Etzel, Spearman Crowned PAC Wrestling Champions
GREENVILLE, Pa. -- Junior 157-pounder Josh Etzel (Elizabeth, Pa./Elizabeth-Forward) and freshman 125-pounder Jacob Spearman (Lancaster, Ohio/Lancaster) both won Presidents' Athletic Conference Wrestling championships on Friday evening at Thiel College.
Etzel, who claimed the 141-pound conference title last year, becomes the 24th wrestler in school history to win a pair of conference championships. He also upped his record to 30-3 this winter to become only the sixth W&J wrestler to win 30 matches in a single season. Spearman is the first W&J freshman to win a conference title since Shaun Yackey claimed the 149-pound crown in 2007.
Waynesburg, led by PAC Coach of the Year Ron Headlee, won its second-straight conference title with 116 points to edge the host Tomcats (106). W&J was third with 67 points. Waynesburg's Anthony Bonaventura was selected as the PAC Most Outstanding Wrestler after his 174-pound title helped clinch the Yellow Jackets' team championship.
Etzel won his first match in 78 seconds, pinning Thiel's Matt Butler. He then faced Waynesburg's Sam Lombardo in the championship match and rolled to a 10-2 major decision to record his 15th consecutive victory. Etzel, who also became the 20th W&J wrestler to win 60 career matches, has not lost a match since dropping a championship semifinal bout at the RIT Invitational on Dec. 1.
Spearman upped his season record to 24-4 after winning a pair of matches. He opened with a 91-second fall against Thiel's Lance Waters and sealed his first league championship by defeating Gordan Bieber of Waynesburg 7-1. Spearman's 24 victories this winter are the most by a W&J 125-pounder since Zach Cecchetti won 28 in 2009.
Freshman Alex Powell (Venetia, Pa./Ringgold) was the only other President to win a match after opening the 149-pound bracket with a 3-2 victory over Thiel's Brandon Collins. However, Waynesburg's Luke Lohr earned a 6-1 triumph over Powell in the championship match.
All three PAC teams will be back in action in two weeks at the NCAA Mideast Regional at Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio.