Wrestling Mat-ters College and high school wrestling seasons underway

By TOM ELLING

For The Express

The college portion of wrestling competition has already been underway with local teams off to a quick start. Both LHU and Penn State have competed in tournaments; both winning fairly easily. No. 1-ranked State is 3-0 in dual meets (Kent State, Bucknell and Lehigh) while No. 17 LHU is 1-0- with a 28-10 win over George Mason.

Penn State will host Zeke Jones’ Arizona State team this Friday ar 7 P.M. LHU’s next action will be the PSAC Championships at Kutztown, December 8. Fans might remember Zeke Jones’ tenure as an assistant at Bloomsburg and West Virginia a few years ago. LHU will ‘host’ Arizona in January at Red Lion high School in York County. This oddity is occurring because many of the LHU current and recent star wrestlers are from that area. It is kind of a pay-back to District 3.

The status of Chance Marsteller wrestling this weekend is in question. Chance told me he suffered a ‘minor injury’ and would be ready to go soon.

If the Iowa team seems more familiar to Pennsylvania fans, it is with good reason. Several of the starters are native Keystoners. Spencer Lee (Franklin Regional), Austin DeSanto (Exeter Twp), Max Murin (Central Cambria) and Kaleb Young (Punxsutawney). A fifth- Michael Kemerer (Franklin Regional) – is injured and reportedly is out for the season. Kemerer was 4th in NCAAs last season. Young, a sophomore, was named Big Ten Conference Wrestler of the Week in the meet against Purdue.

November was not a good month for our PA wrestling family. We lost Dave Johnson, Ivan Dinges, Cubby Bair and Pete Wolf. They all contributed heavily in our area. Johnson was a state champ for LHHS at 154 in 1954. He went on to wrestle and then coach at Pitt.

Dinges, a Penns Valley grad, wrestled for Hub Jack and LHU in the 1950s. He also coached at Loyalsock for several years.

Bair was well-known as a PIAA official and worked all of Central PA.

Wolf , a BE-N grad, was a highly-successful coach at Hughesville.

It goes without saying all were a part of the wrestling legacy in PA.

Bobby Day, the longtime radio sports guy for Clearfield, also passed in November. Bobby broadcast just about every sport for the Clearfield Bison teams. We knew him best for his Regional wrestling coverage. May they all rest in eternal peace.

Indiana recently honored the late Jim Nance by erecting a statue in his honor not far from another local hero, Jimmy Stewart. Nance was a two-time PIAA State champ at Unlimited then went on to win two NCAA titles for Syracuse University at heavyweight. Perhaps Jim is better known as the bruising fullback for Syracuse and then the professional Boston (New England) Patriots.

Geo Barzona (Central Mountain) has been splitting time at the 125-lb class at Bucknell with Jakob Campbell. Geo most recently wrestling in the dual against Penn State.

Logan Long has been the starter for Cetenary (Hackettstown, NJ) at 149. We’ll have further reports on these and other local wrestlers in colleges as the season progresses.

The PWCA (PA Wrestling Coaches’ Assoc) Hall of Fame Inductees for Class of 2019 include: Tom Best Jr., Tom Best Sr., Tom Bold, Vince DeAugustine, Charles Griffin, Bruce Haselrig, Tom Hontz, Greg Jones, Floyd Marshall and Tom Tomeo. The banquet is scheduled in the spring at State College (the old Boalsburg Elks).

The PA Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame has also been selected. The Class of 2019 includes: Don Burris, Chuck Grassano, Dick Horst, Jeff Madden and Wayne Packer for Lifetime Service. The chapter will also honor Joe Bastardi and Troy Clair as Outstanding Americans. Clyde Cressler will receive the Medal of Courage Award.

The High School season begins December 7. Central Mountain will try to defend their team title in the Williamsport Tom Best, Jr. Memorial tournament that weekend. Returning placwinners for CM are Johnny Shreffler (2nd), Dalton Bechdel (7th), Kayden Busey (7th), Cody Coleman (3rd), Tanner Riggle (4th) and Jake Edwards 2nd). Saucon Valley is a new entry this year and should be in the running for the title along with Central Mountain and Muncy. The tournament is a nice mix of AAA and AA schools from the various corners of the state. Look for Williamsport to be vastly improved with the infusion of some very good freshmen.

The Wildcats will then head to Selinsgrove on December 11 before hosting the 20th annual King of the Mountain on the 14t and 15th.

It’s that time of year. Get ready. Wrestle.

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