Clarion Wrestlers Travel to Kutztown Saturday for PSAC Wrestling Championships

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Published December 6, 2012 5:30 am
Clarion Wrestlers Travel to Kutztown Saturday for PSAC Wrestling Championships

 title=KUTZTOWN, Pa. – Ten PSAC (Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference) teams and 100 athletes will travel to Kutztown on Saturday, December 8, searching for PSAC “Gold” at the 70th Annual Wrestling Championships.

Action gets underway at 9:00am Saturday, at the Keystone Arena, with two rounds of championship matches and two rounds of consolation bouts.

The championship finals, which will include matches for third and fifth place, will begin at 6:00pm.

All Session passes for adults ($12) and students ($3), as well as individual session tickets for adults ($7) and students ($2) will be available at the door. Free admission for all college students from member institutions with a valid ID.

A championship steeped in great tradition, the 70th PSAC Championship will feature the return of
6 individual PSAC champions from last year’s PSAC Championship and a total of 10 former PSAC champions in the field.

Defending champion Edinboro is the pre-tournament favorite, given the fact that the Fighting Scots have 5 top 20 ranked wrestlers in the latest Division I rankings and Edinboro is ranked 19th in the latest NWCA Coaches Poll.

2010 champion Clarion, along with 2005 champion Bloomsburg should be in the mix, along with Lock Haven to place in the top 4 teams in team scoring.

Edinboro has won 12 of the last 14 PSAC team titles including 2011, 2009, 2008, 2007 (Dec.), 2007 (Jan.), 2006, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2000, 1999 and 1998. Defending Champion Clarion (2010) won three team titles in the 1990’s (1994, 92, 91) and has 14 PSAC titles to its credit. Bloomsburg won the team title in 2005 and Lock Haven won the team crown in 2001.

In the history of the PSAC’s Lock Haven leads with 19 team titles, Clarion, Bloomsburg and Edinboro have 14 each, East Stroudsburg and Millersville 2 each. West Chester won 3 team crowns and Slippery Rock one, but both schools no longer have wrestling. Gannon and Mercyhurst will be competing for the fourth time since joining PSAC.

Mercyhurst hosted the 2011 PSAC championships won by Edinboro. The Fighting Scots scored 163.5 points, Bloomsburg was second with 150, Clarion third with 124, Lock Haven fourth at 82 and Merychurst fifth with 66.5 points. Rounding out the field were sixth place E. Stroudsburg at 64, Gannon seventh with 60, Kutztown eighth with 40.5, Millersville ninth at 24.5 and Shippensburg tenth with 17.5 points.

Bloomsburg hosted the 2010 PSAC title that was won by Clarion for the first time since 1994. The Golden Eagles scored 135.5 points, Bloomsburg was second with 110.5, Edinboro third at 109, Lock Haven fourth with 93 and Gannon fifth with 54.5 points. Rounding out the ten team field were sixth place Millersville with 53.5 points, Mercyhurst seventh with 52.5, East Stroudsburg eighth with 48, Shippensburg ninth with 41 and Kutztown tenth with 35 points.

In 2009 at Edinboro, the Scots won the team title with Edinboro scoring 142.5, Bloomsburg second with 134.5, Clarion third with 110, Lock Haven fourth at 99.5, Gannon fifth with 62, E. Stroudsburg sixth with 49.5, Kutztown seventh with 48 points, Mercyhurst eighth at 47.5, Millersville ninth with 43.5 and Shippensburg tenth at 40.

Mercyhurst hosted the 2008 Championship and Edinboro won the team title with 173.5 points, Bloomsburg was second with 108, Clarion third at 101, Lock Haven fourth with 90.5, Mercyhurst fifth with 60, Gannon sixth at 59, E. Stroudsburg seventh with 54, Kutztown eighth with 46, Shippensburg ninth at 29.5 and Millersville tenth with 23 points.

In December of 2007 Clarion hosted the PSAC Championship and Edinboro won the team title with 152.5 points, with Bloomsburg second at 118.5 and Clarion third with 88.5. Rounding out the 8 team field was Lock Haven fourth with 76 points, Shippensburg fifth at 62, Millersville sixth with 51.5, East Stroudsburg seventh at 46 and Kutztown eighth with 34 points.

In January of 2007 at Bloomsburg’s Nelson Field House, Edinboro won the team title with 147.5 points, Bloomsburg was second with 119, Lock Haven third with 111.5, Clarion fourth at 79, East Stroudsburg fifth with 57, Millersville sixth with 44.5, Kutztown seventh at 43.5 and Shippensburg eighth with 23 points.

The Fighting Scots, under 16th year head coach Tim Flynn, enter the tournament ranked 19th in the latest NWCA Coaches Poll and have a dual meet record of 1-1 with a win over Michigan state and a loss to Virginia Tech. The Scots are led by #4 ranked A.J. Schopp at 133, #4 ranked Mitchell Port at 141, #15 ranked David Habat at 149, #13 John Greisheimer at 165 and # 15 rated Ernest James at heavyweight.

Bloomsburg, led by eighth year head coach John Stutzman, has an impressive 6-1 dual meet record this season. The Huskies have defeated Arizona state, Utah Valley state, Campbell, Hofstra, Princeton and Drexel with their only loss to Lehigh. Top wrestlers include #19 Nick Wilcox at 133, #20 Josh Roosa at 149, #7 rated Frank Hickman at 157 and #15 ranked Richard Perry at 197 and #19 Justin Grant at heavyweight.

Clarion, under first year head coach Troy Letters, who was an assistant last season, enters the PSAC’s with a dual met record of 1-1. The Golden Eagles lost to Rutgers and defeated Eastern Michigan. The Golden Eagles feature senior James Fleming (West Mifflin), who is ranked third in the nation at 157.

Clarion’s lineup for the PSAC’s will likely be: Tyler Fraley (1-1; Fr. E. Freehold, N.J.) at 125; Joe Waltko (5-5; Sr. Allison Park) at 133; John Matacic (7-4; Fr. N. Jackson, Oh.) and Sam Sherlock (7-5; So. West Mifflin) at 141; Tyler Bedelyon (5-5; Jr. Lewistown) at 149; #3 James Fleming (12-0) at 157; Nick Milano (0-4; Jr. Erie) at 165; Ryan Darch (2-4; So. Batavia, N.Y.) at 174; Steven Cressley (2-6; Sr. Punxsutawney) at 184; Justin Ortega (8-4; Sr. Oxford) at 197 and Phil Catrucco (9-5; Sr. Sharpsville) at heavyweight.
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Here’s a weight by weight look at the PSAC’s — (Ranked wrestlers with highest ranking according to either AWN or Intermat — records in parenthesis):

125: Defending champion Robert Rehm (9-4) of Lock Haven and Bloomsburg’s Sean Boylan (7-5), a runner-up in 2011 and 2010, are the favorites to make the final. Rehm defeated Boylan 5-3 in last year’s finals. Edinboro’s Kory Mines (6-4) was third here a year ago and will challenge. Gannon’s Matt Turek (9-1) was 6th here a year ago. Others expecting to challenge for places include Clarion’s Tyler Fraley (1-1), Mercyhurst’s Willie Bohince (11-4) and Shipp’s Chris Kochinsky (3-1). Kochinsky was a D-II All-American in 2011 (4th).

133: This weight class looks to be shaping up as a battle between #4 Edinboro’s A.J. Schopp (6-0) and Bloom’s #19 Nick Wilcox (8-2). Schopp is the defending champion defeating Wilcox by tech. fall (18-2) in the finals in 2011. Wilcox was the champion here in 2010. Clarion’s Joe Waltko (5-5) was third here last year and second to Wilcox in 2010. Also looking to place will be Lock Haven’s Matt Bryer (12-9), Millersville’s Kyle Loeb (5-5), Mercyhurst’s Dylan D’Urso (8-1) who is ranked #2 in the region in d-2 and Cameron Throckmorton (3-1) of Shippensburg who is a transfer from UNC and ranked #1 in the region in d-2.

141: Edinboro’s #4 Mitchell Port (6-1) is the defending champion and heavy favorite to win here. Hoping to challenge is Kutztown’s Evan Yenelovich (4-3), who won the PSAC title in 2010 in an Edinboro singlet at 125-pounds, and was 5th at 133 last year for Kutztown. Looking to place high will be Clarion’s John Matacic (7-4), LH’s Dan Neff (9-3), Gannon’s Adam Weinell (7-2), Mercyhurst’s Nick Hannan (4-3), Shipp’s Tyler Erdman (2-2) and Joe Hoy of E. Stroudsburg. Erdman was a 2-time D-3 All-American at Elizabethtown and Hoy is a transfer from N.C. State.

149: Edinboro’s defending champion #15 David Habat (7-3) and Bloomsburg’s #19 Josh Roosa (10-2), along with Clarion’s Tyler Bedelyon (5-5) are bets to make the finals. Roosa was 2nd at 149 in 2009, while Bedelyon was second at 141 a year ago. LH’s Mac Maldanelli (6-3), Mercyhurst’s Michael Griffith (8-3), and Kutztown’s Mitch Voelker (2-4) will look to place. Voelker finished 6th at 141 in 2011 and 2010. Millersville’s Josh Ruppert (4-3) is also capable.

157: By far the most talented weight class in the PSAC’s features Clarion’s #3 James Fleming (12-0), Bloomsburg’s #7 Frank Hickman (9-2) and Lock Haven’s Jake Kemerer (12-5). Fleming finished 5th at D-1 nationals last year and was the champion at 157 in 2010, 2nd in 2011 and 4th at 149 in 2009. Hickman is the defending champion, having defeated Fleming 6-1 in last year’s finals. Hickman was 3rd here in 2010 and the champion at 149-pounds in 2009. Kemerer was third at the Nittany Lion Open last week. Also looking to place high will be E. Stroudsburg’s Braden Turner (5-2) who was 4th at PSAC’s last year and a 2012 D-2 All-American (6th). Also very talented are Mercyhurst’s Tyler Berger (5-1), Shipp’s Neal Grudi (2-1) and Gannon’s Sean Floor (5-2).

165: Edinboro’s #13 John Greisheimer (7-3) leads the field at 165 – with two-time champion and all-American Bekzod Abdurakhmonov (Clarion) having graduated. Greisheimer red-shirted a year ago and placed second at 157 in 2010. Bloomsburg’s Josh Veltre (11-5) was second in 2010 at 165, losing a 2-1 match in the finals to Abdurakhmonov. Mercyhurst’s Clint Schaeffer (8-1), ranked #2 in the region in d-2, Clarion’s Nick Milano (0-4), LH’s Aaron McKinney (15-9), and Millersville’s Austin Wenzlaff (2-0) all will battle to place.

174: This is the most wide-open weight class in the field in 2012. Edinboro’s Patrick Jennings (8-6), LH’s Zach Heffner (5-4), Clarion’s Ryan Darch (2-4), Bloom’s Chris Smith (3-6), Kutztown’s Rick Pena (2-3), Shipp’s tim Etter (2-0) and Mercyhurst’s Grant Chase (5-7) could all make it to the finals. Darch was 4th here last year, Heffner was 4th at EWL’s in 2012, Etter is ranked 6th in the region, and Pena was 4th at 165 in 2010.

184: Also a wide-open weight class, the highest returning PSAC finisher is Clarion’s Steven Cressley (2-6) who was second a year ago and is a D-I National Qualifier. Cressley was 3rd in 2010 and 6th at 174 in 2009. Bloom will have either Sam Shirey (5th in 2011) or Andre Petroski (6-5), Edinboro has Vince Pickett (6-5), LH’s Freed Garcia (7-6), Gannon’s Keith Stoerr (2-2) and Kutztown’s Giovanni Ortiz (1-3) are all capable of the finals. Stoerr was 6th at 174 in 2011 and Ortiz a D-2 national qualifier. Also looking to place are Millersville’s Dan Cox (5-4), Mercyhurst’s Eric Lundgren (5-5) and E. Stroudsburg’s Luke DeLuise (3-3).

197: Gone from this weight class are 3-time champion and 2012 NCAA runner-up Chris Honeycutt (Edinboro) and 2-time champion and 2010 OW Alex Thomas (Clarion). The door is wide open for Bloomsburg’s #19 Richard Perry (11-1) to take the title after finishing third in 2011. Clarion’s Justin Ortega (8-4), a transfer from Penn State, could get to the finals along with Edinboro’s Warren Busch (6-3), Kutztown’s Vinny Campanile (8-2), who was 5th here last year and ESU’s Tyson Searer (4-2). Also looking to place are LH’s Phil Spremkle (3-6), Millersville’s Joel Sutter (5-4) and Gannon’s Kris Rahn (5-4).

285: Heavyweight will be an extremely competitive weight class this year with Edinboro’s #15 Ernest James (6-2) back as the defending champion, who also was second in 2010, and Bloomsburg’s #19 Justin Grant (8-0). Grant was a U.S. Olympic Trials qualifier in 2012. Also back is 2010 PSAC champion and 2011 runner-up Harry Turner (10-4) of Lock Haven. Turner lost to James by fall in the finals last year, but decisioned James 7-3 in the finals in 2010. Clarion’s Phil Catrucco (9-5) is hoping to place high, while Kutztown’s Ziad Haddad (7-0) is undefeated this year, while Mercyhurst’s Brad Ladd (4-2) and Joe Blades (1-1) of ESU are capable.

CLARION NOTES: Clarion goes to the PSAC’s with 112 individual champions in its history…The Eagles were third in 2011, 2009, 2008 and third in 2007… Clarion was also 2nd in 1996 and 95 … Clarion won three team titles in the 90’s – 1991, 92 and 1994.