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Muhlenberg College

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

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wrestling notches first win

After watching Keith Swanson pick up a pin that gave the Muhlenberg wrestling team its first lead of the night, Nick Pallotta knew the Mules’ match against Yeshiva would come down to his bout.

And the junior heavyweight wasted little time as he took his opponent to the mat off
Kevin Homan
Homan’s pin was the 10th of his career.
the opening whistle. Pallotta then used a cement mixer to get his man on his back and finished him off with a quick pin at the 17-second mark.

Pallotta’s pin, the second-fastest of his career, sealed the Mules’ 24-15 win over the Maccabees. It was Muhlenberg’s first win in almost two seasons, and for Pallotta and his teammates it felt as if a weight had been lifted off their backs.

“After Keith bumped up to go against one of their better wrestlers and got a huge pin, I knew it was going to come down to me to win the match,” Pallotta said. “I was real excited and I came out hard. I just snapped him down and was able to get the quick pin.”

All three of Muhlenberg’s wins in the contested bouts came via the pin. Junior Kevin Homan just beat the first period buzzer to earn his fall at 149 and join Pallotta and Swanson as Mule pinners.

Senior Bill Sholly won by forfeit at 184 to round out Muhlenberg’s scoring.

The win was especially sweet for Swanson, who bumped up to 165 for the first time this season. Not only did the senior get the important bonus points that put Muhlenberg in front, but he did so in front of a hometown crowd.

The match with Yeshiva was part of a tri-match hosted by Centenary. Swanson grew up less
Keith Swanson
Swanson has a team-best 15-8 record this season.
than five minutes away from Centenary’s campus, so it was an opportunity for him to perform in front of his friends and family.

And while they only got to see him wrestle for a little more than a minute, Swanson made it worthwhile with a pin at the 1:12 mark.

“It was just good to wrestle at home. There are a lot of townies that love wrestling in Hackettstown, so it was good to see some familiar faces,” Swanson said. “Wins have been few and far between recently, so that felt great. It took a lot of pressure off of us.”

After the match the Mules were treated to a celebration dinner at Swanson’s house. And according to Pallotta, it was one of the most satisfying meals he’s had as a Mule wrestler.

But it might have been even more satisfying for second-year coach Mike Kocsis, who picked up the first win of his Mule coaching career. In a season that has seen Muhlenberg unable to field a full lineup, Pallotta said the win served as validation for all of the hard work that goes on in the wrestling room.

“We’ve had a rough couple years so we were real excited and it was nice to celebrate a little,” Pallotta said. “Even with all the injuries and everything that has gone against us we still pulled out a win.

“And coach was just ecstatic. It felt great to be able to get that win for him.”

Muhlenberg dropped its second match of the night to No. 10 Centenary, 51-0.
Click here for box scores.

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