High School Wrestling Returns
There is still a lot of buzzing about LHU’s dual meet win last week over No. 11 Rutgers. It is certainly something for Scott Moore, Nate Carr, Robbie Weikel and company upon which to build. There was excitement in Thomas Field House that has not been there for years. I would like to challenge the student body to show more support. Back in the day, almost all students jammed the field house, or as the late Ross Nevel named it “The House of Noise.” New Jersey wrestling icon, Screwy Louie Lazarri, was at the meet and told me he was thrilled to be in that “House.” Louie wrestled at Kutztown for Dan Hinkel.
It was nice covering the Bald Eagles on radio and streaming. Thanks to all who made that happen.
LHU heads to Edinboro Saturday to compete in the PSACs. It still seems odd to me to have them so early in the season, but with fairly recent NCAA changes, it has become a necessity. I predict the Bald Eagles will unseat Edinboro, a team that has won the past seven years. In fact, Edinboro has won the PSAC 18 times, while Lock Haven has won 19. LHU has not won the conference since 2001.
Ronnie Perry (141) and Thomas Haines (285) are defending champions for LHU, Kyle Shoop (149) and Tristan Sponseller (197) were runners-up. Edinboro returns champions in Sean Russell (125), Korbin Myers (133), Ty Shoffstall (174), Dakota Geer (184), with Billy Miller (285), a second-placer. Edinboro had another champion in Patrick Lugo (149) who has since transferred to Iowa.
DD senior wrestling judicial official Jerry Swope and his sidekick Harry Overdorf concur that this will be the year for Lock Haven to regain the top spot. Jerry was our team captain a few years ago. And Jerry is one to listen. Not too long ago, our coach Gray Simons showed him a new counter for the tight waist, and Swopie grasped it immediately.
Top-ranked Penn State at Lehigh meet was a bit closer than most anticipated, but the Nits came through winning where they had to, capturing a 23-19 decision. The Mountain Hawks (formerly Engineers) were ranked No. 5. It is doubtful either ranking will change. One thing for sure is to retain the No. 1 spot, Penn State will need Vincenzo Joseph back. The 165-lber was injured in the Binghamton meet. The extent of which is not known. (Rumors say he banged up his hand somewhat.) Penn State won their 35th straight Dual meet (setting a new record for PSU) and Zain Retherford’s win makes it 71 straight wins for the Benton lad.
While I am heading to PIAA State Championship football this weekend, Central Mountain and Jersey Shore will open at the Top Hat (Tom Best Memorial) in Williamsport Friday and Saturday. Biff Walizer’s Wildcats should be among the favorites to win the event as they have pretty decent team balance. Jersey Shore under the direction of Crock Herman will focus more attention on individual performances with Hunter O’Connor looking to better his 6th place finish last year. Central Mountain won the team title in 2016 with Line Mountain and Montoursville finishing 2-3. Central Mountain returns runner-op Seth Andrus, 3rd-placer Tanner Weaver and 4th-placer Cody Coleman. Asher Corl and Mahlik Houtz were 5th and Logan Long finished 6th. Johnny Schreffler also was 7th in the always-tough pre-Christmas event. According to my schedule, Bald Eagle Area will not compete in the Top Hat, but will open on December 12 at Clearfield. Ron Guenot’s AreaÌshould be one of the top tournament AAA teams in District 6 this season with the likes of Garrett Rigg, Seth Koleno and Gage McClenahan leading the way. All three were state qualifiers with Koleno placing 5th in states and McClenahan 7th. McClenahan also won the NHSCA freshman title in Virginia Beach last March.
Bellefonte suffered a lot of losses via graduation and some reported transfers, but Mike Maney is a tireless worker and always puts a solid team on the mat. The Red Raiders open December 12th hosting Clearfield before traveling the next evening to new opponent Blairsville.
After the Top Hat action, Central Mountain will go to Shamokin (Dec 12th), while Shore will make the drive to a vastly-improved State College.
Although he has taken a silent retreat the past few years, Joe Walker still remains a valuable asset to me. He may not be posting records and such on the internet, but Joe is still an ardent wrestling fan. I maintain that he should author a book on Bald Eagle-Nittany and Sugar Valley wrestling. Not time to retire yet, Joe!
Upon further review, in my column last week, I didn’t mean to imply that Craig Buskirk was the head coach at Sugar Valley Rural Charter. Hunter Barto occupies that role, but Coach Buskirk is heading up the elementary and junior high aspects of the program. I hope to bring you more reports from the Phoenix than in the past.
And that school up river will once again co-op with Central Mountain. Bucktail was a nice part of the program last year with Logan Long and Tanner Riggle doing a lot of good things. They return and bring a few more talented Bucks with them. You really have to admire these guys. Adding the extra 30 or so miles to their day after practice shows dedication.
In case you are looking for a stocking stuffer for that wrestling fan in the family, I still have several copies of my PA Wrestling Handbook 2017-2018 version. A fan need to never go to a tournament or dual meet again without knowing who the key returnees are for each team, their records and places last season. The book also contains a lot of college information and a history or all PIAA placer since 1938. Contact me via phone or email firstname.lastname@example.org.