Wrestlers Grapple Southern Maine at MSG

Sunday, December 21, 2014
 

Grapple at the Garden The Muhlenberg wrestling team made a grand entrance in its first dual match of the season – both before the contest and during it.

Competing against Southern Maine in the third annual Grapple at the Garden, the Mules were defeated 25-17 in a close, competitive match that came down to the final bout.

Madison Square Garden’s celebration of college wrestling included an opening spectacle that had Muhlenberg taking the mat alongside Division I powers such as Lehigh, Cornell and Edinboro in a darkened arena accompanied by fireworks and swirling spotlights.

Sophomore Jaryd Flank got the fireworks going in the first bout, scoring an early takedown at 125. He was reversed later in the period but did not allow another point, recording four near-falls en route to winning by technical fall with a 17-2 lead in the final minute of the third period.

A forfeit win by freshman Mark Gutierrez at 133 gave the Mules an 11-0 lead.

Southern Maine won the next five bouts to go up in front, 22-11. In the last of those bouts, at 174, junior Jim Coiley marked his return to the mat after missing most of the last two seasons with injury by nearly pinning his opponent in the first 30 seconds. Coiley led 7-3 after two periods and was tied 8-8 in the third before getting pinned.

The upperweights produced a host of firsts for Muhlenberg.

At 184, freshman Logan Laughlin scored a 12-5 decision for his first career win. He recorded four takedowns in the first two periods to open up an 8-2 lead, then responded to a reversal early in the third period with one of his own.

Ian Gimbar At 197, senior Ian Gimbar was impressive in his first competitive bout in four years, leading all the way in a 12-7 decision. The three-time first-team All-Centennial Conference outside linebacker joined the Mule wrestling team for the first time following the end of his football career last month and took his opponent down three times in the first period in his delayed collegiate debut.

“I’m so happy to be back on the mat,” said Gimbar (right). “It’s a feeling I’ve been missing for so long.”

Down 22-17, the Mules had a chance to win the match with a pin at heavyweight. Junior Lenny Smith, another football linebacker making his wrestling debut for the Mules, went for it right off the bat, scoring a takedown just five seconds in. Two escapes left the bout tied 2-2 after two periods. Smith continued to try for a pin and the team win and wound up falling, 7-4.

The match marked the first time Muhlenberg filled all 10 weight classes since 2009, and with seven of the 10 classes manned by wrestlers in their first year of collegiate competition, it marked a big step for the program.
Click here for box score.