FAIRFAX, Va. - Senior Sam Matzek placed to lead the Cleveland State University wrestling team as it competed in the Eastern Wrestling League Championships Saturday inside George Mason's Eaglebank Arena.
Cleveland State announced earlier this week that it would become an associate member of the Mid-American Conference for wrestling starting next season.
Eight Vikings that took to the mat Saturday were competing in an EWL Championship for the first time. That lack of experience may have been part of the reason why Cleveland State had chances to win many matches Saturday but often came up just short in tight setbacks. Six Vikings were eliminated from the event due to a loss via decision of one or two points.
Seeded fourth, Matzek received a bye into the semifinals. After losing his semifinal bout to the top seed and eventual champion, he responded with a bonus-point win in his first consolation bout.
Matzek used a takedown and two near-fall points to take a 4-1 lead after the first period. He extended his edge to 7-1 after two periods and cruised to a 10-2 major decision.
Matzek trailed by just a single point, 4-3, after two periods of his final match but could not score in the final frame and lost via decision. He placed fourth in his first EWL Championships.
Redshirt sophomore Nico O'Dor advanced to the semifinals at 157 pounds with an upset win. After a scoreless first period, he used an escape and a takedown to build a 3-0 lead after five minutes. O'Dor held on for a 5-3 win.
In the semifinals against the top seed, O'Dor trailed by a single point for the final 90 seconds of the bout but was unable to get a winning takedown before time expired. O'Dor led, 3-1, in the third period of his consolation bout, but his opponent tied the match in the final seconds before winning in a sudden-victory session.
After dropping his first bout of the day, redshirt sophomore Ryan Ford responded with a 10-4 victory in his first consolation bout at 165 pounds. In his next match, Ford got down early and couldn't quite recover. He trailed by a single point in the closing stages of the match and lost a 4-2 decision.
True freshman Ben Smith had a similar day as Ford at 197 pounds. After losing his first bout, Smith responded with an 8-3 victory to open the consolation bracket. He led, 3-1, after two periods in his next bout but a strong third period from his opponent flipped the script, and Smith lost by two points.
Redshirt sophomore Cameron Lathem won his consolation quarterfinal bout over a seeded opponent from Edinboro at 125 pounds. Lathem's setbacks came to the top two seeds in his weight class.
At 133 pounds, redshirt senior Armando Torres lost twice by just two points, one of which came in sudden victory. Redshirt freshman Brady Barnett lost his two matches Saturday by a combined three points at 149 pounds.
CSU finished in seventh place in the team scoring with eight points.
Cleveland State loses just one starter to graduation as it will return nine of the 10 student-athletes that competed Saturday. The Vikings will also welcome back three starters from the 2017-18 season that redshirted this season, including 2018 NCAA qualifier Evan Cheek.
CSU Results at the EWL Championships
Quarterfinals: No. 1 Luke Werner (Lock Haven) over Cameron Lathem (CSU) - Fall 2:19
Consolation Quarterfinals: Lathem (CSU) over No. 4 Lucas Rodriguez (Edinboro) - M. For.
Consolation Semifinals: No. 2 Jonathan Tropea (Rider) over Lathem (CSU) - 12-1 MD
Quarterfinals: No. 4 Seth Koleno (Clarion) over Armando Torres (CSU) - 3-1 dec.
Consolation Quarterfinals: Richie Gomez (Edinboro) over Torres (CSU) - 7-5 SV
Quarterfinals: No. 4 Sam Matzek (CSU) - bye
Semifinals: No. 1 Kyle Shoop (Lock Haven) over No. 4 Sam Matzek (CSU) - 11-1 MD
Consolation Semifinals: No. 4 Matzek (CSU) over Jalin Hankerson (Clarion) - 10-2 MD
Third-Place Match: No. 2 Travis Layton (Rider) over No. 4 Matzek (CSU) - 8-3 dec.
Quarterfinals: No. 5 Brock Port (Lock Haven) over No. 4 Brady Barnett (CSU) - 5-2 dec.
Consolation Quarterfinals: Tyler Vath (Edinboro) over No. 4 Barnett (CSU) - 3-2 dec.
Quarterfinals: No. 5 Nico O'Dor (CSU) over No. 4 Nate Newberry (Bloomsburg) - 5-3 dec.
Semifinals: No. 1 Kolby Ho (George Mason) over No. 5 O'Dor (CSU) - 3-2 dec.
Consolation Semifinals: Mike Bartolo (Clarion) over No. 5 O'Dor (CSU) - 5-3 SV
Quarterfinals: No. 3 Colton DiBlasi (George Mason) over Ryan Ford (CSU) - Fall 0:54
Consolation Quarterfinals: Ford (CSU) over Alex Carida (Bloomsburg) - 10-4 SV
Consolation Semifinals: No. 4 Evan Delong (Clarion) over Ford (CSU) - 4-2 dec.
Quarterfinals: No. 2 Dean Sherry (Rider) over Colton Carroll (CSU) - Fall 2:51
Consolation Semifinals: No. 4 Jared Siegrist (Lock Haven) over Carroll (CSU) - Fall 1:01
Quarterfinals: No. 1 Corey Hazel (Lock Haven) over Chris Morrow (CSU) - 10-4 dec.
Consolation Quarterfinals: Morrow (CSU) - bye
Consolation Semifinals: No. 2 Trevor Allard (Bloomsburg) over Morrow (CSU) - 3-2 dec.
Quarterfinals: No. 3 Dylan Reynolds (Edinboro) over Ben Smith (CSU) - 15-3 MD
Consolation Quarterfinals: Smith (CSU) over Luke McGonigal (Lock Haven) - 8-3 dec.
Consolation Semifinals: Kyle Murphy (Bloomsburg) over Smith (CSU) - 7-5 dec.
Quarterfinals: No. 2 Thomas Haines (Lock Haven) over Collin Kelly - 10-2 MD
Consolation Quarterfinals: Edgar Ruano (Clarion) over Kelly (CSU) - Fall 5:00