The No. 4-ranked Ashland University wrestling team turned in perhaps its best dual match performance of the season on Saturday (Jan. 20) night at Kates Gymnasium, toppling Lake Erie by a 39-7 count.
The Eagles (5-4 in duals) won eight of the 10 matches against the Storm (3-4), getting four wins by pin and another by tech fall.
"I liked the energy our guys had, their conditioning is where it needs to be," said AU head coach Josh Hutchens. "They were aggressive, especially going for those falls. It takes extra effort. You could just win, but they went for the falls."
Redshirt-freshman Dustin Marteney earned a solid 6-3 win over John Siemasz at 149 pounds to push Ashland's lead to 15-3.
Ashland dropped the 157-pound match heading into the intermission, but the Eagles closed with five straight wins to end the dual.
"The way our training works, each week we should get better as we get through this month and then peak in February," Hutchens said. "We're on track. We had a couple letdowns and we have to get those corrected, but we're on the path we want to be on."
No. 3-ranked Bret Romanzak earned a major decision, 8-0, over Malachi Strickland at 165 pounds as the redshirt-sophomore improved to 26-3 on the season.
Fellow redshirt-sophomore Christian Price, ranked ninth nationally at 174 pounds, finished off his opponent the quickest of any of the four pins, taking down Santino Lucas in one minute, 31 seconds.
Redshirt-senior Jordan Murphy nearly pinned Brandon Winning twice at 184 pounds, but both times was doomed by the buzzer at the end of a period. The No. 2-ranked wrestler settled for an 18-1 tech fall victory to remain undefeated (11-0).
Luke Cramer, a redshirt-senior, also remained undefeated in 11 matches this year with a 2-0 win over Jesse Palser. Cramer is the top-ranked wrestler at 197 pounds in Division II.
Junior Deaken McCoy dominated his opponent at 285 pounds, pinning Chris Droege in one minute, 44 seconds to earn his 11th win of the season.
"We were finishing each match," Hutchens said. "The pins, the tech falls, but even the close matches, we were finishing at the end."
The Eagles, who had their match at Davenport Tuesday canceled, will return to the mats on Friday and Saturday (Jan. 26-27) at the Region II Duals in Belmont, N.C.