ANGOLA, IND. -- The Trine University wrestling team won both matches against Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association opponent Alma (Mich.) College and non-conference foe Manchester University on senior night at Hershey Hall in Angola, Ind.
Trine trailed in both matches, including overcoming an 18-point deficit against Manchester and scored 23 unanswered points to defeat the Spartans, 23-18. The Thunder tallied nine straight points in their final two bouts against the Scots to come away with a 21-18 victory.
Against Alma, Trine (6-5, 1-2 MIAA) fell behind early with a forfeit at 125 pounds, 6-0. But the Thunder evened the match in the very next bout when sophomore Dominic Pecoraro (Carmel, Ind./Carmel) grabbed six points as the result of his opponent withdrawing during the match due to injury.
The Scots then took the next three bouts, all by decision, to grab a 15-6 advantage. In the 165 and 174-pound matches, Trine crept to within three points with back-to-back decisions by freshman Owen Conklin (West Lafayette, Ind./Harrison) and junior Nick Miller (Fort Wayne, Ind./Snider) to make the overall match score, 15-12. Conklin defeated Erik Arnegard, 7-2, to claim three team points and Miller won by a score of 10-4 against Lucas Brewer to claim the other three points.
Alma got a little breathing room with a decision at 184 pounds to increase the margin to 18-12. But the advantage was then wiped away when Trine freshman Chase Gibson (Bronson, Mich./Bronson) pinned his opponent (Austin Popp) in 37 seconds, his first of two pinfalls on the night, to even the score at 18-18.
In what turned out to be the decisive bout at 285 pounds, junior Austin Farrell (Hopkins, Mich./Allegan) delivered the knock-out blow with a 5-2 decision against Jacob Ransom that gave the Thunder the final team points of the night for the 21-18 match win.
In the match against Manchester, the Spartans dominated early and built an 18-0 advantage through the first four individual matches. Trine got a spark when Conklin won his 165-pound match against Stephen Kitko with a late pin (5:14) to put the Thunder on the scoreboard with six points, 18-6. Momentum grew for Trine in its next individual matchup when Miller posted his second victory of the night with an 8-4 decision to add three more team points and cut the deficit in half, 18-9.
After suffering a loss by decision in his first match against Alma, junior Luke Carver (Sturgis, Mich./Sturgis) came back against Manchester with a tech fall and shut out his opponent, 18-0 (2:19), for five big points to get Trine to within four points overall, 18-14.
In the next match at 197 pounds, Gibson put the Thunder ahead on the scoreboard with his second pin by defeating Jeff Tsang in 39 seconds. Going into the final match leading by two points, 20-18, Farrell secured the come-from-behind win with an 11-8 decision against Nick Joyner en route to the overall match final of 23-18.
Trine will next compete in the Mid-States Invitational hosted by Alma (Mich.) College on Saturday, Feb. 9 in Alma, Mich. The event is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m.