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                    Lehigh, ESU Advance
                        Two Men Apiece

▪ March 05, 1994
  by TERRY LARIMER, The Morning Call

to this central New York city was no fun for the contingent of local college and former high school
 wrestlers. Being here is turning out to be no picnic, either.

  Two dozen grapplers with local connections braved two- and three-foot snowfalls that virtually shut down Cornell's   campus and its surrounding suburbs Thursday. And when the experienced campus snow movers dug a path to Alberding  Field House, many of the local contenders wished they'd left their plows in storage.

Syracuse, the team that had the least distance to travel -- other than host Cornell -- took command of the team race with 39.25 points and seven semifinalists, Navy was next with 36.5 and six in the semis and Army and Brown each had five semifinalists and 32.5 and 30.5 points, respectively.

Lehigh and East Stroudsburg both came into the tournament hoping to have a say in the team race -- Lehigh hoping to have its best finish in five years and the Cavaliers their best finish ever.

But the two teams were only able to get two men each into the semifinals -- Brian Cipollone and Rick Hepp for Lehigh
and Dave DiSora and Steve Elicker for ESU. Lehigh was in seventh place after the quarterfinals with 16.75 points and ESU was a half point behind in eighth place.

Ed Moore of Franklin & Marshall and Phillipsburg High was the only one of four other wrestlers who did their high school wrestling in the Lehigh Valley -- all of whom were seeded -- to make it to the semis.

That comes to a total of only five of 24 wrestlers with local connections who beat both the blizzard and yesterday's opponents.

"You have to set your goals high if you're going to go forward with your program," ESU coach Dom DiGioacchino said, while noting he wasn't totally discouraged with his team's performance. "I didn't put pressure on the kids, though. I told them to just go out and go as far as they could."

DiGioacchino said he figured he'd need perhaps four semifinalists if his team was going to better than a fifth place finish, the best an East Stroudsburg has ever done in this tournament.

And even though he had several wrestlers left in consolations late last night -- as did Lehigh -- it didn't look as if either team was going to be near the top of the well-balanced team race.

"I figured if we got three or four wrestlers to nationals (the NCAA Tournament), it would be a successful tournament for us no matter what happened," Lehigh coach Tom Hutchinson said.

But he admitted the day was kind of a microcosm of his season -- one in which he has had more than half his expected starters sidelined by injuries. A case in point: His 142 pounder Chris O'Byrne spent all week on crutches with a sprained ankle, but somewhat miraculously healed in time for the tournament. But in his preliminary round win over Princeton's Brian Duckworth, he apparently caught a finger in the eye, tore his eyelid and underwent plastic surgery to repair a torn tear duct last night after forfeiting his quarterfinal bout.

East Stroudsburg had similar heartbreaks. Its 126 pounder Jason Kobrynich had a tie going late in his semifinal bout with Syracuse's Jeff Duque when Duque connected on a five-point move to win. Its 134 pounder Shane Hanna lost by a point to Moore in the quarters. And, heavyweight Angelo Borzio just missed a takedown with 20 seconds left that would have sent his bout with Syracuse's Jason Gleasman into overtime.

But DiSora, the No. 2 seed at 150, and Elicker, the third seed at 167, provided some consolation for ESU. DiSora, the Easton High graduate, coasted to an 8-1 win over Harvard's Ron Mitra in the first round, then hit two early takedowns and held on for a 10-3 win over seventh-seeded Mike Evans of Wilkes, a Liberty grad.

DiSora faces Cornell's Joel Torretti in the semis as Torretti upset third-seeded Jason Hawk of Rutgers and Phillipsburg
High in the quarters.

Elicker got a 16-1 technical fall over Syracuse's Steve Taylor in the morning session, then slowed down a bit
and "only" got a 9-0 major decision over Brown's Brian Bennett. Elicker meets Army's second-seeded Rob Harris in the semis.  note: Elicker defeated Harris of Army, 6-4, to reach the '94 EIWA finals - facing Lehigh's
Rick Hepp. (Hepp defeated Elicker 13-4)
▪ The Full 1994 EIWA Final Brackets - HERE

Cipollone, the fourth seed at 158, decked Wilkes' Joey Hill in 1:54 in his first outing and used two early takedowns to knock off Rutgers' Mike Kwapniewski at night. He meets top seeded and unbeaten Vic Bernadino in the semis.

Hepp, Lehigh's lone top seed at 167, had a bye in the first round, then needed just five minutes to pile up a 19-4 lead in a technical fall over Navy's Ralph Conte. He meets fourth seed Brandon Slay of Penn in the semis.

Moore, the fifth seed at 134, had a bye before beating Hanna. He gets top seed Mike Yancosky of Cornell in the semis.

The other local wrestler who was seeded, Roger London of Penn by way of Parkland, lost in the first round despite his eighth seed at 158.

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