While some students spent their final week of intersession with their family at home or traveling the world, the Hopkins wrestling team took to the mat in a pair of matches against McDaniel College and Elizabethtown College.
The Blue Jays opened the week on Jan. 22 against their Centennial Conference rival, the McDaniel Green Terror. Hopkins struck first with six points when freshman Brent Lorin pinned his opponent 1:23 into the opening match at 125 pounds.
McDaniel responded with four straight wins at 133, 141, 149 and 157 pounds as the Green Terror by major decision, pin, regular decision and another pin respectively to take a 19-6 lead.
Unfazed by McDaniel’s run, Hopkins went on to take four straight matches of their own.
Junior 165 pounder and No. 10 wrestler in the nation at his weight class Dominick Reyes snagged another six points for the Blue Jays with a pin in 1:42.
Sophomore Joe Paul followed up with three points via a regular decision win to continue to cut into the Green Terror’s lead, and senior Nathan Wertheimer reclaimed the lead for Hopkins with a pin in 1:18 at 184 pounds.
With a 21-19 lead going into the final two bouts, freshman Grant Walnoha increased the Hopkins advantage by three points with a win by regular decision at 197 pounds.
However, the Blue Jays were forced to forfeit the 285-pound bout due to injury, which gave McDaniel the six points they needed to capture the win by a score of 25-24.
The close match against a tough McDaniel squad showed many on the Blue Jay roster what the team was capable of.
Reyes was proud of how his team performed and hopes that they can take the loss in stride and improve from it.
“I think we wrestled pretty well. We’re a pretty young team with only a handful of upperclassmen,” Reyes said. “We saw that show a little in the dual meet against McDaniel as we let them score bonus points which cost us the match. However, the younger guys are learning from it, and Brent [Lorin] and Joe [Paul] have been showing incredible improvement over the course of the season.”
Looking to rebound after the loss to the Green Terror, the Blue Jays traveled to Elizabethtown, Pa. in the annual Battle of the Blue Jays.
Hopkins struck first when Lorin scored three points with a regular decision win at 125 pounds, but they fell into a deep hole in the next four bouts as Elizabethtown managed bonus points in each.
After two pins, a technical fall and a major decision win, Elizabethtown took a 21-3 lead halfway through the match.
Reyes tried to swing the momentum back to Hopkins in his 165-pound bout as the junior managed four points for his squad after winning by major decision.
Reyes’ teammate Paul followed at 174 pounds and continued the Hopkins comeback with a pin in just under two minutes.
Wertheimer secured three more points to extend the Hopkins run to 13-0 when he won by regular decision at 184 pounds.
Despite the impressive streak that Hopkins had managed, the final two bouts of the Battle of the Blue Jays ended in forfeits as Elizabethtown would take six points each in the 197 and 285-pound contests when Hopkins did not send out a wrestler of their own.
The pair of victories by Reyes improved his winning streak to 14 in a row, while Lorin extended his record to 10 straight.
The losses put the team’s dual match record at 5-7 on the year, while McDaniel and Elizabethtown improved to 9-6 and 1-2 respectively.
Reyes is confident in his teammates’ ability to continue to improve this season, and feels good about their chances to succeed in the Centennial Conference tournament.
“I believe if we keep this type of momentum going into the postseason tournament, our guys are going to turn some heads,” Reyes said.
Hopkins will next be in action Saturday, Feb. 1 when they travel to Collegeville, Pa. to take on the Ursinus College Bears.