PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – Franklin & Marshall's wrestling team went toe-to-toe with one of the top programs in the country and led after the opening four matches before Drexel pulled away in a gritty, hard-fought 30-12 decision on Thursday night in Philadelphia.
The Diplomats dropped to 1-6 overall with a 0-3 Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA) mark, while the Dragons who received votes in the latest USA Today/NWCA Division I Coaches Poll, improved to 6-2, 1-2 EIWA.
Drexel shot out to an 8-0 lead after a decision at 125 and a tech. fall at 133. However, redshirt freshman Brett Kulp jumpstarted the comeback bid at 141, securing a first-period takedown and holding the 3-2 advantage heading into the third
Julian Flores scored a takedown before Kulp followed with a third-period escape to tie the match at 3-3 and force overtime. In the extra period, Kulp delivered a clutch pin at 7:24 to deliver six key points to the Diplomats. Kulp continued his string of strong dual-meet performances this season by improving to 5-2 in duals.
Wil Gil was next up at 149 and kept the momentum on F&M's side with a 4-2 decision to give the Diplomats a 9-8 lead in the match heading into 157 pounds. Gil picked up a first-period takedown in the match and successfully fought off a slew of late third-period shots to hang on for the win.
Emmett LiCastri stepped to the mat and trailed by a slim 8-5 margin after the second period, before surrendering back points in the third. Drexel's Garett Hammond, ranked No. 17 by The Open Mat, eventually pulled away in the final period, putting the Dragons in front at 12-9 with a 16-8 major decision.
At 165 pounds, freshman Dylan Gumaer battled throughout against Felix Belga and carried a 1-0 edge heading into the third period. After Belga recorded an escape to force overtime, the Drexel grappler notched the bout's first takedown in the opening seconds of sudden victory for the 3-1 decision.
Back-to-back Drexel tech. falls at 184 and 197 pounds brought the match out of F&M's reach at 30-9 overall. Parker Fox was tied with Drexel's Vincenzo Pelusi, the younger brother of the Diplomats' Antonio Pelusi, at 1-1 in the closing seconds of the third period and appeared to register a takedown as time expired.
The official waived off the points but head coach Mike Rogers tossed the challenge brick, and after further review, the takedown was awarded to Fox for the 3-1 thrilling win.
F&M returns to the mat on Saturday, traveling to Princeton for a 5:00 p.m. EIWA matchup with the Tigers.
Drexel 30, F&M 12
125: Zachary Fuentes (DREX) over Edgar Garcia (F&M) (Dec 6-2)
133: Tanner Shoap (DREX) over Mike Simonetti (F&M) (TF 16-1 3:12)
141: Brett Kulp (F&M) over Julian Flores (DREX) (Fall 7:34)
149: Wil Gil (F&M) over Evan Barczak (DREX) (Dec 4-2)
157: Garett Hammond (DREX) over Emmett LiCastri (F&M) (MD 16-8)
165: Felix Belga (DREX) over Dylan Gumaer (F&M) (SV-1 3-1)
174: Austin Rose (DREX) over Josh Young (F&M) (TF 17-2 6:32)
184: Alexander DeCiantis (DREX) over Steven Mercadante (F&M) (TF 19-4 4:06)
197: Stephen Loiseau (DREX) over Reid Robilotto (F&M) (TF 16-0 2:43)
285: Parker Fox (F&M) over Vincenzo Pelusi (DREX) (SV-1 3-1)