Muhlenberg College

Allentown, Pa.
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Friday, February 16, 2007
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The key for the Muhlenberg wrestling team finishing first at tomorrow’s Centennial Conference Championships might be finishing second and third.

If that sounds confusing, it’s because there is no clear-cut favorite for the 14th annual meet, which begins at Gettysburg at 10 a.m. Ursinus has won the last four titles and captured the dual-meet championship with a 6-1 record, but Muhlenberg, Washington & Lee and Kings Point were all close behind at 5-2.

“Whoever has the best day is going to win,” said junior Joseph DeCampo. “If we wrestle to our ability we can take it.”

The top contenders to win the 10 weight classes are spread out among the eight competing schools, so team points earned by wrestlers who come in second or third will be vital.

“It’s going to have to be much more of a team effort this year, and not necessarily who has the most champions,” DeCampo remarked. “Every match is going to count, and the wrestlebacks will be key matches. It may come down to a point or two.”

The Mules, who claimed their only CC title in 1995, hope to continue their trend of recent years: They finished fifth in 2004, fourth in 2005 and
Rob Kein
Kein (above) and Hall were CC runners-up as freshmen last year.
third last year. Muhlenberg has four of the leading candidates to capture their weight classes in sophomores Billy Hall (133) and Rob Kein (141), senior Matt Loesch (197) and junior Joe Tartar (HWT).

Hall (21-5 overall) went 7-0 with six pins in CC dual meets, and his only loss at 133 is to the top-ranked wrestler in Division III at that weight class. Kein (21-2) has won 15 in a row, although an injury has kept him from wrestling since Jan. 31.

Loesch (13-0) is ranked fourth in Division III and is attempting to become the sixth four-time champion in CC history. The two-time All-American has never lost to a CC opponent. Tartar (21-5), who leads the team and ranks second in the CC with 12 pins, lost once in CC dual-meet competition, to a Washington & Lee wrestler he had defeated three times previously this year.

DeCampo, at 149, is one of the Muhlenberg wrestlers who could pick up key points. He was 5-1 with three major decisions and two pins in CC dual meets, his lone loss coming by 3-2 decision.

“I think my class is a lot like the tournament as a whole. Everyone has a shot at winning it,” he said.

The Mules also will look for contributions from a pair of third-place finishers from a year ago, senior Michael Tenenhaus at 125 and sophomore Matt Horn at 184. Horn was 5-2 in CC duals and 17-11 overall. Sophomore Justin Fitch (19-10 overall) hopes to make an impact at 174.

The champions of the 10 weight classes, plus one wild-card selection, earn bids to the NCAA Division III Championships, which are scheduled for March 2-3 at Loras College.

Click here for the championship Web site. Results will be posted on the Muhlenberg Web site as they become available.

The championship finals are scheduled to be videocast via the Centennial Conference Broadcast Network beginning at approximately 4 p.m.

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Last updated February 16, 2007