Feb. 6, 2012
PITTSBURGH - University of Pittsburgh senior Ethan Headlee (Waynesburg, Pa./Waynesburg High School) was named the Eastern Wrestling League Wrestler of the Week on Monday
In the Panthers’ 26-12 win at West Virginia on Saturday, Headlee returned from an elbow injury and rolled to a 12-2 major decision over No. 20 Lance Bryson. It was the second time Headlee posted a major decision over Bryson this season.
“I felt confident. I felt like I was the better wrestler,” Headlee said. “Knowing where he stands in the rankings and knowing I want to be an All-American, I kind of look at it as a stepping stone to get to where I want to be.”
Headlee was ranked No. 26 in the WrestlingReport.com poll at the time of the match and has since bumped up five spots to No. 21, one spot ahead of Bryson. With his win over Bryson, and teammate P.J. Tasser’s win over multiple EWL opponents, Headlee will most likely enter the conference tournament as the top seed and the favorite to win his second straight title.
Regardless of his place at the EWL Tournament on March 4, Headlee is a virtual lock to qualify for the national tournament for the fourth time in his career, a feat accomplished by just 12 wrestlers in Pitt history. Included in that list are current coaches Rande Stotleymyer and Matt Kocher.
A pair of injuries have kept Headlee out of the lineup for a large portion of the season, limiting him to just 16 matches with a record of 10-6. For his career he has 91 victories and is tied for sixth all-time on Pitt’s career pins list with 29.
Headlee didn’t appear to struggle much during his return from the most recent setback. He controlled all facets of the match in the easy win over Bryson, scoring multiple takedowns and nearfall points.
“Coming off the elbow injury, I felt a lot better as opposed to my knee injury because I was able to run. I was a little nervous, because a match is a lot different than practice, but for the most part I felt good.”
Pitt hopes Headlee can continue to compete like he did at West Virginia as the Panthers face a grueling final stretch of the regular season. Remaining on the schedule are a one-loss team in No. 23 Hofstra, a No. 21 Edinboro team with a perfect 4-0 record in the EWL, and No. 2 Penn State, the returning national champions.
The Hofstra match is next on the schedule. The Panthers will host the Pride on Friday at 7 p.m. at the Fitzgerald Field House.
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