The Morning Call (Sunday)
Hawks’ opener canceled due to virus
BETHLEHEM— The Hofstra wrestlers had arrived at Lehigh University’s Grace Hall. They were rolling around on the wrestling mat at LeemanTurner Arena to warm up.
And then came the news. A positive COVID-19 test for one of its wrestlers would force the cancellation of Saturday’s season-opening wrestling match against the 17th-ranked Mountain Hawks.
Fortunately for the Hawks, their wrestlers were warming up in their wrestling room on the third floor and had no contact with the Hofstra team.
Why the individual whohad a pending test result was allowed to travel with the Hofstra team is unclear. Lehigh, which has a road trip to Pitt next Saturday, will not allow anyone with a positive or pending test to travel, according to Allen Biddinger, assis
tant athletic director for facilities and events.
“It’s disappointing on a lot of levels,” Biddinger said of Saturday’s cancellation, “but health and safety comes first.”
Lehigh and many of the member schools of the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association had put together an abbreviated schedule in which overnight stays at hotels are prohibited. That doesn’t include the Ivy League members of the EIWA (Penn, Cornell, Princeton, Brown, Columbia and Harvard) who long ago decided to cancel their winter sports seasons.
The match that had been planned against Hofstra was changed to an exhibition because both programs had experienced similar troubles getting wrestlers certified due to previous positive COVID-19 tests and contact tracing protocols.
Though their dual meet with Pitt will be an NCAA-certified competition, the Hawks and Panthers also have arranged for some add-on exhibition bouts to get some work in for others.
Lehigh wrestling coach Pat Santoro and associate director of athletics
for sports medicine Jack Foley were not available for comment.
This is a setback for the program, which now has seen its schedule reduced to just seven dual meets. None of the open tournaments that normally are a big part of the NCAA wrestling season are being held this year.
Nick Fierro can be reached at 610-778-2243 or firstname.lastname@example.org.