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Lock Haven’s wrestling recruiting class has pieces to keep Bald Eagles successful

This was the most important recruiting class of Scott Moore’s career at Lock Haven, and he and his staff absolutely nailed it.

This is the season in which Lock Haven’s core group of wrestlers which helped resurrect a once-dormant program all moved on. And this recruiting class had to be about replenishing those losses.

It’s hard to imagine Moore and his staff doing any better than the group of 13 recruits it announced Tuesday. The list includes two PIAA champions, two more finalists, a Michigan state champ, an Ohio runner-up, a four-time Georgia state champ, a two-time Georgia state champ, a JUCO finalist and a transfer from Penn State who was a two-time Prep National champion.

In a Zoom meeting with friends and supporters of the Lock Haven wrestling program last month, Moore called this recruiting class easily the best of his career. And he’s not wrong. This is the kind of recruiting class which can help the Bald Eagles sustain the level of success they’ve enjoyed over the last three seasons.

And while maintaining that level of success is important, Moore and his coaching staff want to improve on it. Two years ago in Pittsburgh, Lock Haven put half its lineup into the Round of 16 at the national tournament and finished the weekend with a pair of All-Americans. The needs to be the norm, not an anomaly. And this class is a way to make that happen.

In years past, just getting a national letter of intent from one of the top wrestlers on this recruiting list would be cause for excitement. To have the 13 names on this list coming together at one time puts Lock Haven among some of the best recruiting classes in the country.

Willie Saylor ranked Lock Haven’s recruiting class as the 23rd-best in the country, and that was before the Bald Eagles added Penn State transfer Jack Davis late in the process. A former two-time Prep National champion, Davis has yet to compete in a varsity match at Penn State. He did go 4-4 as a redshirt freshman during the 2018-2019 season.

“This group is very determined to build upon their prior success and establish a championship culture,” Moore said in a press release Tuesday. “It is by far the best recruiting class in my tenure as head coach.”

The group of wrestlers which just graduated from Lock Haven in the last two seasons will go down as the one which revived the Bald Eagles’ program. It produced two All-Americans (Shoop and Chance Marsteller). It produced multi-time NCAA qualifiers in Fehlman, Corey Hazel, Alex Klucker and Thomas Haines, as well as the school’s first MAC champion Jared Siegrist.

But more importantly, Moore and his staff proved they can win with any type of wrestler. They helped take a blue-chip recruit in Marsteller and twice have him finish on the podium at nationals. It’s taken a wrestler like Ronnie Perry, who was a one-time PIAA placewinner, and helped him reach the national finals. It’s taken a minimal scholarship recruit like Shoop and put him among the best top wrestlers in the country.

And it’s those successes which have made Lock Haven a destination for wrestlers of all ability levels. Tyler Stoltzfus was the No. 2-ranked 170-pounder in the country this year and kept winning tournament after tournament in maybe the country’s deepest weight class. His dominant top game will fit in perfectly at Lock Haven.

Both Sage Serbenta and Tanner Updegraff are well thought of wrestlers who missed their seasons because of injuries. And if they live up to the potential their junior seasons produced, they could both be massive under-the-radar gets for Moore and staff. DaShawn Farber was a two-time Georgia state champion before transferring to Nazareth where he was a Class AAA finalist and two-time placewinner.

This recruiting class features names from all walks of life and from all levels of success. But the one thing they have in common is a level of success at some of the highest levels. And that’s exactly the kind of class the Bald Eagles needed to replace the group which is leaving.

The dominoes have fallen for Lock Haven in an unsurprising manner. Moore brought in a class of wrestlers which helped bring success to the program. In turn, donations to the program have allowed the Bald Eagles to up their scholarship equivalencies four about four when Moore arrive to nearly nine this past season. The University has also made a commitment to Moore and his coaching staff to make sure they’re able to stay and continue to build on the success they’ve had.

Lock Haven and its coaching staff has set itself up to continue its run of success. There’s still a lot more work to be done. But in a moment where it was so important to find the building blocks of improvement, Moore and his staff succeeded beyond expectations.

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