Messiah College paced a seven team field with six finalists and four champions to win the Messiah Invitational and kick off their 2007-2008 season. Falcon champions were Bryce Stever (125), Domineak Commodore (133), Mike Bressler (157), and Trent Zempel (165). Dave Jones (174) and Matt McHugh (184) placed second for Messiah.
Head Coach Bryan Brunk observed, “It was a team championship earned by a total team effort and with room for improvement,” recognizing that this weekend was the first step in a long season. For Messiah, Stever, Commodore, and Bressler each opened their careers with a tournament championship, while Jones began college wrestling with three wins and a close loss to returning All-American Drew Winfield of McDaniel. The young Messiah team saw five wrestlers place in the top four in their first taste of college wrestling.
Several of the teams in attendance were without some top wrestlers, as King’s was missing 133 lb. national champion Dave Morgan and Case Western was without 141 lb. national qualifier David Manoogian. Ursinus also did not send many starters, including national qualifier Steve Kingsland.
In other weights, Waynesburg freshman Nick Garber dominated with 2 falls and an 11-6 decision to win at 141. At 149, Case’s Drew Gardella won as the top seed, defeating freshman Matt Cole from Johns Hopkins. 184 saw national qualifier Eric Fishel from Johns Hopkins roll to the championship, demonstrating impressive scrambling ability. Tyler Schmidt gave Hopkins another champ at 197, winning a five man bracket. At 285, Matt Williams of Ursinus lived up to the #1 seed, defeating freshman Brock Glotfelty of McDaniel in the final.