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Men's wrestling team struggles to overcome numerous injuries

Once again the Millersville wrestling team is battling the injury bug. Injuries have plagued the wrestling team over the last couple of years and it is partly responsible for the team’s 3-8-1 record thus far this year. At least five of the team’s regulars have missed time this season, and most recently injuries played a crucial role in the losses of their last two matches.

The Marauders traveled to Lexington, Virginia last Friday and dropped matches to Davidson College and the Virginia Military Institute. Millersville had faced Davidson a few weeks earlier at the Virginia Duals, winning 25-17. During that match the Marauders had six individual wins to Davidson’s four. However, on Friday, the Marauders had to forfeit the first to bouts at the 133 and 141 pound weight classes.

The forfeits came at the beginning of the match and Davidson was awarded six team points for each forfeit. Essentially, Millersville was starting the match down 0-12 rather than starting at 0-0. The Marauders did the best with what they had, although they came up short in the end, losing 27-23. Senior Jarrett Hostetter and sophomore Jason Foor recorded pins for the Marauders while freshman Josh Marquad won by technical fall. Sophomore Shane Smith picked up the other victory for the Marauders with a win by forfeit.

After the loss to Davidson the Marauders were set to face the VMI under the same circumstances as the first match. Unfortunately, it ended with the same results. Millersville fell by a score of 34-14. Starting from a 0-12 hole once again, the Marauders did all they could to keep the match interesting.

They won their first two bouts with junior J.J. Lester winning by decision and Hostetter took the next bout by technical fall. After those matches the score was 12-8 in favor of the VMI. However, the Marauders could not catch up as they dropped the next five of their six matches as the Virginia Military Institute pulled away with the victory. Smith was the only other Marauder to win his respective match by pinning VMI’s Andrew Szymborski in 14 seconds.

With the season coming to the home stretch, the Marauders are beginning to shift their focus toward placing individuals into the national tournament. Last season, the Marauders sent three of their members to the big tournament. “Realistically, we could send four,” Hostetter said “everyone is going to have to wrestle well to do that.”

It is not as though the Marauders are giving up on the team aspect for the season, but the slew of injuries they have faced seem to be a bit too much to overcome. “Since the beginning of the season we’ve lost wrestlers in the 125, 133, 141, 157, 165 and 197 pound weight classes,” Hostetter said “that’s six of ten weight classes that have been affected, it’s completely affecting the team.”

Millersville is still doing whatever it can to improve day in and day out. The Marauders face a tough stretch ahead, but they are gaining valuable experience for their underclassmen, some of whom were not even expecting to wrestle this year.

The team hopes that the younger wrestlers can help pick up the slack and finish off the year on a high note. “It’s going to take a lot of underclassmen stepping up into starting roles,” Hostetter said “they’ve done a decent job so far.”

Millersville is keeping their fingers crossed that it will pay dividends, because they are due for some good luck.