BUIES CREEK – After being outscored by The Citadel 127-16 in three losses over the previous three seasons, Campbell competed valiantly in the regular season finale inside Gilbert Craig Gore Arena on Friday evening, dropping the hard fought contest 25-13 to the Bulldogs.
Campbell took a 13-9 team score lead after the sixth bout before dropping an overtime decision at 174 pounds that helped The Citadel win the last four individual bouts of the match. The final margin of defeat was the closest in the Camels' current nine-match losing streak to The Citadel.
"It was an exciting dual match in an electric atmosphere," head coach Joe Boardwine said. "It stings to lose, but we're very excited about the progress the program has made and the direction we are heading."
After falling behind 6-0 after a pin at 125 pounds, Joey Rizzolino (Easton, Pa.) won a 9-5 decision over Kyle Casaletto to bring the Camels within 6-3. The Citadel earned a decision win at 141 pounds before CU rolled off three consecutive individual wins.
Mark Hartenstine (Easton, Pa.) began the run for Campbell with a dominating 12-0 major decision triumph over David Ivashchenko. Nick Rex (Lakeland, Fla.) then took a dramatic 4-2 double overtime decision to put the Camels in front 10-9. Entering the second overtime period knotted at 2-2, Rex was awarded a point for The Citadel stalling. The redshirt sophomore then earned another point in the third overtime session by escaping Pierre Frazile's advantage.
Ryan Krecker (Nazareth, Pa.) continued the dramatic grappling in the 165-pound bout, securing a takedown with one second remaining in the third period to earn the 4-2 decision win and give the Camels the largest team score lead of the match at 13-9.
The 174-pound match was the second individual bout to go into an extra session as James Cook and Turtogtokh Luvsandorj wrestled to a 2-2 tie after seven minutes. Luvsandorj registered the decisive takedown eight seconds into overtime to end Campbell's momentum and draw The Citadel within one point at 13-12.
The Citadel took a 13-2 major decision at 184 pounds before another close match at 197 pounds went in favor of the Bulldogs. Kelby Smith of The Citadel exacted a measure of revenge on John Weakley, who had won the first match between the two this season at the Southern Scuffle. Smith's 6-4 decision win put the Bulldogs up 19-13 with one bout remaining.
The heavyweight match saw Andrew Delaney, ranked 15th-nationally, secure a pin over Joe Nolan (Jackson, N.J.) late in the second period at make the final team score 25-13.
Campbell honored its two seniors, John Weakley and Joel Caudill, during a pre-match recognition. A four-year wrestler at CU, Caudill took part in an exhibition match against a wrestler from The Citadel following the conclusion of the team dual. Caudill took a 4-0 decision win in the exhibition.
Campbell finishes the dual season 11-17 overall, marking the program's highest win total since 1997-98. CU will next head to the Southern Conference Championships in Chattanooga, Tenn. on March 3, when the wrestlers will compete individually against other conference foes.The Citadel 25, Campbell 13 125: Richard Alarcon (CIT) pinned Grabiel Soto (CU) 1:45; CIT 6, CU 0 133: Joey Rizzolino (CU) dec. Kyle Casaletto (CIT) 9-5; CIT 6, CU 3 141: Jordan Dix (CIT) dec. Jordan Tolbert (CU) 6-2; CIT 9, CU 3 149: Mark Hartenstine (CU) major dec. David Ivashchenko (CIT) 12-0; CIT 9, CU 7 157: Nick Rex (CU) dec. Pierre Frazile (CIT) 4-2 (OT2); CU 10, CIT 9 165: Ryan Krecker (CU) dec. Michael Harper (CIT) 4-2; CU 13, CIT 9 174: Turtogtokh Luvsandorj (CIT) dec. James Cook (CU) 4-2 (OT1); CU 13, CIT 12 184: Josh Tuck (CIT) major dec. Matt Cox (CU) 13-2; CIT 16, CU 13 197: Kelby Smith (CIT) dec. John Weakley (CU) 6-4; CIT 19, CU 13 285: #15 Odie Delaney (CIT) pinned Joe Nolan (CU) 4:22; CIT 25, CU 13