The No. 8 American University wrestling team sent three individuals to the finals of the 107th EIWA Championships Sunday in Lewisburg, Pa. and all three came out victorious to lead the Eagles to a program record fourth-place finish.
No. 1 Steve Fittery, No. 2 Ryan Flores and No. 3 Matt Mariacher each won a championship for American, marking the first time the Eagles have had three title winners. For Fittery and Mariacher it was the first of their careers while Flores picked up his second. Flores won the 2009 heavyweight crown wrestling for Columbia University.
Fittery, Flores and Mariacher each earned an automatic berth to the 2011 NCAA Championships by virtue of their first-place finishes, and will be joined at Nationals by No. 3 Daniel Mitchell, No. 3 Ganbayar Sanjaa and No. 6 Patrick Graham. Mitchell earned his second trip to the NCAA's with his third-place performance while Sanjaa and Graham each placed fourth to qualify for the first time. Flores is now a three-time NCAA Qualifier and Fittery and two-time qualifier. Mariacher will be making his first appearance at Nationals.
American's six NCAA qualifiers mark a new program record, besting last year's total of five. The Eagles also matched their record of seven EIWA placewinners, as No. 7 Nick Arujau took eighth to join the others on the podium.
American finished the team race in fourth place, adding one more program record to the list. The Eagles earned a total of 106 points while Cornell took home the team crown with 173.5. Lehigh placed second with 119 points and Rutgers third with 116.5. The Eagles placed fifth at last year's tournament to set the previous mark.
At the conclusion of the tournament American was presented with the EIWA Sportsmanship Award, recognizing the team for exhibiting great character throughout the two-day event. The award, which American also won in 2007, is voted on and presented by the officials working the tournament.
The complete 2011 NCAA Championship bracket, including 48 at-large qualifiers, will be announced Wednesday, March 9 at 6:00 p.m. on NCAA.com.
To read a complete recap from day one of the EIWA Championships, click here.
125 - #7 Nick Arujau
Arujau placed eighth after defaulting out of the seventh-place match.
141 - #3 Matt Mariacher
Mariacher earned a 4-2 decision over Army's Casey Thome, the fifth seed, to capture the first EIWA Championship of his career. Mariacher got on the board first with an escape early in the second period and later got in on a takedown for a 3-0 lead heading into the third. Thome scored a reversal to cut his deficit to 3-2 but an escape by Mariacher gave the junior the final margin. Mariacher is now a two-time EIWA placewinner after taking sixth place in 2009.
149 - #3 Ganbayar Sanjaa
Sanjaa advanced to the consolation finals with a 5-2 victory over Lehigh's Joe Napoli, the fourth seed, in the semis. He was unable to come away with a win versus fifth-seeded Mario Mason of Rutgers, however, falling 3-2 to take fourth place.
157 - #1 Steve Fittery
Fittery defeated second-seeded Bryce Saddoris of Navy 6-1 for the first EIWA title of his career. The senior scored a takedown late in the first period and tacked on two back points for a 4-0 lead and was ahead 4-1 heading into the third. Fittery moved the score to 5-1 with an escape in the final period and held riding-time advantage for the final margin. Fittery has placed twice at the EIWA's after taking third last year.
165 - #6 Patrick Graham
Graham earned a place in the consolation finals after top-seeded Brandon Hatchett from Lehigh was forced to medically forfeit in the semis. Graham was opposed by Penn's Stephen Burak, the fifth seed, in the finals where he lost 5-2 in tiebreakers. This marks the first time in his career Graham has placed at the EIWA's.
197 - #3 Daniel Mitchell
Mitchell won a 6-4 decision in sudden victory overtime versus fourth-seeded Joeseph Kennedy to advance to the consolation finals. Mitchell earned a 4-3 decision in the finals over Jay Hahn from Bucknell, the fifth seed, to take home third place. Mitchell is now a two-time placewinner after taking fourth at last year's tournament.
HWT - #2 Ryan Flores
Flores avenged two earlier defeats to No. 1 Zach Rey of Lehigh by way of a 4-2 tiebreakers victory for the second EIWA Championship of his career. The two went scoreless into the second period where Rey was able to get on the board with an escape. Flores evened the bout at one with an escape of his own in the third and neither was able to score again before the end of regulation, sending the match into overtime. The two also went scoreless through the overtime period and in the first set of tiebreakers, it was Flores who would get the edge as Rey was hit with a penalty for locked hands, giving Flores a 2-1 lead. Flores then reversed Rey for a 4-1 advantage and took the match 4-2 after Rey was able to escape in the second set of tiebreakers. Flores, a three-time EIWA finalist, placed second in 2008 and first in 2009.