Civan Advances to the Finals, Leads Wrestling at EIWA Championships
Courtesy: Columbia University Athletics/Brent Hugo

LEWISBURG, PA. - After day one of the 2011 EIWA Championships, Columbia sits in seventh place with 53 team points.  Eren Civan stunned top-seeded Brandon Hatchett of Lehigh to advance to the finals in the championship bracket at 165 pounds.  Five other Columbia wrestlers are still alive in the consolation bracket.

"I thought we wrestled very hard today and did some things pretty well," said Brendan Buckley, the Andrew F. Barth Head Coach of Wrestling.  "We have some things to work on in terms of strategy that we will address and learn from.  At the moment though, we are focused on the six wrestlers still competing in the tournament, and Civan who has a tournament title to fight for."

Civan entered the tournament seeded fourth at 165 pounds, and was a perfect 3-0 in action on day one.  The junior began the tournament by pinning Andrew Lowy of Princeton in 1:44, and followed that up by defeating fifth-seeded Stephen Burak of Penn, 3-2 to advance to the semifinals.

His final match of the day saw him pitted against top-seeded Hatchett of Lehigh, who is also ranked No. 15 in the country. Hatchett struck first with a takedown, but Civan managed to escape with 1:45 to go in the period. He then chose bottom to begin the second and tied the match at 2-2 with a quick escape. Civan followed that with a takedown and nearfall to push his lead to 6-2, before Hatchett pulled within two on an escape and point for stalling.  But that would be as close as he got as Civan held on and advanced to the finals, earning an automatic qualification to the NCAA Championships for the second year in a row.

Equally as impressive was Kevin Lester, who was 2-1 on the day.  The heavyweight pinned Joe McMullan of Bucknell in 1:11 in his first bout, and advanced to the semifinals with a dramatic 9-8 win over Kyle Cowan of Penn.  Lester's only loss of the day came from Zach Rey of Lehigh, currently ranked No. 1 in the country.  Lester battled him hard and was tied 2-2 with 30 seconds to go in the first period, but Rey got a takedown before time expired to lead 4-2 after the first. Rey's point for an escape was the only scored in the second period, but the Lehigh wrestler came out aggressive in the final period en route to a 10-2 win.

Nick Mills got the day started in dramatic fashion at 184 pounds by defeating Erich Smith of Penn 8-7 by riding time in the second tie-breaker. Despite dropping his next match 4-0 to Daniel Rinaldi of Rutgers, the sophomore won his next two bouts to close out the day.  First he defeated Matt Latessa  of F&M 7-3, and closed out the evening with by pinning Michael Erdman of Princeton in just 0:27.

Steve Santos finished 2-2 on the day, picking up a 4-3 win over Joe Locksmith of Navy and pinning Joseph Marino of Harvard in 5:16. The sophomore dropped his second match 7-3 to Ganbayar Sanjaa of American, and his fourth match to Daniel Young of Army, 10-3.  He will wrestle for seventh place at 149 pounds on day two.

Also going 2-2 was Stephen West at 174 pounds.  West, who was unseeded, upset sixth-seeded David Thompson of Bucknell 5-4 in his first match of the day, before dropping his second bout to third-seeded Matt Demichiel of Navy 5-4. The sophomore bounced back to defeat Princeton's Ryan Callahan 5-0, but dropped his final match of the night to Matt Fullowan of Franklin & Marshall 4-2 in a dramatic second sudden victory. He will also wrestle for seventh place on Sunday.

The third Lion wrestling for seventh place is Mike Pushpak at 197 pounds.  The senior put up a good fight against Micah Burak who is ranked No. 9 in the country, but ultimately lost a 6-0 decision dropping him down to the consolation bracket.  He narrowly edged Colin Ely of F&M 8-7 before Jay Hahn of Bucknell defeated him 12-2.

Kyle Gilchrist (133) finished 1-2, while Penn Gottfried (125), Josh Houldsworth (141) and Jake O'Hara (157) all dropped both matches.

Day two of competition resumes on Sunday, March 6 at 10 a.m.