LEXINGTON, Va. – The University of Scranton wrestling team won the Jim Crytzer Memorial Invitational at Washington & Lee for the first time in school history on Saturday, riding individual victories by juniors Daniel D'Agostini (Allentown, Pa./Allentown Central Catholic) and Kevin Merle (Stroudsburg, Pa./Belvidere), and freshman William Laughlin (Lansdale, Pa./North Penn).
The Royals had 11 wrestlers earn top-five finishes while finishing with 130.5 points, easily outpointing the host Washington & Lee, which finished with 112.5. John Carroll was third at 103.5 in the nine-team event.
D'Agostini captured his first career invitational crown by winning the 197-pound title. He entered as the top seed and received a first-round bye before posting back-to-back major decisions (13-4 and 14-2) to reach the final against a teammate, sophomore Keegan Connelly (Schnecksville, Pa./Allentown Central Catholic). In the title match, D'Agostini pinned his teammate in 5:48 to take the crown.
Connelly was the second seed at 197 and reached the final after a first-round bye, a 12-6 quarterfinal decision and a thrilling semifinal win, 3-1 in the first sudden victory period.
Merle also captured his first career invitational title, winning at 165 pounds. He also came in as the top seed and received a first-round bye. He then had a 14-1 major decision to reach the semifinals, where he scored a pin in 8:56 against teammate and junior Andrew Gombas (Warren, N.J./Bound Brook). In the championship match, Merle made quicker work of Washington & Lee's Andrew Taylor, pinning him in 1:30.
Laughlin was perhaps the surprise winner for the Royals, winning the title at 157 pounds. He entered with a 4-4 record in his first collegiate season, but proceeded to rip off four straight wins to take the title. He started with a first-round pin in 4:15 and followed that with a pin in 4:06 in the quarterfinals. In the semifinal, he faced top-seeded sophomore teammate John Sheedy (Somerset, N.J./Bishop George Ahr) and surprised him with a 6-4 victory. In the title match, Laughlin cruised to a 14-3 major decision over another teammate, freshman Kyle Shaffer (Mahwah, N.J./Mahwah).
Shaffer reached the final by opening with a pin in 3:54 against sophomore teammate Charles Burke (Garden City, N.Y./Chaminade), followed by a 10-6 decision in the quarterfinals. In the semifinals, he posted an 8-3 decision to reach the finals matchup against Laughlin.
Sheedy went on to finish fourth at 157 by posting a major decision, 13-4, in the consolation semifinal, but he lost the third-place match, 6-2.
Gombas finished third at 165. He had a first-round pin in 6:45, then earned a 7-5 decision before his semifinal loss to Merle. In the consolation bracket, he won a 7-5 decision to reach the third-place match, where he was edged by West Virginia Tech's Corey Palmer, 3-2, on a tiebreak procedure.
The Royals also received a third-place finish from sophomore Nicholas Ciaccia (Freehold, N.J./Howell) at 141 pounds. His day started with a first-round bye before a pin in 4:22 in the quarterfinals. In the semis, he suffered a 13-0 major decision loss, but he rebounded to post a pair of pins in 2:56 and 1:12 to capture third place.
Scranton also received fourth-place finishes from Gombas at 165, senior Zachary D'Apolito (Wayne, N.J./Wayne Valley Senior) at 174 pounds and freshman Patrick Deacon (Glenside, Pa./La Salle College H.S.) at 184. Freshman William Oxley (Middletown, N.J./Christian Brothers Academy) finished fifth at 285 pounds, as well.
The University of Scranton wrestling team will return to action on Thursday, Jan. 11, when they travel to Elizabethtown, Pa. to take on Elizabethtown in a dual match at 7 p.m.