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Wrestling's Hudson and Hughes thrive in EIWA's

By John Napolitano -- STAFF WRITER The 112th Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA) Championships saw Hofstra graduate student Jamel Hudson and junior Michael Hughes finish fourth and third in their respective weight classes in Princeton, New Jersey, this weekend.

Hudson entered the tournament unseeded and finished Saturday with a 2-1 record after an opening round loss to Bucknell sophomore Tyler Smith. He later recorded victories over Binghamton’s Dylan Carauna, 9-3, and junior Logan Everett from Army West Point, 9-4, in wrestlebacks.

On Sunday, the 141-pound Pride wrestler went on to defeat American University’s Tyler Scotton 6-3 in the consolation round and Princeton junior, Jordan Laster, 3-1, in overtime. Hudson then met a huge roadblock in the third-place match in the form of Randy Cruz of Lehigh. The Bay Shore native was blanked by Cruz, 8-0.

Hudson finished the season 20-8 overall. He was one of six 141-pound shooters and one of two Hofstra wrestlers to qualify for the 2016 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships.

Michael Hughes of Smithtown, New York, qualified for the NCAA Tournament after two victories on Saturday, but his work in the EIWA Championships was far from over.

Hughes, the third seed, majored American University’s Jake Scanlan, 12-1, in the first round and pinned Princeton’s Ray O’Donnell in the quarterfinal match.

The semifinals saw the 285-pound Hughes handed his first defeat by second-seeded Max Wessell of Lehigh University, 7-3.

A pinfall victory over Franklin & Marshall’s Antonio Pelusi in the consolation bracket sent Hughes to the third-place match. There, he defeated the sixth-seed O’Donnell for a second time, 10-1, to solidify his third place finish. Hughes’ 10-1 victory is the third best finish by a Hofstra wrestler during the Pride’s tenure in the EIWA.

The EIWA Championship was secured by Cornell for the 10th straight year and 24th overall. Lehigh came in second with 160 points, just 10 and a half shy of Cornell’s 170.5. Bucknell finished in third with 84 points and Hofstra placed 13th out of 16 EIWA teams.

Hofstra University will host the 2016 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships at Madison Square Garden from March 17-19. Hudson and Hughes qualifying for the NCAA Championships marks the 20th consecutive year Hofstra has sent two or more wrestlers to the big dance.

The NCAA will award 46 at-large bids on March 9 to complete the field of 330 wrestlers heading to the Garden.

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