NEW YORK - The Columbia wrestling team had an action-packed day on Saturday, January 29 as it hosted three teams in University Gym.  The Lions went a perfect three-for-three, defeating Millersville 46-3, Rider 18-14, and Franklin & Marshall 41-7. The team improved to 6-4 on the season.

"Today was a good showing and I'm real proud of our team," said Brendan Buckley, the Andrew F. Barth Head Coach of Wrestling.  "We have been progressing very well as the Ivy League and post-season approaches. I believe the strength of our schedule prepared us well for days like today.  We do still have some things to work on and we will, but what stands out has been consistent effort on the part of the entire team."

In the closest match of the day, it was senior Mike Pushpak who swung momentum from Rider back to Columbia in a thrilling overtime win at 197 pounds. With the Lions trailing 15-9, it was a must-win for Columbia.  Neither Puskpak nor Joe Ferber were able to score in the first period, and it was Pushpak who took a 3-1 lead entering the third.  Ferber scored three points to go-ahead 4-3, but Pushpak managed an escape late in the third to even the score at 4-4 and force overtime. 

In the sudden-victory period, Pushpak scored a dramatic takedown, but he wasn't done - he pinned Ferber which sparked a boisterous eruption from the crowd as it appeared the Lions tied the match at 15-15 entering the final bout. The Broncs were charged a team point for unsportsmanlike conduct, putting Columbia ahead 15-14 setting up the final match.

"In regards to what Mike Pushpak's pin meant, well, he essentially won the dual for us," said Buckley.  "It was a huge win for him and his six team points helped the team win that dual. It should also be stated that the execution of that takedown and pin was something he specifically worked on this week in practice. Obviously, we are real happy for him."

Kevin Lester used the energy from the crowd from the previous match to come out strong in the first period against Evan Craig.  Leading 6-2 after the first, Lester went on to win 9-2, securing a come from behind 18-14 win for Columbia over the Broncs.

Earlier in the match, Penn Gottfried put the Lions ahead early with a 4-3 decision over Chuck Zeisloft at 125 pounds. But Rider responded with four straight wins to take a 12-3 lead.  Eren Civan won a 2-0 battle against Jim Resnick at 165 pounds to cut the lead to 12-6, but Rob Morrison pulled out a 6-5 over Stephen West at 174 pounds to push its lead back to nine. 


Nick Mills started the Columbia comeback at 184 pounds by defeating James Bundage 12-7, setting the stage for Pushpak's dramatics.

Prior to the Rider match, the Lions defeated Millersville 46-3, winning nine of the 10 bouts, including seven by bonus points. Gilchrist (133), Jake O'Hara (157), Pushpak (197) and Lester (Hwt.) all had pins, while Mills (184) had a technical fall.  Shane Strumwasser (149) and West (174) also had major decisions in the victory.

The third and final match of the day against F&M was similar to the first match.  The Diplomats forfeited at 125, 149 and 197, while Columbia won five of the other seven bouts.

Gilchrist had an exciting 5-2 win in the second tie-breaker against Jake Bucha at 133.  Neither wrestler scored in the first two periods, but Bucha, who is ranked third in the EIWA, got on the board first with an escape to begin the third.  Gilchrist answered with a takedown to lead 2-1, but Bucha escaped to knot the score at 2-2 and force overtime.  Again neither wrestler scored in the sudden victory period, but Gilchrist escaped in the first tie-breaker and got two additional points for a nearfall in the second to clinch the 5-2 win.

Josh Houldsworth followed that match up with a technical fall over Aaron Valesquez at 141, defeating the Diplomat 15-0 in 6:43.  Also picking up his first win of the day was Tyler Sheridan who pinned Eric Norgard in 6:03 at 157 pounds. 

Lester had his second pin of the day against Dan Carfield while Mills had an 8-2 decision over Colin Lahiff to both finish 3-0 for the day.

Columbia (6-4) returns to action on Saturday, February 5 when it hosts Cornell at 6 p.m.

Columbia 46, Millersville 3
125 - Penn Gottfried (C) wins by forfeit (6-0)
133 - Kyle Gilchrist (C) pinned Mark Massimini, 2:54 (12-0)
141 - Mike Greck (M) major dec. Matt Bystol, 14-3 (12-4)
149 - Shane Strumwasser (C) major dec. Steve Hess, 14-4 (16-4)
157 - Jake O'Hara (C) pinned Kyle Toth, 1:36 (22-4)
165 - Eren Civan (C) dec. Brandon Vernalli, 11-6 (25-4)
174 - Stephen West (C) major dec. Shane Smith, 13-1 (29-4)
184 - Nick Mills (C) technical fall over Jason Foor 20-5 (6:35) (34-3)*
197 - Mike Pushpak (C) pinned Brent Barr, 4:13 (40-3)
Hwt. - Kevin Lester (C) pinned Bradley Ladd, 0:41 (46-3)
* team point deducted for unsportsmanlike conduct

Columbia 18, Rider 14
125 - Penn Gottfried (C) dec. Chuck Zeisloft, 4-3 (3-0)
133 - Jimmy Kirchner (R) dec. Kyle Gilchrist, 5-4 (3-3)
141 - Aaron Nester (R) dec. Josh Houldsworth, 6-0 (6-3)
149 - Zac Cibula (R) dec. Shane Strumwasser, 2-0 (9-3)
157 - Ramon Santiago (R) dec. Jake O'Hara, 3-2 (12-3)
165 - Eren Civan (C) dec. Jim Resnick, 2-0 (12-6)
174 - Rob Morrison (R) dec. Stephen West, 6-5 (15-6)
184 - Nick Mills (C) dec. James Brundage, 12-7 (15-9)
197 - Mike Pushpak (C) pinned Joe Ferber, 7:31 sv (15-14)*
Hwt. - Kevin Lester (C) dec. Evan Craig, 9-2 (18-14)
* team point deducted for unsportsmanlike conduct

Columbia 41, F&M 7
125 - Penn Gottfried (C) wins by forfeit
133 - Kyle Gilchrist (C) dec. Jake Bucha, 5-2 tb2
141 - Josh Houldsworth (C) tech fall Aaron Velasquez, 15-0 (6:43)
149 - Shane Strumwasser (C) wins by forfeit
157 - Tyler Sheridan (C) pinned Eric Norgard, 6:03
165 - Anthony Bongarzone (F&M) major dec. Nick Standish, 10-2
174 - Matt Fullowan (F&M) dec. Stephen West, 4-2
184 - Nick Mills(C) dec. Colin Lahiff, 8-2
197 - Mike Pushpak (C) wins by forfeit
Hwt. - Kevin Lester (C) pinned Daniel Carfield, 3:55