Wrestling: Third-Ranked Aggies Tie Second-Ranked Wartburg, 17-17

Feb 04, 2009

Mike Wilcox pinned 184-pound defending champion Romeo Djoumessi in the first period as third-ranked Delaware Valley College went toe to toe with defending champion and second-ranked Wartburg College and finished in a 17-17 tie with the Knights.

The tie moved the Aggies' record to 18-1-2 on the season, including a 2-0-1 mark on their trip to Iowa. Last night, they notched victories over No. 19 Luther College (52-0) and No. 4 Coe College (26-15). Wartburg, which fell to top-ranked Augsburg 24 hours earlier, saw its mark go to 13-2-1.

Wilcox and Djoumessi hit the mat in a rematch of last year's national championship (7-3 decision by Djoumessi) and with Wartburg holding a 14-9 team lead. Wilcox quickly took the defending champ down and looked for back points, but he was too close to the out of bounds marker to earn any. He was then called for a technical violation and Djoumessi was awarded a point.

Wilcox continued to press on and he shocked Djoumessi and the Wartburg crowd by turning him over and pinning him in 2:10. It stopped Djoumessi's 35-match winning streak, upped Wilcox's record to 26-2 and tied the team score at 14-14 with two weight classes remaining.

At 197, Martin Porter took a quick 2-0 lead for the Aggies but a Tate escape made it 2-1 heading into the second period. Porter was then called for locking hands which gave Tate a point, and Tate then escaped for a 3-2 lead. Porter followed with a takedown which Tate then escaped from for a tie. Porter was in the down position in the third period, but Tate rode him for the full two minutes to earn riding time, a 5-4 victory and a 17-14 Wartburg lead.

It then all came down to heavyweight, where Delaware Valley's Kyle Bilquist, ranked second in the country, met fourth-ranked John Helgerson. After a scoreless first period, Helgerson chose down and escaped with 29 seconds left for a 1-0 lead. Bilquist had 1:31 of riding time but could not escape early enough to maintain at least a minute of that time and earn an extra point. Helgerson was penalized for an illegal hold to even the match at 1-1 and Bilquist finally got away from Helgerson's grip with a minute remaining. Bilquist held on for the 2-1 win, his third over a ranked opponent in the last two days. He moved his mark to 22-3 and the match ended in a 17-17 tie. Had criteria been used to break the tie (which is done in tournaments to advance a team), Delaware Valley would've come out ahead because each squad won five weight classes and then the Aggies had the next edge thanks to Wilcox's pin.

Chris Sheetz and Brandon Clemmer each rallied from third-period deficits to win their matches at 125 and 133 pounds respectively for a 6-0 Aggie lead. Sheetz, ranked fourth in Division III, was down 3-1 to sixth-ranked Mark Kist when he registered a takedown and a two-point near fall with 45 seconds remaining for a 5-3 advantage. Kist escaped, but Sheetz held on for the 5-4 win and improved his record to 28-4.

Clemmer's win was even more dramatic as the sixth-ranked wrestler trailed No. 2 Mark Kelly 7-4 heading into the final 20 seconds. Clemmer then picked up a takedown and nearly pinned Kelly, but time ran out and Clemmer was awarded three points for the near fall and a 9-7 triumph. The win was the senior's 23rd in 29 matches this year.

Eric McCann (141) and Dale Fava (149), faced tough tasks as they each battled second-ranked opponents in Zach McKray and Jacob Naig. Both Aggies dropped their matches, but they were only decisions to tie the team score at 6-6. McCann fell 10-4 to McKray while Naig, the defending national champion at his weight class, earned a 7-2 decision over Fava.

The Knights threw out another defending champion at 157 pounds as Aaron Wernimont took on Delaware Valley's Robbie Hickman. Wernimont won his 72nd consecutive match with a 22-7 technical fall victory and an 11-6 Wartburg lead halfway through the contest.

Delaware Valley College's Justin Barowski had a two-point near fall in the early seconds of the second period against top-ranked Justin Hanson to tie the match at 4-4. However, Hanson notched an escape and a takedown for a 7-4 advantage heading into the third. Hanson extended the lead and finished with a 12-7 decision to up the Knights' lead to 14-6.

Rocky Mantella remained undefeated and made it a 14-9 team score, but it wasn't easy, as the fifth-ranked 174 pound wrestler needed overtime to earn a 9-7 decision over Grant Jenkins. Mantella was cruising at 5-1 in the third period before Jenkins escaped and then got a takedown and a three-point near fall to go on top 7-5. Mantella escaped with 10 seconds to go and had riding time to tie the match at 7-7 and force the extra session. He then notched a takedown 15 ticks into the overtime to move his mark to 21-0. That made the team score 14-9 and led into Wilcox's heroics at 184.

Delaware Valley will return to action on Thursday, February 5 when it travels to Division I East Stroudsburg University.

125 - Chris Sheetz (DelVal) by decision over Mark Kist, 5-4 (3-0 DelVal)
133 - Brandon Clemmer (DelVal) by decision over Matt Kelly, 9-7 (6-0 DelVal)
141 - Zach McKray (W) by decision over Eric McCann, 10-4 (6-3 DelVal)
149 - Jacob Naig (W) by decision over Dale Fava, 7-2 (6-6 DelVal)
157 - Aaron Wernimont (W) by technical fall over Robbie Hickman, 22-7; 7:00 (11-6 W)
165 - Justin Hanson (W) by decision over Justin Barowski, 12-7 (14-6 W)
174 - Rocky Mantella (DelVal) by decision over Grant Jenkins, 9-7 (14-9 W)
184 - Mike Wilcox (DelVal) by fall over Romeo Djousmessi, 2:10 (14-14)**
197 - Byron Tate (W) by decision over Martin Porter, 5-4 (17-14 W)
285 - Kyle Bilquist (DelVal) by decision over John Helgerson, 2-1 (17-17 tie)
** Delaware Valley College was deducted a team point for unsportsmanlike conduct 


Athletics stories provided courtesy of Matthew Levy, Assistant Athletic Director and Sports Information Director.