The University of the Cumberlands (UC) Men's Wrestling program had a busy schedule last week as on Friday the team traveled to #6 Campbellsville University to compete in a dual before traveling to the University of Indianapolis on Saturday to compete in the Greyhound Open.
On Friday, Cumberlands, currently ranked 15th in the NAIA, fell to the Tigers by a final of 33-12. The dual started off rough for UC in the 125 lb. class as the Patriots' #13 Andrew Tillman (Abbeville, SC) dropped a tough decision 8-3 to the Tigers' Jarvis Elam. The Patriots then dropped their next 4 matches as well, although two were forfeits in 141 and 149 lb. weight classes due to injuries for the Patriots. This made the score 26-0 going into the 165 lb. match.
NAIA #9 ranked Zachary Barkett (Woodbridge, VA) tried to start a rally for the Patriots as he pulled off a big pin over the Tigers' Joe Whalen, which was followed by a huge 4-3 win by Sean Bateman (Corona, CA) over the Tigers' #14 Michael Johnson in the 174 lb. weight category to bring the score to 26-9.
The rally was halted however as the Tigers then went on to win the next two weight classes including a big win by their #5 ranked 184 lb. Josh Ashbrook over the Patriots' Eddie Bernal (Covina, CA) 12-1. Senior heavyweight and NAIA #7 ranked Vince Pezzuto (Las Vegas, NV) tried to save face for the Patriots as he got a big decision over the Tigers' Terrell Moore 7-1 to bring the matches final score to 33-12 in favor of the Tigers.
Cumberlands then would travel select wrestlers to Indianapolis, Indiana on Saturday to compete in the Greyhound Open at the University of Indianapolis. This was a tough tournament but a few Patriots showed very good effort during the day with two Patriots placing in the top five of their weight class.
At the 125 lb. weight class, Grant Burkhalter (Citrus Heights, CA) wrestled hard and finished the day 2-2 which included a pin and an 8-1 decision over Emanuel Kimbel of the University of Cincinnati. The top two placers for the Patriots were both from the 197 pound weight class. Fred Byers (College Park, GA) went 3-2 on the day with all wins coming by decision including a dominating 7-1 victory over Michigan State University's Dimitrius Renfroe to give him a 5th place finish. Sam Johnson (River Falls, WI), who was wrestling unattached in the tournament, finished in 3rd place. Johnson went 3-1 on the day, including a 12-2 decision over Aren Norman of Tiffin University, a 2-0 decision over Michigan State's Dimitrius Renfroe, and finally a medical forfeit to give him the 3rd place finish.
The Patriots had a rough week but are looking to come back strong as they prepare to travel to Laurinburg, NC for the NAIA Eastern Qualifier on February 15th.
For more information on the Patriot Men's Wrestling program along with other Patriot athletics, please visit www.cumberlandspatriots.com.
Article by Corey Chaffin, UC Multimedia & Athletic Services Graduate Assistant