Tom Elling’s ‘Wrestling Mat-ters’: It’s Nice To Be Back

It’s nice to be back for another wrestling season. I hope you enjoy my ramblings and opinions.

Our local college teams have been doing well. Penn State is rolling again under Cael Sanderson and LHU is really on-the-rise with Scott Moore. And, as Coach Moore aptly pointed out at one of our recent breakfasts, “There were five (5) NCAA Individual titles won between LHU and Penn State last season.” That cracked up the audience, including Cael Sanderson.

The Bald Eagles open their dual meet season tomorrow as they host highly-ranked No.11 Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights are 3-0 in duals with impressive wins over Maryland (27-9), Oklahoma (22-9), and Virginia (21-9). At the Black Knight Invitational, Rutgers had two champions (125 – Nick Suriano and 174 – Joseph Grello) along with runners-up 174 Jordan Pagano and Hwt Razohnn Gross, and 3rd placers 141 Michael Brill and 197 Kevin Mulligan. Some key wrestlers who did not compete in the Black Knight Eleazar DeLuca Invitational include 133 Scott DelVecchio, 149 Eleazar DeLuca, and 184 Nick Gravina. Ashnault is injured.

Head Coach Scott Goodale is an LHU wrestling alum (1995). While at LHU, Goodale qualified for the NCAA Championships three times. He placed second at the Eastern Wrestling League (EWL) Tournament twice. He had 99 wins for the Bald Eagles. Scott’s coaching record at Rutgers is 153-55-1.

Rutgers next action will be hosting Iowa next Friday at Piscataway.

The opening meet for Lock Haven will feature both a White-Out and a Veterans Appreciation Night with veterans being admitted free of charge. Looking to see Dave Wagner there, for sure.

The Bald Eagles had a great showing at the Black Knight Invite. Kyle Shoop (141- Boiling Springs), Ronnie Perry (149 – Solanco), Chance Marsteller (165 – Kennard-Dale) and Thomas Haines (Hwt – Solanco) all won titles. DJ Fehlman (133 – Warren) and Alex Klucker (157 – East Pennsboro) took second place, while Corey Hazel (184 – Penns Valley) was fourth.

The Eagles were also represented in the 12th annual Mattown Open. Josiah Kline won the title at 125, while Jonathan Ross (157) and Jared Siegrist (174) took seconds. Luke Werner finished strong with a 3rd at 125.

Local product Geo Barzona of Bucknell went 3-2 to finish 4th in his first collegiate foray. Former Bellefonte ace Chase Gardner also participated for Bloomsburg.

The Rutgers at LHU meet promises to be an exciting one and a win would propel LHU even more prominently into the national spotlight. On paper, the meet looks like a 5-5 split. But as one local radio talent points out repeatedly, “That’s why we wrestle them.

LHU’s next action after Rutgers will be Saturday, Dec 9 as Edinboro will host the PSAC Tournament.


Congratulations to our recent Hall of Fame Inductees. Tom Muir, Lee Deitrick and Fran Eisenhower, who were inducted into the West Branch Sports Hall of Fame. Honors richly deserved. All (obviously) were great wrestlers, and all three are good friends.

Additionally, Bill Bowes received the very prestigious honor of being selected to the PA State Sports Hall of Fame. Bill was joined by the likes of Art Rooney, Jr., Bob Sanders, Joe Walton and other prominent sports figures.

It should not go unnoticed how much work guys like Rod Laub, Dave Bower and Ron Bowes do to remember our past athletes. Keep up the good work, gentlemen. It is noticed.

Wrestling suffered losses over the past couple months including the passing of Bill Blacksmith, Don Dunn, and Tommy Hanna. It wasn’t that long ago that we also lost Maynard Aungst. Heaven sure must be having some great bouts.

Craig Buskirk will be directing the Sugar Valley Charter program. The coach is looking for any wrestling equipment (singlets, headgear, etc). If you have any, please contact Craig at that school.

In case you missed it, Susquehanna Township’s state champion Edmond Ruth has transferred to St. PaulÌs School in Maryland. Edmond is the younger brother of former Penn State NCAA Champion, Ed Ruth. The coach at Susquehanna Township has moved to the head coaching job at Steelton-Highspire.

Next column will discuss some of the local high schools and what we can expect from them.

Lots more to report, but I’ll end it here for now. If you are a devoted wrestling fan, you might want to check out Tom’s Wrestling Page on Facebook. We’re nearing the 1200 member mark, including some of the top wrestling people across the nation.