SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The Olivet College wrestling team posted a 1-2 record today at the 2012 National Wrestling Coaches Association/Cliff Keen National Duals, presented by Hibiclens and The Marines. The Comets lost back-to-back closes matches to University of Wis.-Whitewater, 18-16, and Wesleyan (Conn.) University, 20-17, before bouncing back to end the day with a 27-6 win over University of Dubuque (Iowa).
Olivet and Whitewater split the 10 bouts, with the difference in the match being a pin for the Warhawks at 157 pounds. Sophomore 125-pounder Esteban Gonzales (Holly) put the first four team points on the scoreboard for the Comets with a 13-2 major decision win.
Junior 133-pounder Michael Gancer (Battle Creek/Harper Creek) stretched the lead to 7-0 with a 4-3 win. He needed an escape and takedown in the third period to get the victory. Whitewater cut into its deficit with a 6-3 win at 141 pounds. After jumping out to a 7-2 first period lead, junior 149-pounder Gage Pederson (Hastings) hung onto win 8-5.
The pin at 157 pounds made the score 10-9. Senior 165-pounder James Myers (Monroe/Indian Creek) put Olivet ahead with a 9-3 win. A takedown in overtime helped the Warhawks gain an 11-9 win at 174 pounds and trim their deficit to one, 13-12.
Sophomore 184-pounder Jeff Holm (Battle Creek/Harper Creek) got a takedown with 28 seconds left to win 3-1 and give Olivet a 16-12 lead. Whitewater won the last two bouts to take the match, 18-16.
Like their first match, the Comets split the 10 bouts with Wesleyan and the win decided on a pin. This time the pin was in the first bout at 125 pounds. Gancer won his second bout of the day, getting a reversal in the second period for the only points in a 2-0 win.
The Cardinals won two straight bouts to push their lead to 12-3. Olivet came back with two straight wins, a 4-1 decision by sophomore 157-pounder Kyle Witgen (Romeo) and a 20-5 technical fall victory for Myers. Wesleyan responded with its own tech fall at 174 pounds to make the score 17-11.
Holm needed an escape with 22 seconds left to win, 4-3. A win for the Cardinals at 197 pounds gave them a 20-14 lead entering the final bout. Senior 285-pounder Jake Ceslick (Alpena) got an escape in the second period but it was not enough, as Wesleyan won the match, 20-17.
Olivet rolled to the win over Dubuque by winning 8-of-10 bouts, including the first four. Gonzalez piled up the points in a 12-3 major decision. Gancer used a reversal with two seconds left to win 6-4. Senior 141-pounder Kenny Richmond (Brighton) won 7-3. Pederson shut out his opponent, 5-0.
After a 3-0 loss at 157 pounds, Myers got an escape to start the final period and a takedown in the closing seconds of his bout to win it, 4-3. Following another close loss at 174 pounds, Holm scored all four points of his bout in the third period for a 4-2 win.
A takedown in the second period was the difference, as senior 197-pounder Logan Renas (Big Rapids) edged his opponent, 3-2. Ceslick overwhelmed his opponent en route to a 12-0 major decision. After a scoreless first period, he started the scoring with a pair of 3-point near-falls in the second period and never looked back.
The Comets will head back to Michigan tomorrow and return to competition on Wednesday night when they travel to Ypsilanti to wrestle Eastern Michigan University at 7 p.m.