Thrilling dual-meet finishes defined the Franklin & Marshall wrestling program's 2019-20 season, giving fans and supporters an optimistic outlook moving forward. The Diplomats concluded the year with a 5-7 overall record, good for the most wins in four seasons.
To watch the season highlight video, click here.
F&M got off to its best start since 1991-92 as the Diplomats went a perfect 3-0 to open the year. Cenzo Pelusi '22 came up clutch in his dual-meet debut for F&M, registering a 9-5 decision win in the 285-pound match to clinch a 19-17 victory over VMI on November 16th.
Later in the day, the Diplomats won two out of their final three bouts to finish off the opening-season, dual-meet doubleheader with a 22-16 win over Davidson in Lexington, Va.
The team's largest-margin of victory came a month later in a commanding 38-9 onslaught of Presbyterian in North Carolina. The Diplomats won seven out of the 10 matchups against the Division I Blue Hose, which included two majors and a pair of falls.
Narrow losses to Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA) foes Harvard and Sacred Heart were answered with a resounding 21-19 upset of Brown on Jan. 19th. The triumph over the Bears marked F&M's first win in the series since the 1964-65 season and snapped a 24-match winless streak.
The Diplomats' dual season wrapped up on a high note when the Diplomats returned the Rupp Cup trophy back to Lancaster with a decisive 23-10 victory over crosstown-rival Millersville on Feb. 13th.
Standout performances took place during F&M's tournament competition as well. Emmett LiCastri '20 claimed third place in the 165-pound bracket at Binghamton's Bearcat Open on Nov. 10th, while the Diplomats placed eight at Penn.'s Keystone Classic on Nov. 24th.
F&M was well represented at the team's annual home tournament, the 2020 David H. Lehman F&M Open on Jan. 4th, when the Diplomats claimed a program-record four, top-six finishes.
Wil Gil '21 placed at the EIWA Tournament for the second consecutive year, earning eighth after recording a pair of wins in the 141-pound bracket, which included a memorable 12-10 decision upset of No. 1-seed Salvatore Profaci of American.
Following the conclusion of the event, the Diplomats were honored with the Good Sportsmanship Award – voted on by working officials of the Tournament.
Statistically, F&M saw its grapplers complete one of their best seasons on record. Three Diplomats won 20 or more matches, and 10 reached double-digit victories.
Gil led the way with a staggering 31-10 mark, which placed him tied for sixth on the program's single-season wins list. LiCastri was close behind with a 27-12 record. He concluded his collegiate career with a respectable 73-61 record to place 14th on the team's career wins list, while his 21 all-time pins stand alone in 13th.
In the classroom, F&M landed the most representatives in program history on the EIWA Academic Achievement Award list. LiCastri garnered the distinction for the third consecutive year, Reid Robilotto '20 landed on the list for the second straight season, and Cole Aaron '20, Ethan Seeley '23, and Cenzo Pelusi '22 all received the accolade for the first time.
LiCastri went on to become just the sixth F&M grappler to garner a spot on the prestigious NWCA All-Academic Team, while the Diplomats as a whole earned Scholar All-America Team recognition by finished with the 12th-best GPA among all Division I schools.