Lehigh Valley crowns 3 wrestling All-Americans
Lehigh senior Darian Cruz enjoyed the limelight of being a national champion last year, but got treated the harsh reality of competing in a tough weight class at last weekend’s NCAA Division-I wrestling championships.
Cruz took fifth at 125-pounds during the tournament held at Quicken Loan Arenas in Cleveland, finishing his Lehigh career with a 120-20 record.
After losing 2-0 to Rutgers’ Nick Suriano in the semifinals, Parkland graduate and Minnesota wrestler Ethan Lizak gave him his second loss of the tournament with a 5-2 defeat in the consolation semifinals.
He finished up the tournament with a 7-4 win over Northwestern’s Sebastian Rivera and completes his career as a three-time All-American for Lehigh.
“Unfortunately I didn’t feel like this was my best outing,” said Cruz. “I let it get to me a little, I just didn’t let go with my shots, I felt I underperformed, but I have no regrets.
“I’m very grateful. I have a great family, great coaches, and great teammates. It’s bittersweet. Being an All-American is great, but I wanted and trained for more.”
Lizak, a junior for the Golden Gophers, finished fourth at 125-pounds following an 8-6 overtime loss to Ohio State’s Nathan Tomasello in the bronze medal match.
Fellow Becahi graduate and West Virginia junior, Zeke Moisey, rounded out the Lehigh Valley’s All-American contingent, as he took eighth place at 125.
Moisey needed to medical default in his consolation final bout to Ronnie Bresser of Oregon State.
“After all of the injuries, three shoulder operations, dislocated elbow, I wanted to get back here,” Moisey said. “Of course I wanted to win, but it’s really awesome to be an All-American again. It made it all worth it.”
Andrew Dunn (Bethlehem Catholic, Virginia Tech), Luke Karam (Bethlehem Catholic, Lehigh) and Jake Gunning (Liberty, Buffalo) all competed at the tournament as well, but came away empty-handed.
Dunn, a redshirt freshman at heavyweight, went 1-2 in the tournament, as his only win came via medical forfeit in the consolation round against Gunning, a junior heavyweight.
Gunning went 0-2 in the tournament, while Karam, a 141-pound freshman, finished 1-2. He knocked off Tejon Anthony of George Mason 5-4 in his opener, but lost in the quarterfinals to Ohio State’s Joey McKenna by a 15-0 technical fall. Karam then lost his consolation match to Pitt’s Nick Zanetta 3-2.