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Santoro welcomes six newcomers to Lehigh wrestling program
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Posted: 05/17/2013 | Last updated: May 17, 2013 at 01:16 PM
BETHLEHEM, Pa. â€“ Lehigh head coach Pat Santoro has announced the addition of six student-athletes, who will join the Mountain Hawksâ€™ wrestling program in the fall. Six states are represented among the incoming class, which features three grapplers who project at 125 pounds. In addition, two of the six incoming wrestlers are siblings of current Mountain Hawks.
Santoro and his coaching staff brought in a smaller class after recruiting 15 student-athletes last year. The Mountain Hawks lose just six wrestlers to graduation.
â€œWe are very excited to welcome in this class,â€ said Santoro, who enters his sixth season. â€œWhile not as large in numbers as last yearâ€™s class, this is a group of strong wrestlers and good students who will mesh well with the wrestlers currently in our program.â€
The highest-rated wrestler in the incoming class is Darian Cruz from nearby Bethlehem Catholic High School. Cruz is a two-time Pennsylvania AA state champion and a three-time place winner, taking third as a sophomore in 2011. He amassed a 153-8 career record that included an 84-3 mark over the last two years. A three-time District XI and Regional champion, Cruz is also a four-time Beast of the East place winner and a two-time champion, and owns two top-three finishes at the Walsh Ironman. Cruz is ranked in the top three at his weight class nationally, and competed in the Dapper Dan Wrestling Classic last month. He is the brother of Lehigh EIWA Champion Randy Cruz and projects at 125 for the Mountain Hawks.
Arriving from Ardsley High School in New York is Drew Longo. A five-time league champion and state qualifier, Longo reached the podium on three occasions, with second, fourth and fifth place finishes. The honor roll student also won four sectional titles. Longo owns a 180-29 career record, including a 41-4 mark in his senior season. He projects at 141 for the Mountain Hawks.
Santoro has brought in one middleweight in Billy Ramsey from Stafford, Va. Ramsey competed for Brooke Point High School and spent the 2012-13 school year at Old Dominion University, where he posted a 3.5 GPA. He amassed a 131-45 career record and qualified for the state tournament as a senior in 2012. Ramsey is a three-time district place winner and a three-time regional qualifier, finishing third in his senior season. He projects at 157.
Dean Somers is the second projected 125 pounder in the incoming class. Somers hails from Lapeer High School in Michigan, where he was a four-time state place winner and a two-time finalist, finishing fifth, fourth, second and second. He finished with a record of 202-22 in his high school career. Somers is a four-time regional finalist with regional titles in his freshman and senior seasons. A high honors student, Somers was named Academic All-State by the Michigan Wrestling Association, and was a MHSAA Scholar-Athlete in 2012-13.
The third wrestler in the incoming class who projects at 125 is Artem Timchenko from Olentangy Orange High School in Columbus, Ohio. Timchenko is a three-time Ohio place winner, who was the state runner-up at 120 pounds. He is a three-time high school All-American, who owns a fifth place finish at NHSCA Freshman Nationals, a fifth place finish at FloNationals in 2011, and a fourth place finish in folkstyle nationals in 2012.
Rounding out the incoming class is Axel Wessell from Boulder, Colorado. Wessell is the brother of Max Wessell â€™16, who placed seventh at the EIWA Championships at heavyweight for the Mountain Hawks after winning the starting spot midseason. The younger Wessell finished second in Colorado in 2012 with a 20-3 record and was off to a 7-0 start in his senior season before undergoing shoulder surgery that ended his 2012-13 campaign. Like his brother, Axel competes in judo, where he took second at the Junior Olympics and is a two-time third place finisher at the Junior US Open.
Lehigh loses three starters to graduation, including three-time All-American Robert Hamlin at 184. In addition to the six newcomers, the Mountain Hawks return several key wrestlers who deferred their eligibility in 2012-13.
Bethlehem, Pa./Bethlehem Catholic
Stafford, Va./Brooke Point (ODU)
Columbus, Ohio/Olentangy Orange