Defending champion Syracuse used its strength in the middle weight classes to grab the lead with 49 points after the quarterfinals of the 91st Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association Tournament last night at Navy's Alumni Hall.
The Orangemen have advanced eight wrestlers into the semifinal round, which starts at 10:30 a.m. today. Lehigh and Penn share second with 41; Navy has 40.5.
The Midshipmen -- led by No. 1 seeds and defending champions Doug Zembiec at 177 and Dan Hicks at heavyweight, respectively -- have advanced five wrestlers into the semifinals and also have five wrestlers in the consolations.
Zembiec opened with a match-terminated major decision over Jon Koteski of Franklin & Marshall, and followed with a quarterfinal win over Army's Vince Russell, 18-8.
Hicks, who has won the heavyweight division two of the past three years, started off with a pin over Mike Cook of Columbia and followed up with a quarterfinal win, 10-2, over Aaron Wurster of Wilkes-Barre. Navy senior Mike Clayton is seeded No. 2 at 126 pounds. He had a first-round bye and then stopped Stein Edwards of Army, 8-0.
Navy's 142-pounder Kurt Kyle advanced with an 11-3 win over Bryan Icenhower of Franklin & Marshall and a 9-0 decision of Ed Andres of Lehigh.
* ACC Championships: North Carolina leads with 73 points going into today's finals at Cole Field House in College Park.
Virginia, which led going into the semifinals, fell to second with 43. Virginia and Maryland (37) have qualified four wrestlers for the nationals.
Marylands' Mike Van Oss won in sudden death over N.C. State's Kirk Stehman in the 158-pound semifinals. Van Oss faces North Carolina's Mike Chase in today's final.