier at 285 pounds, sits at 7-4. Freshman Wil Gil (133 pounds) holds an impressive 10-8 record, including a 6-3 mark against EIWA foes, and has registered a team-leading four pins.
Competing unattached, Anthony Mancini holds a 10-4 record at 184 pounds.
To view complete 2017-18 statistics, click here.
South Beach Duals Fan Package: F&M has been chosen to compete in the first South Beach Duals in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., during winter break. For the occasion, F&M wrestling has put together a fan package that includes one F&M beach towel, one F&M Wrestling visor, one pair of F&M sunglasses, and one ticket to a Dec. 27 reception co-hosted by the F&M Florida Alumni Chapter. The cost of the Florida Fan package is $250. For more information on how to purchase a fan package, click here.
David H. Lehman F&M Open: Sponsorship opportunities, as well as a variety of ways to get involved, are still available for the Jan. 6 David H. Lehman F&M Open in Lancaster. For more information on how you can assist with this event, click here.