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Muhlenberg College

Thursday, February 19, 2009

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Men’s lacrosse preview

Championship Preview
Wrestling hopes to keep momentum

The Muhlenberg wrestling team closed the dual-meet season on a roll, winning its last four matches. So will that translate into success at the Centennial Conference Championships at McDaniel on Saturday?

“I think it’s definitely going to carry over,” said senior Justin Fitch. “We really picked up momentum in the middle of the season. We had a
Billy Hall
Hall is second on the Mules’ all-time list with 37 career pins.
lot of guys injured, and now we’re at full strength. We’ve had good practices this week, and I think we’ll be pretty strong this weekend.”

The Mules finished third at the CC Championships in 2006 and second in 2007, but slipped to sixth last year. They also did not qualify a wrestler for the NCAA Championships for the first time since 1998.

“All the returning guys feel we didn’t do as well as we should have last year, and we don’t want that to happen again,” said Fitch.

The two top candidates to earn national bids are seniors Rob Kein at 149 and Matt Horn at 184. Both were a perfect 7-0 in CC competition this year; in fact, Horn is 19-0 at his weight class. Kein, ranked seventh in Division III, recorded three major decisions and two pins among his seven CC wins. He is looking for his second CC title after winning at 141 in 2007.

Fitch, who lost in the 174-pound final last year to an All-American from Stevens, went 5-2 in CC matches, with both losses coming the same day.

“I knew last year that my chances of taking it home were a lot slimmer,” admitted Fitch. “This year I’ve been working toward the goal of winning and making up for one bad day I had.”

Freshman heavyweight Nick Pallotta also posted a winning record in the CC (4-3). All 12 of his wins this season are by pins.

Senior 133-pounder Billy Hall could be a wild card. The 2007 CC champion and 2008 runner-up, he got a late start on the season due to study abroad and has been troubled by injuries since returning. He has shown flashes of his former form, splitting eight matches, and has experience on his side.

Freshman Kevin Homan might also earn some key points for the Mules. He was 3-4 in CC dual matches, dropping two close decisions.

Competition is scheduled to begin at 10:00 on Saturday morning. Click here for the championship Web site.

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