Intimidation pins Knights in Open
The Gannon University wrestling team struggled to duplicate its opening tournament success as the Knights competed in their second tournament of the season at the Binghamton Open Sunday.
The team’s first tournament in Buffalo on Nov. 6, went well according to Coach Don Henry, though he said he was not pleased with the results of Sunday’s tournament.
“We had a good weekend in Buffalo,” he said. “The younger guys weren’t intimidated by the competition. This weekend was the complete opposite.”
Sophomore Keith Stoerr, who chalked up two wins in the 165-pound category, said he attributes the team’s rocky start to youth and inexperience.
“We have a young team this year and we’re going to some tougher tournaments and facing a lot of Division I competition,” he said.
Henry also said that youth was an issue, but emphasized that the multiple injuries the team has endured early in the season was a contributing factor to most of the wrestlers at the Open being either freshmen or redshirt freshmen.
“We only wrestled 11 guys this weekend compared to 17 in Buffalo,” he said. “And we were intimidated. This weekend we wrestled the schools, not the wrestlers.”
Besides Stoerr, four other Gannon wrestlers recorded wins at the Open. Redshirt freshman Adam Weinell went 2-2 in the 133-pound bracket, posting the best record for the Knights, with his final match ending in a narrow 7-4 loss.
Recording one win each were junior Sean Floor, redshirt freshman Zack Zelcs and true freshman Jesse Wolfe.
Floor said he thought the showing by the Knights was subpar.
“Guys didn’t perform that well,” he said. “I think they learned when they see a guy wearing a uniform of a DI school not to be intimidated and to just go out and wrestle.”
Henry said that he could have selected easier tournaments for the team to compete in, but wanted to see stiffer competition in this early point in the season.
“We’re going to see all those Division II teams all year and we don’t necessarily want to see them yet,” he said. “We want tougher matches first and then we’ll get into our niche as we get into the season.”
The Knights will be wrestling at the Mercyhurst Open on Saturday – a competition Henry said should not be intimidating after wrestling some of “the best guys in the country in any division” the past two weekends.
Stoerr said that despite the disappointing day on Sunday, the team has the potential to have a successful season.
“We have a strong core group of guys and once we get going we’re going to be a force to be reckoned with,” he said.
Henry was of the same mindset, saying that once the team begins to gel they will be in good shape.
“We have a bunch of no name champions,” he said. “No one knows how good we are – we don’t even know how good we are.”
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