With no seniors, a new coach and a slew of injuries, the Muhlenberg wrestling team endured some growing pains in 2009-10. The Mules finished seventh at the Centennial Conference Championships and did not qualify a wrestler for the NCAA Tournament for just the second time in 12 years.
But a pair of Muhlenberg wrestlers showed hope for the future at the CC meet. Sophomore Kevin Homan reached the final at 141 before falling to a wrestler who swept through the CC season without a loss. Junior Keith Swanson placed fourth at 157, losing his first bout to the eventual champion but coming back to win two consolation bouts.
Homan went 4-2 in CC matches.
The Mules opened the season by finishing seventh out of 10 at the Monarch Invitational. Five of the 12 Mules competing were seeing their first collegiate action, and they made the most of it. Nine of 12 Mules won at least one bout, and three earned places.
After competing in the East Stroudsburg Open against wrestlers mostly from Division I schools and a 12th-place finish at the prestigious Messiah Petrofes Invitational, Muhlenberg opened its dual-meet season, during which it would fail to win a dual meet for the first time in 58 years.
The Mules came close on several occasions, including a 31-17 loss to Gettysburg during which they led 17-15 after seven weight classes. But the Bullets won the final three bouts to claim the victory. Muhlenberg would claim some measure of revenge by finishing ahead of Gettysburg at the CC Championships.
The Mules also had a close call in a non-conference dual meet against Scranton, but were done in by a major decision and a pair of one-point losses and fell, 28-21.
Homan finished the season 14-12 with five pins and added a third-place finish at the Washington and Lee Invitational to his second-place finish at the CC Championships. Swanson went 14-16, placing fifth at the Monarch Invitational and eighth at the Messiah Petrofes Invitational.
Swanson won three of his final five dual-meet matches.
Junior John Sternlicht was on his way to an impressive season before being derailed by injury. Sternlicht went 13-8 but missed the final six dual meets and the CC Championships. He placed second at 174 at the Washington and Lee Invitational and fourth at 165 at the Monarch Invitational.
Sophomore Nick Pallotta won 10 bouts, seven of which came by pin, including one in just 16 seconds. He placed fourth in two tournaments, one at 197 and the other at heavyweight. Freshman Chris Galletta earned a third-place tournament finish at heavyweight.