Wrestlers make history; first to beat Top-5 ranked opponent
The wrestling team at California Baptist University made history Nov. 25 as the team defied all odds by defeating No. 4-ranked Mercyhurst University 23-18, making the win the first time CBU has beaten a team ranked in the top-five.
Winning six of the 10 matches, the meet came down to the final heavyweight match. The winner of the matchup would claim the win for either team. The pressure was on for Joe Fagiano, master of business administration student, as he went up against the No. 3 heavyweight Andy Welton. Fagiano did not crack under the pressure, but thrived. Dominating in speed and strength, Fagino took down Welton two times, earning a needed win.
“I came to win a match and win it for the team,” Fagiano said in a press release. “It’s good to know where I’m at with the rest of the country, so it’s good; it’s a good feeling.”
One of the many highlights also included the match between Bradely Christensen, sophomore criminal justice major, who wrestled against Angelo Bortoluzzi in the 184-pound weight class. Christensen overwhelmed the Mercyhurst wrestler, beating him 6-1.
“I went out there with the mentality that I have nothing to lose, all the pressure’s on him and I went out there to have fun,” Christensen said in a press release. “It was a battle but I kept working hard and fighting through.”
Four wins came from Anthony Racobaldo, freshman undeclared major and wrestler, who won his match 10-4. Peter Cunningham, sophomore mechanical engineering major, also gave an impressive performance during his matchup scoring two takedowns, nearfall points and a pin.
Along with Cunningham, Brady Bersano, senior marketing major, and Paul Head, junior kinesiology major, also brought their A-game to their respective matches; Bersano winning 16-0 against his opponent and Head beating his challenger 6-2, contributing to the overall Lancer win.
The win pushed the Lancers up to the No. 6 spot in the NCAA Division II Power Rankings—a program first. The wrestling team is now preparing to wrestle on the road at the Cliff Keen Invitational Dec. 4-5. in Las Vegas.