Feb. 18, 2006
BALTIMORE - The "Four-peat" was the order of the day at the 2006 Centennial Conference Championships.
Ursinus ended up as the group that completed the feat. Not just once, but three times, as the Bears took their fourth straight team title while seniors Eddie Murray and Mike Troutman became four-time Centennial champions.
Murray and Troutman etched their names in the conference record book by becoming the third and fourth grapplers to take four titles in four tries. Jake Dell of Gettysburg (1995-98) and Tyler Cathey of Muhlenberg (1999-2002) completed the task previously, but Ursinus becomes the only league team to have two four-time champions. By completing their title runs, Murray and Troutman were awarded the Chris Clifford Memorial Award as the wrestlers to compile the most career tournament points.
The tandem reached the pinnacle with decisive victories, as Murray collected two major decisions along the way, while Troutman sealed the deal with a pair of pins.
The Bears and their championship grapplers were among the numerous highlights at the 2006 Centennial Conference championships, hosted by Johns Hopkins University on Saturday.
McDaniel senior Tony Howard (165) became a three-time conference champion, rolling to the 2006 Outstanding Performer award at the championships in a dominant fashion. Howard's three victories included a semi-final technical fall in 3:13 and a pair of major decisions, including a 14-5 championship verdict over Stevens sophomore Brandon McWhinnie.
Muhlenberg senior Matt Loesch (197) racked up his third straight title as well, cruising to the championship by pinning Ursinus junior Kyle Capella in 1:49 in the 197-pound title bout.
A pair of conference wrestlers rolled up their second straight conference crowns, as the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy's senior grappler Danny Song (141) and Muhlenberg's senior 157-pounder Dale Mills went the distance.
The two took different paths, however, as Song went the easy route by recording two straight pins before recording a 10-3 decision over Muhlenberg freshman Rob Kein in the title bout. Mills had an uphill battle after a first-round pin, edging out Ursinus junior Mark Barber 10-9 in the semis before sealing up the title in an 11-8 battle with Stevens sophomore Ryan Bennick.
Four grapplers tasted their first conference title, including the hometown favorite David Kraus, a 174-pound senior from Johns Hopkins.
Kraus, after gaining a bye into the second round, slipped past USMMA senior Nate Van de Venter 6-3 in the semis before avenging an early-season loss to McDaniel freshman Andrew Winfield, the top seed at 174, by gaining a third period takedown en route to a 4-3 championship victory.
The Ursinus duo of Steve Kingsland and Brian Boland helped the Bears to the title with their first conference championships. Kingsland, a freshman 125-pounder, took out McDaniel senior and bracket favorite Steve Colasuonnno by pulling out three third period points to take a 5-3 decision in the championship. Boland, a 149-pound senior, finished off Stevens freshman Charles Favia 10-2 to win his first and last Centennial title.
Gettysburg junior Matt Pattanite rounded out the field in the heavyweight division by recording two pins to earn a championship berth. Pattanite had four title bout takedowns and never trailed, gaining a 9-5 win over Ursinus sophomore Matt Williams.
A new wrinkle was added to the Centennial Championships this season: a wild-card bid. The NCAA gave the league an 11th-bid, which was awarded to Stevens sophomore Brandon MacWhinnie. The top-seeded wrestler at 165 pounds, MacWhinnie fell in the championship to Howard. Prior to his title berth, MacWhinnie rolled, allowing only two points in the first two bouts.
The tournament saw six top seeds go wire-to-wire (Murray, Song, Boland, Troutman, Loesch, Pattanite), while four made their way to the titles beginning with number-two seeds (Kingsland, Mills, Howard, Kraus).