Seniors pull through in final home match for Laker wrestling

It was senior night inside Max Ziel Gymnasium, and how fitting that the only two seniors on the men’s wrestling team stole the show, as the Lakers defeated SUNY Morrisville Tuesday night, 22-13.

Senior Mike Howard defeated Goodson Philippe (7-2) in the 149 pound weight class.

"It meant a lot to win my final match here in Oswego," Howard said. "All of the middle school and high school wrestlers were here and it was good to have them see one of their own." Howard improved to 8-8 on the year.

With the Lakers leading the match 16-13, senior Eric Leusch had the opportunity to close out the match and his career. Leusch would not disappoint the crowd, as he pinned the Mustangs’ 285 pound Clarence Sharrock, snapping the Lakers five dual meet skid.

"There was a decent amount of people here and it’s always nice to win at home," Leusch said. Leusch finish’s the year with a 22-10 record.

The two seniors leave as Academic All Americans.

"To go through the program and commit to four years with the dieting and to meet the academics shows how they have both persevered and worked hard," coach Mike Howard said.

The Lakers started off slow as Paul Slaver dropped the opening match (11-2) to Morrisville’s Justin Delamothe in the 125 pound weight class. Omar Santiago would respond for the Lakers in the 133 weight class by defeating Mustangs Akinniran Akinfemi (10-1) to tie the score at 4-4. The Mustangs Brian Latham defeated Chris Payne (9-7) to regain the lead, 7-4. Howard tied the match, and junior by Nick Rodgers defeated Spencer Brady (6-4) in the 157 pound class to increase the lead for the Lakers. In the 165 pound class, Marc Collins followed up his teammate’s performance by defeating Nate Cross (6-3) to extend the Lakers lead to 13-7. The Mustangs were not done, however, as Zach McCutcheon defeated Gage Banker (8-4) in the 174 pound weight class.Laker Ethan Phillips’ win in the 184 pound class added some cushion to the lead as he defeated Wheeler Brunscmid (8-3). Henry Petry answered right back for the Mustangs as he defeated 197 pound Kyle Sheridan (5-1).

The stage was set for senior Eric Leusch and seizing the opportunity, the senior pinned Clarence Sharrock to seal the victory.

"We were a little flat and didn’t have the intensity we would have liked," Howard said. "We wrestled good in spurts and scored points in bunches but we really want to keep piling them on, and be more aggressive on the mat."

The Lakers’ regular season comes to an end on a positive note and continues in the Empire Conference Wrestling Championships Saturday, Feb 20.

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