Two freshmen and a wily veteran set the pace for the AU wrestling team on Saturday (Dec. 3) at the Ohio Northern Invitational.
Freshman Joe Brandt (Versailles, Ohio) won the gold medal at 197 pounds and another rookie, Bryson Hall (Doylestown, Ohio/Chippewa), finished fourth at 174 pounds. Senior Brandon Davis (Greensboro, N.C./Page) was the runner-up at 125 pounds.
As a team, the Eagles were seventh in a field that listed 43 teams. AU finished with 99 points. Olivet won the team championship with 147 points. Campbellsville was second with 138 points and Mercyhurst captured third place with 135.5 points.
The Eagles went to ONU without their usual full lineup. Several starters stayed at home and AU was without several other mainstays. Still, as head coach Tim Dernlan emphasized, for the wrestlers who made the trip, this was a chance to get some live mat time early in the season.
Brandt took full advantage of that opportunity. In the finals, he pinned the third seed, Olivet's Justin Leonard, in 1:51. In the semifinals, Brant stopped the top seed, Campbellsville's Spencer Adams, 3-1 in overtime. Brandt's road to the championship included a pin of West Liberty's Jacob Donley. Brandt pinned Donley in 1:04.
Hall lost in the consolation finals to Campbellsville's Josh Ashbrook, 3-1.
Davis was pinned in the championship bout by Olivet's Robert Bidlingmaier. Davis was pinned at the five-minute mark.
The Eagles return to action on Tuesday (Dec. 6, 7 p.m.) when they visit Heidelberg.