On Thursday, Jan. 31, the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Eagles defeated the University of Great Falls, ranked number three in the NAIA. The final score of the dual match was 28-20.
The first 10 duals were split; five were won by the University of Great Falls and five were won by the Eagles, two of which were won because of forfeit.The first two duals were lost by the Eagles which put the score at 0-9. The first was at the 157 pound weight class and the second was at the 165 pound weight class. Then in the third dual, Jose Cruz of the Eagles came out with fire and managed to effectively pin Brock Picard of UGF. It gave the Eagles six points on the board for a score of 6-9 going into the next dual. Sophomore Trent Gardner was selected for the fourth duel in the 174 pound weight class, but UGF did not have a 174 pound wrestler so that dual was forfeited giving the Eagles six more points on the board.
In the fifth and sixth dual, the Eagles struggled to earn points and this resulted in two losses, pushing the Eagles back to 12-17 with only four duals left. In the seventh duel, ERAU’s Sean Silva, 125 pound weight class, defeated UGF’s Luke Schlosser by a major decision. Silva walked onto the mat with a great intensity and a desire to win. He scored a total of five points, but one point was taken away for a foul, putting the Eagles at 16-17, only one point behind.
The eighth dual was won by the Eagles again due to forfeiture in the 133 pound weight class. That put the Eagles in the lead for the first time in the match, at 22-17. The ninth dual was by far the most exhilarating of the night; Trace Gutknecht of the Eagles was a complete animal and pinned down Myles Mazurkiewicz of UGF in the 141 pound weight class. Mazurkiewicz made a couple small errors and Gutknecht capitalized with intensity. Gutknecht’s pin gave the Eagles six more points and sent Mazurkiewicz storming back to his team smashing the water buffalo and cursing up a storm. It was a heated moment for UGF and an absolute victory for the Eagles. The final round was won by UGF making the final score of the match 28-20.
The Eagles kept their cool throughout the match even during the rough beginning. Luckily the team was given a few breaks with the forfeitures adding up to 12 points gained. The highlights of the night came from Jose Cruz and Trace Gutknecht with their pins against the opposition.
The Eagles have two weeks off before their Regional Tournament. The Eagles hope to qualify for the NAIA National Wrestling championships coming up in March. The team had a lot of support this season from the students and hope to have that same intensity come next year. Congratulations to the Eagle Wrestling team for winning their final home match this season.