The wrestling team edged Bucknell (5-8, 2-2 EIWA) at home Friday night, pulling out a victory to push its winning streak to five.
Columbia (6-3, 3-2 EIWA) barely won on bout points, 41-39, after both teams finished with 18 team points.
Senior co-captains Matt Bystol and Josh Houldsworth, sophomore Zach Hernandez, and first-year Markus Scheidel all won decisions in their 141-, 165-, 184-, and 157-pound bouts, respectively, and No. 11 junior Shane Hughes delivered six team points via fall in a dramatic 174-pound bout against Bucknell's Joey Krulock.
Down 2-1 in the third period, Hughes appeared to escape Krulock's control, which would have tied the score, but the referee had already called for a halt.
The home crowd voiced its displeasure, and the bout was temporarily halted as Lion head coach Carl Fronhofer came onto the mat to discuss the call, but the point remained unawarded.
When play resumed, Hughes quickly earned another escape, this one recognized by the referee. And then, with eight seconds left, Hughes pinned Krulock, causing the gym to erupt again—this time in celebration.
After the meet, Hughes said he'd known how important his bout would be for the team.
“I knew we needed the bonus points coming into the match. I was going out trying to pin the kid from the beginning,” Hughes said. “I worried myself a little bit, but I got it in the end.”
The Lions lost three of the first four bouts, putting themselves in a 9-3 hole to start the meet.
They then rattled off four straight wins, including a tense 1-0 victory for Houldsworth and Hughes' pin.
The Bison fought back hard in the heavyweight bouts, earning a decision at 197 pounds and a pin by No. 20 Joe Stolfi at 285 pounds, but their late rally fell short by two bonus points.
The win was narrow, but the five-meet winning streak has the Lions looking forward.
“Some things didn't go the way we wanted them to go, but it feels good getting the win,” Hughes said.
“The guys are doing a good job, they're fighting hard,” Fronhofer said. “Hopefully we can keep it rolling.”
The Lions will wait two weeks for another chance to extend their streak, when they travel to Ithaca to face No. 3 Cornell on Feb. 8.
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