HACKETTSTOWN, N.J. -– With the former New Jersey Governor Thomas Kean in attendance, No. 6 Centenary was looking for a big win against conference rival No. 8 Delaware Valley College and they made Kean proud with a 25-15 win against the Aggies.
The Aggies jumped out to an early start in the first bout, picking up a takedown in the first period and a neutral point from the defensive position in the second to take a 3-0 lead moving into the final period of 125 lbs. Unfortunately Erick Orellana could not pick up any points in the final period from the offensive position, falling to Charlie Frankel 3-0.
With the team down 3-0, Zach Huxford stepped up, coming up with a takedown at the end of the first period to take a 2-0 lead into the second. His momentum continued into the second period, pulling out of the defensive position for another point to take a 3-0 lead into the final period. His strength continued into the final period, working his way to a cradle position where he was able to get the pin over Pat Davis at 5:54, giving the Cyclones a 6-3 lead.
After two neutral periods where Cory C. Vernon was able to work his way out of the defensive position for a point, Delaware Valley’s Dale Fava evened the score in the third period with a neutral of his own. Coming out of the neutral position, Vernon was able to work Fava out of the circle, picking up a penalty point to take a 2-1 lead in the final minute. With only six seconds on the clock, the two went to the neutral position in the middle of the circle, but Fava was able to pull out a quick takedown to take the 3-2 win and tie the match at 6-6.
Despite a scoreless first period, Craig Montgomery put a point on the board escaping from the defensive position in the second, taking a 1-0 lead into the final period against the No. 4 Emmanuel Ajagbe. Taking the offensive position in the final period, Montgomery seemed to have Ajagbe under control in a cradle, but the nationally ranked Ajagbe worked a reversal with 1:20 left in the match to take a 2-1 lead. Unfortunately, a late run by Ajagbe for back points and riding time gave the Aggies a 6-1 win to put them on top of the match 9-6.
What seemed to be a fairly even match at the beginning of 157 lbs. turned quickly for the Aggies as Chris Burdge worked his way through Delaware Valley’s James Dugan, flipping him over and landing him on his back for a pin at 2:38 to send the Cyclones back on top with a 12-9 lead.
With just over a minute left in the first period, Owen Vernon continued the Cyclones momentum with a takedown to take a 2-0 lead into the second period. After choosing the defensive position in the second period, Vernon quickly worked his way back to the neutral position for another point to take a 3-0 lead into the final period. Thanks to another takedown in the third period and 1:32 riding time, Vernon was able to take a 6-0 win to put Centenary ahead 15-9.
With momentum building, Kevin Dufresneworked his magic late in the first period, taking down Dallas Winston at the edge of the circle before working him to his back and near a pin, but was unable to get the near fall call as he took a 2-0 lead into the second period. From the defensive position, Dufresne was able to work his way back to neutral for another point before another takedown near the same spot for a 5-0 lead after two rounds. From that point on Dufresne maintained control as he went on to take a 10-1 major decision behind 2:32 riding time, putting the Cyclones ahead 19-9.
In need of a win to seal the victory, Khalid Shakir and Conner Gabriel remained scoreless through the first round before Shakir worked a point early in the second to take the 1-0 lead into the final period. Gabriel took back the point the same way to open the third period to send the bout to overtime tied at 1-1. After a scoreless first overtime, Gabriel picked up an escape from the defensive position in the first double-overtime period, but Shakir matched it in his half to tie it back up 2-2. Unfortunately with time running out in the double overtime, Gabriel was able to pick up a takedown to take the match 4-2 and bring the Aggies back into it down 19-12.
Following a scoreless first period, Brandon Hull worked a quick point to open the second to take the early 1-0 lead into the final period. Unfortunately Aaron Karns worked the point right back to open the third, tying the bout up 1-1. With 1:03 left in the bout, Karns was able to work back a takedown at the edge of the mat to take the 3-1 lead and eventually the win to bring the Aggies within striking distance.
With the 19-15 lead going into the final bout, the Cyclones need a big win out of senior J.D. Zitone and he came out strong. Opening the match with a takedown, Zitone began to work his position over Michael Boardman’s back before flipping him to his back for a near fall at 1:56 before having to call over the trainer for blood. It didn’t take long for Zitone to answer back however as he flipped Boardman right over to his back for a pin at 1:11 to pick up the six points and give the Cyclones the 25-15 win.