TIFFIN -- After a month of competing off campus, the Heidelberg University wrestling team turned in a magnificent performance in its home opener -- riding four pins to a 40-7 win over Alma College on Friday. Joey Baitt, Noah Messerall, Steven Murray and Dillen Decker all recorded pins as the Student Princes scored early and often against the Scots.
"Scoring first is really important to us," said third-year head coach Tony Patrizi. "It shows we want to be assertive and positive."
Heidelberg improved to 3-2 in duals while Alma fell to 5-5.
Mason Brainard started the 125 bout out with three quick takedowns of Alma's Aaron Parr-Besemer. On the third, though, Parr-Besemer got a reversal and four back points -- taking an 8-7 lead into the second period. Down 11-7 to start the third, Brainard closed the gap with a takedown with 40 seconds left. The Heidelberg freshman was unable to flip Parr-Besemer and lost, 11-9.
At 133, senior Ryan Hornack scored twice in the first period with a pair of dynamic takedowns. Leading 4-2 in the second, Hornack allowed Noah Lopez to escape early before gaining two more points with a late takedown. Up 6-4 to start the third, Hornack padded his lead with another takedown. Tacking on a riding point, Hornack emerged with a 9-5 win.
Hayden Bates' home debut electrified the mustachioed Seiberling Gymnasium crowd. Bates used an early takedown and two nearfalls to amass a 10-0 lead after one. Hunting for bonus points, Bates extended the lead in the second with a takedown and another nearfall. Jake Anderson didn't go quietly in the third, getting a takedown.
Like his teammates, Joey Baitt used an early takedown to take a 2-0 lead over Anthony Lesko. Baitt tallied a nearfall before recording a pin in 2:45 -- his first of the year.
With his team leading 13-3, Noah Messerall dominated, then stuck Mitchell Franklin in 1:27. For Messerall, it was his fifth pin of the season.
After a brief intermission, Steven Murray reignited the mats with a takedown in the first 10 seconds. Murray continued the pressure and acrobatically pinned Roderick Howard in 1:23. It was Murray's fifth pin of the season.
Alma's Taylor McPhail halted the Heidelberg momentum in a 14-6 major decision over Darren Decker. McPhail's four-point win made the match score 25-7.
Dillen Decker turned a first-period takedown into an 8-0 lead after three minutes, thanks to two nearfalls. Up 11-0 after an escape to start the third, Decker pinned Trent Hullett in 5:24. Decker's fifth pin of the year gave Heidelberg a 31-7 advantage.
A takedown and a near-fall gave Gage Finegan a 6-0 lead after the first period. After his lead blossomed in the second, Finegan won by a 16-0 technical fall with 19 seconds left in the third. It was Finegan's first tech fall of the season, and gave HU a 36-7 lead.
In the final match, Christian Climer climbed out to a 10-0 lead in the first. Climer and Cameron Lee traded takedowns in the second, with the HU sophomore holding an 18-6 lead. Climer ended the match with a 20-10 major decision.
The match was the final contest of the 2016 calendar year for Heidelberg. The Tricolor returns to action on Jan. 7, at the Waynesburg Invitational.