No. 23 Eagles open season at Clarion Open, crown 2 champs
CLARION, Pa. – The No. 23 Lock Haven University wrestling team officially opened the 2019-20 season Sundayat the Clarion Open and the Bald Eagles crowned a pair of individual champions.
Returning national-qualifier Alex Klucker (Summerdale, Pa./East Pennsboro), ranked No. 31 (TrackWrestling) in the nation, went 4-0 and won the title at 157 pounds. Competing unattached at 133 pounds, Brandon Loperfido (Columbia, Pa./Hempfield) won the title after going 3-0.
The Bald Eagles showed their depth at 157, as Klucker topped teammate Jonathan Ross (Dillsburg, Pa./Northern York) in the finals by way of forfeit. Ross was competing unattached Sunday.
Jared Siegrist (Manheim, Pa./Manheim Central) also stood out after placing second at 174.
Other notable season-opening performances came from Caleb Clymer (Germansville, Pa./Northwestern Lehigh) and Luke Werner (Bethlehem, Pa./Liberty). Clymer was 2-2 at 165 and Werner was 2-2, competing unattached at 125. Brock Port (Bellefonte, Pa./Bellefonte) picked up two wins at 149, and both Ray Bernot (Gainesville, Pa./Battlefield) and Parker McClellan (Altoona, Pa./Altoona) went a solid 2-2 at 184 and 197, respectively.
Sunday’s action at the Clarion Open marked the fifth consecutive season where Lock Haven has opened their respective season at the tournament. The Bald Eagles have claimed at least one individual Clarion Open title now for five straight seasons, and overall, the Bald Eagles have now won seven individual titles in five seasons.
For Klucker, it marked his second career Clarion Open win. He won the tournament back in 2017.
Klucker was a perfect 4-0 Sunday at 157. He opened the day with a tech fall (16-0) in 2:14 and followed it up with back-to-back pins, earning his spot in the finals where he won by forfeit over Ross.
Ross (UNA) went 3-0 to earn a spot in the finals at 157.
Loperfido (UNA) powered his way to the 133-pound title, thanks a dominating 3-0 run. He started the tournament with back-to-back pins (5:41 & 2:23). In the finals, he took down Bloomsburg’s Josh Mason, 9-7 in a thriller.
Siegrist finished second at 174 after a solid 3-1 day. After opening the day with a 7-0 decision, he recorded a first-period fall (0:56). Seigrist grinded out a 4-1 win in the semifinals, before being edged out by Penn State’s Carter Starocci (UNA), 2-0 in the finals.
Klucker is one of four returning national qualifiers on the Lock Haven roster this season, but he was the only one to hit the matsSunday.
The Bald Eagles other returning national qualifiers include 133-pounder DJ Fehlman (Warren, Pa./Warren), 141-pounder Kyle Shoop (Boiling Springs, Pa./Boiling Springs) and 184-pounder Corey Hazel (Spring Mills, Pa./Penns Valley). All four returning national qualifiers entered the 2019-20 season listed in the preseason individual national rankings, including Shoop, a returning All-American, who is ranked No. 5 by TrackWrestling.
TrackWrestling listed Fehlman (133) at No. 9, Klucker (157) at No. 31 and Hazel (184) at No. 10. Redshirt-freshman Isaac Reid (Saltsburg, Pa./Kiski) entered the season ranked No. 30 at 285, as five total Bald Eagles are currently nationally ranked at their respective weight class.
The Bald Eagles will once again make the trip to Troy, New York for the Journeyman Collegiate Classic. The 2019 edition is set for Sunday, November 10.