Muhlenberg College

Allentown, Pa.
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Friday, February 20, 2004
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The Muhlenberg wrestling team will look to put a positive end on a rough season when it travels to Washington & Lee for the Centennial Conference Championships tomorrow.

The tournament is a qualifier for the NCAA Division III Championships. The champions at all 10 weight classes will earn automatic bids to the nationals, which are scheduled for March 5 and 6 at Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa.

The Mules’ season began with the unexpected death of one of their coaches and a 1-9
David Brown
Brown is 16-15 with three pins and a team-leading three major decisions this year. He has the Mules’ fastest pin of the season, 33 seconds against King’s.
record in dual meets. The team finished strong, however, capturing six of its final 10 duals, including a sweep of a quad meet in Saturday’s home finale.

“It took a little while for the freshman to get adjusted to college wrestling, and we had some trouble with sickness and injuries,” noted junior co-captain Jeremy Hart. “Over time everyone has progressed, and we’re wrestling at a better level now than we were at the beginning of the season.”

The two wrestlers at the highest level are sophomore 149-pounder Dale Mills and freshman 197-pounder Matt Loesch, both of whom went undefeated in CC dual meets.

Mills, who leads the team in wins with a 24-8 record, was a perfect 5-0 with three pins against CC opponents. His closest CC bout was a dramatic 5-4 decision against Tom Fives of Gettysburg in which he scored the winning points on a reversal with fewer than 10 seconds remaining. Mills missed the CC Championships because of injury last year.

Loesch is 22-3 and enters the CC meet with an eight-bout winning streak. His 4-0 CC record included two pins and a forfeit, but he did not face the Johns Hopkins 197-pounder who went 5-0 in league competition.

“Those two guys are looking pretty good, and the rest of the team is pushing them to reach their goals,” said Hart. “We have some other people [who could make an impact] too.”

Hart himself is one of those people. The 141-pounder is 16-12 overall and 3-2 in the CC, with both losses coming on decisions. Senior David Brown, at 133, and sophomore Chris Gibson, at 157, were both 2-3 in CC matches.

Muhlenberg finished fourth at the CC Championships last year. Defending champion Ursinus, ranked 25th in Division III, is the favorite to repeat after sweeping through the CC dual-meet season without a loss.

“It’s going to be tough competition.” said Hart. “But we can do real well if everyone goes down there and wrestles up to their potential.”

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Last updated February 20, 2004