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Lock Haven, led by two champions, wins its first MAC team title, with Central Michigan in second

by Lock Haven Athletics

Lock Haven team photo courtesy of Lock Haven Athletics


ATHENS, Ohio – Behind two individual championships and a pair of runner-up efforts, the Lock Haven University men's wrestling team hoisted the program's first Mid-American Conference (MAC) Team Championship with 123.5 team points.

Tabbed in the preseason to finish 11th out of the 13 teams, the Bald Eagles silenced the doubters on the way to a dominant team title win with 15.5 points to the nearest competition.

Anthony Noto (Lima, N.Y./Honeoye Falls-Lima (NC State)) and Ben Barton (Louisville, Ky./Trinity (Campbell)) took home individual championships, while the Bald Eagles added three additional automatic qualifiers to their roster that will advance to the NCAA Championships in two weeks.

Shortly after he took over the program, head men's wrestling coach Scott Moore used the term "The Rise" to describe his plans for the Bald Eagles program. The Bald Eagles wrote another chapter in that story by going from worst to first in the MAC and becoming the first new team champion in the MAC in over twenty years.

In winning the team title, Lock Haven became the first team to win a MAC wrestling title outside of Missouri or Central Michigan since Ohio won the title back in 2001. The Bald Eagles also picked up individual championships at 125 and 157 pounds en route to the program's second conference championship in four years.

Noto picked up his 27th win in a row with a thrilling 3-1 sudden victory over Clarion's Joey Fischer in the 125-pound final.

Following an early feeling-out period, Noto looked to earn a takedown in the waning seconds of the first period but the challenge was not in Noto's favor as the bout remained scoreless after a period of action. Fischer chose bottom to start the second period and earned a quick-escape as Noto trailed 1-0 as the match headed to the final period.

Noto quickly returned the favor at the start of the third and drew the bout to a 1-1 deadlock with an escape of his own with 1:25 remaining. Both wrestlers battled at the center of the mat for the remainder of regulation as the bout headed to sudden victory.

In the sudden victory period, the bout remained at the center of the mat until Noto sprung for a deep single leg and wrapped Fischer's hips. Noto then used a lift and a mat return to score the takedown with 50 ticks left in the first extra session to earn his first MAC championship and book his trip to the NCAA Championships in Detroit.

In the 157-pound final, Barton made it two-for-two for the Bald Eagles in the finals with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over top-seeded Johnny Lovett of Central Michigan.

Following a scoreless first period, Barton deferred his choice to the third and surrendered a quick escape in the second period but equalized the match with a penalty point on a stalling call on Lovett as the bout went to the third period at a 1-1 deadlock.

Barton chose bottom to start the third period and scored a quick escape to take a 2-1 advantage with 1:47 to go. Over the remainder of the bout, the action remained at the center of the mat as Barton upset the Chippewas top-seeded Lovett to earn his third trip to the NCAA Championships.

Ashton Eyler (Millersburg, Ohio/Claymont High (Iowa Central CC)) fell behind early in the championship bout at 165 pounds but used an escape to draw the bout to a 2-1 margin after three minutes of action.

In the second period, Eyler picked up an escape but trailed by a 5-2 tally as the match headed to the final frame. Eyler chose bottom to start the third and posted a quick escape to bring the match to a 5-3 score. With 36 ticks left, Eyler posted a takedown to knot the match up at 5-5 before riding out the rest of the period to force a sudden victory session.

Eyler surrendered a takedown in the sudden victory period to fall by a 7-5 tally to top-seeded Izzak Olejnik of Northern Illinois. Despite the loss, Eyler booked his first trip to the NCAA Championships with his second-place finish.

Isaac Reid (Saltsburg, Pa./Kiski) surged to the finals at 285 pounds where he met up with four-time MAC champion Matt Stencel from Central Michigan. Reid surrendered a quick takedown in the first period but earned an escape to trail by a 2-1 tally after three minutes of action.

Reid deferred his choice to the third period and allowed a Stencil escape in the second period as he trailed by two points, 3-1, as the bout headed to the final two minutes.

The Kiski, Pa. product took bottom to start the third period and needed just 29 seconds to score an escape and draw the bout back to a 3-2 tally with 1:31 to go. Reid couldn't pick up the go-ahead take down as he was edged out by Stencel by a 4-2 tally after riding time.

Reid's weekend wasn't finished though as he had to compete in a true-second match to determine the automatic qualifier at 285 pounds. In the bout, Reid was matched up with Clarion's Tyler Bagoly who he defeated in dual-meet action earlier in the season.

In the true-second place matchup, Reid used a pair of first period takedowns to run out to a 4-2 lead after three minutes of action. Reid deferred his choice to the third period and Bagoly chose bottom and escaped quickly to draw the score to a 4-3 advantage for Reid. With 40 ticks left in the second, Reid powered through for a takedown to push the lead to 6-3 which is where it would stay as the bout headed to the third period.

Reid chose neutral to start the third and scored a quick takedown to extend his lead before adding another late takedown and a riding time point to book his trip to the NCAA Championships with an 11-5 victory over Bagoly.

At 149 pounds, Dashawn Farber (Bethlehem, Pa./Nazareth High School) used a second-period reversal to take the lead and never looked back en route to a 3-2 decision victory over Ohio University's Alec Hagan. Farber dropped a tough 3-2 decision in the consolation semifinals to fall into the fifth-place bout where he took the conference's final 149-pound NCAA Championship automatic qualifier position via medical forfeit victory over George Mason's Alex Madrigal.

Gable Strickland (Benton, Pa./Benton) went unbeaten on the day to pick up a third-place finish at 133 pounds.

Strickland advanced to the consolation finals behind a hard-fought 5-3 decision victory over Bloomsburg's Cole Rhone. In a battle of Benton High School graduates, Strickland used takedowns in the first and second periods to take a lead into the third period. In the third, Strickland tallied an escape to advance to the consolation finals against Ohio University's Giovanni DiSabato.

In the bronze-medal match, Strickland scored a second-period reversal after a scoreless first period and took a 2-1 lead into the third. Strickland allowed an escape early in the final period but responded with a quick takedown to own a 4-2 lead with 84 ticks remaining. Over the final minute of action, Strickland surrendered a final escape but it wasn't enough as the Bald Eagle wrapped up the year with a thrilling 4-3 victory over DiSabato.

The Bald Eagles picked up a sixth-place finish behind the efforts of Colin Fegley (Mahanoy, Pa./Mahanoy). Fegley opened the day with a victory via fall over Buffalo's Peter Accardi. Following a third-period takedown, Fegley took the lead and used a cradle near the edge of the mat to flatten Accardi at the 6:15 mark of the bout and advance to the consolation semifinals.

Fegley dropped a tough 5-3 decision in the consolation semifinals and later fell by a 3-2 decision in the fifth-place bout to Clarion's Max Wohlabaugh to wrap up the season.

Tyler Stoltzfus (Mifflinburg, Pa./Saint Joseph's Academy) wrapped up his first year in a Crimson and White singlet with a seventh-place finish at 174 pounds. Stoltzfus dropped a tough 9-6 decision in the consolation quarterfinals before wrapping up his year with an 8-0 major decision triumph over Anthony Rice of Cleveland State. The Mifflinburg, Pa. native concluded up his inaugural campaign with the Bald Eagles with 23 wins including six pins, four tech falls and four major decision victories.

At 197 pounds, Parker McClellan (Altoona, Pa./Altoona) wrapped up his Lock Haven career with a seventh-place finish. McClellan fell by a 6-0 tally to Central Michigan's Aaron Bolo before earning a victory via medical forfeit in the seventh-place bout to wrap up his career as a Bald Eagle with 52 career victories.

This weekend's action marked just the third MAC tournament appearance for LHU. Lock Haven officially joined the Mid-American Conference for the 2019-20 season and the Bald Eagles made an immediate impact after placing fifth of 15 in the team standings. Back in 2020, Lock Haven Jared Siegrist made history in becoming LHU's first ever MAC Champion and was one of seven placewinners at the conference tournament.

Last season, Lock Haven competed at the MAC championships for just the second time. For the Bald Eagles, last season's appearance at the conference tournament marked their only competition of the 2020-21 season, which was impacted heavily by the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Prior to the historic move to the Mid-American Conference, Lock Haven closed its run in the Eastern Wrestling League (EWL) in dominating fashion. During the 2018-19 season – LHU's last in the EWL – the Bald Eagles claimed their second straight conference title and third overall.

After all the conference tournaments have concluded, the NCAA Division I Wrestling Committee will meet in-person to select the remaining 43 at-large qualifiers, which will be announced on March 8, while brackets and seeding will be announced on at 6 p.m. on March 9. All weight classes will consist of 33 wrestlers.

Editor’s Note: Northern Illinois had three champions, all No. 1 seeds: Izzak Olejnik (165), Mason Kauffman (174) and Brit Wilson (184). Wilson was a repeat champion. Other individual champions were Richie Koehler (Rider (133), Quinn Kinner of Rider (141), Kody Komara of Kent State (149), Benjamin Smith of Cleveland State (197) and Matt Stencel of Central Michigan (285). Stencel won his fifth MAC title. The conference had 22 Pre-Allocation Spots to the NCAA Championships.

At Athens, Ohio

125 pounds (1 NCAA qualifier)
1st Place Match - Anthony Noto (Lock Haven) 30-1, RS Fr. over Joey Fischer (Clarion) 24-11, Fr. (SV-1 3-1)
3rd Place Match - Jake Ferri (Kent State) 26-9, Sr. over Brock Bergelin (Central Michigan) 21-11, RS Sr. (SV-1 7-5)
5th Place Match - Tristan Daugherty (Buffalo) 14-13, So. over Oscar Sanchez (Ohio) 19-11, RS So. (TB-1 4-3)
7th Place Match - Bryce West (Northern Illinois) 16-15, RS Fr. over Austin Macias (SIU Edwardsville) 3-14, Sr. (Dec 8-5)

133 pounds (1 NCAA qualifier)
1st Place Match - Richie Koehler (Rider) 21-7, RS So. over Derek Spann (Buffalo) 18-7, . (Dec 4-1)
3rd Place Match - Gable Strickland (Lock Haven) 19-13, Fr. over Giovanni DiSabato (Ohio) 18-9, Jr. (Dec 4-3)
5th Place Match - Cole Rhone (Bloomsburg) 17-7, RS So. over Aaron Schulist (SIU Edwardsville) 2-4, Sr. (Fall 0:58)
7th Place Match - Jake Manley (Cleveland State) 12-12, So. over Vincente Perez (Central Michigan) 17-22, RS So. (MD 12-3)

141 pounds (3 NCAA qualifiers)
1st Place Match - Quinn Kinner (Rider) 18-6, RS So. over Josh Mason (Bloomsburg) 19-9, RS Jr. (Dec 4-1)
3rd Place Match - Gabe Willochell (Edinboro) 23-8, So. over Jaivon Jones (Northern Illinois) 17-16, Jr. (Dec 2-0)
5th Place Match - Seth Koleno (Clarion) 29-9, Jr. over Saul Ervin (SIU Edwardsville) 16-9, Sr. (Dec 5-2)
7th Place Match - Louis Newell (Kent State) 20-18, So. over Kaden Cassidy (George Mason) 17-8, Fr. (Dec 5-3)

149 pounds (5 NCAA qualifiers)
1st Place Match - Kody Komara (Kent State) 16-11, RS Sr. over Marcus Robinson (Cleveland State) 18-4, RS Jr. (Fall 4:02)
3rd Place Match - Corbyn Munson (Central Michigan) 26-7, RS Jr. over John Arceri (Buffalo) 22-10, . (Dec 1-0)
5th Place Match - Dashawn Farber (Lock Haven) 15-15, Fr. over Alex Madrigal (George Mason) 20-6, RS Sr. (M. For.)
7th Place Match - Alec Hagan (Ohio) 26-8, RS Sr. over Caleb Tyus (SIU Edwardsville) 10-14, Fr. (Dec 4-3)

157 pounds (2 NCAA qualifiers)
1st Place Match - Ben Barton (Lock Haven) 24-7, RS Sr. over Johnny Lovett (Central Michigan) 21-6, RS So. (Dec 2-1)
3rd Place Match - Michael Petite (Buffalo) 15-7, RS Jr. over Jordan Slivka (Ohio) 25-7, RS So. (Dec 4-3)
5th Place Match - Alex Carida (Bloomsburg) 26-10, Sr. over Anthony Gibson (Northern Illinois) 20-13, Sr. (MD 14-3)
7th Place Match - Avery Bassett (George Mason) 24-9, Fr. over Cole McComas (Rider) 4-12, Fr. (Dec 8-1)

165 pounds (3 NCAA qualifiers)
1st Place Match - Izzak Olejnik (Northern Illinois) 24-4, Sr. over Ashton Eyler (Lock Haven) 31-9, RS Jr. (SV-1 7-5)
3rd Place Match - Riley Smucker (Cleveland State) 21-4, Sr. over Tracy Hubbard (Central Michigan) 23-11, RS Jr. (Dec 2-1)
5th Place Match - Joe Casey (Rider) 4-4, Sr. over Noah Grover (Buffalo) 19-15, RS Sr. (M. For.)
7th Place Match - Kolby Ho (Clarion) 16-9, Jr. over Brady Chrisman (Kent State) 16-15, RS Jr. (M. For.)

174 pounds (2 NCAA qualifiers)
1st Place Match - Mason Kauffman (Northern Illinois) 21-9, Sr. over Sal Perrine (Ohio) 24-3, Fr. (Dec 7-5)
True Second Place - Jay Nivison (Buffalo) 16-8, So. over Sal Perrine (Ohio) 21-3, Fr. (Dec 3-2)
3rd Place Match - Jay Nivison (Buffalo) 18-9, So. over Logan Messer (George Mason) 27-9, Fr. (Dec 4-3)
5th Place Match - Bret Fedewa (Central Michigan) 24-14, RS Sr. over John Worthing (Clarion) 18-9, RS Fr. (Dec 11-4)
7th Place Match - Tyler Stoltzfus (Lock Haven) 22-14, Fr. over Anthony Rice (Cleveland State) 5-18, Jr. (MD 8-0)

184 pounds (2 NCAA qualifiers)
1st Place Match - Brit Wilson (Northern Illinois) 25-4, RS Fr. over Colin McCracken (Kent State) 15-9, RS Sr. (MD 8-0)
True Second Place - Colin McCracken (Kent State) 14-8, RS Sr. over Kyle Davis (George Mason) 9-7, RS Jr. (Dec 9-4)
3rd Place Match - Kyle Davis (George Mason) 13-7, RS Jr. over DeAndre Nassar (Cleveland State) 17-6, Jr. (SV-1 3-1)
5th Place Match - Max Wohlabaugh (Clarion) 10-12, RS Sr. over Colin Fegley (Lock Haven) 13-16, RS Fr. (Dec 3-2)
7th Place Match - Peter Acciardi (Buffalo) 13-12, RS Jr. over Sergio Villalobos (SIU Edwardsville) 8-16, Sr. (SV-1 (Fall) 7:56)

197 pounds (1 NCAA qualifier)
1st Place Match - Benjamin Smith (Cleveland State) 20-4, Sr. over Will Feldkamp (Clarion) 19-4, RS Jr. (Fall 2:07)
3rd Place Match - Aaron Bolo (Central Michigan) 16-8, RS Sr. over Ryan Yarnell (SIU Edwardsville) 9-14, Sr. (Dec 9-3)
5th Place Match - Tyler Bates (Kent State) 15-16, RS Jr. over Cody Mulligan (Edinboro) 22-10, Sr. (Dec 3-2)
7th Place Match - Parker McClellan (Lock Haven) 16-16, Sr. over Carson Brewer (Ohio) 7-8, RS So. (M. For.)

285 pounds (2 NCAA qualifiers)
1st Place Match - Matt Stencel (Central Michigan) 18-4, RS Sr. over Isaac Reid (Lock Haven) 25-4, RS So. (Dec 4-2)
True Second Place - Isaac Reid (Lock Haven) 23-3, RS So. over Tyler Bagoly (Clarion) 11-6, RS Jr. (Dec 11-5)
3rd Place Match - Tyler Bagoly (Clarion) 14-6, RS Jr. over Tobin Cahill (Buffalo) 15-15, RS Sr. (Dec 7-3)
5th Place Match - Colton McKiernan (SIU Edwardsville) 16-10, Sr. over David Szuba (Rider) 17-13, Fr. (Dec 6-4)
7th Place Match - Terrese Aaron (Northern Illinois) 12-17, Sr. over Max Millin (Edinboro) 10-22, So. (Dec 3-1)

Team Standings
1 Lock Haven 123.5
2 Central Michigan 108.0
3 Northern Illinois 93.0
4 Buffalo 92.5
5 Clarion 79.5
6 Cleveland State 73.5
7 Kent State 71.5
8 Rider 68.0
9 Ohio 61.5
10 SIU Edwardsville 52.0
11 George Mason 47.0
12 Bloomsburg 42.0
13 Edinboro 30.5
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