It's been an exciting couple of weeks in the wrestling world since Penn State last wrestled. Aaron Anspach finished 3rd at Midlands which honestly is disappointing, I thought he would do much better, against today's crappy heavyweights, although his only loss came to the eventual champion.
The wrestling world got some bad news shortly after christmas. Some people may have seen or heard of Adam Frey a PA kid who wrestled for Cornell and was diagnosed with cancer. For those of you not familiar with the story Adam was a sophomore wrestler for Cornell in 2008 when he was in a car accident. At the hospital they did a routine scan for internal injuries, the luckily found none, but unfortunately did several tumors. Since then he has been battling cancer, and writing about his struggles regularly at www.adamfrey.us He had been improving slightly the past few months, but was admitted to the hospital shortly before christmas with difficulty breathing. He passed away on Saturday the 26th, at the age of 23. It's a story that hit the wrestling world pretty hard, and work is already underway for wrestlers to wear decals on their head gear or find some other way to honor Adam. I definitely recommend his blog, while it's certainly not an uplifting read it's important to remember for every Lance Armstrong there is Adam Frey who doesn't win the fight.
Returning NCAA champ Jordan Burroughs of Nebraska went down with a knee injury, which is unfortunate as he probably would have easily won the title this year. In sign of sheer toughness or pure stupidity, he managed to finish his match for a 3 2 loss despite having torn several ligaments in his knee. But that injury is fortuitous to Penn State as now Cyler Sanderson has a legitimate shot a the title at 157.
At 165 returning champ Jarrod King was handed his first loss by Bermudian Springs alum Rick Schmelyun at the Southern Scuffle. It was a dominating 15 2 performance by Schmelyun who then lost to Schlatter in the finals. I don't know what this really says for Vallimont his near wins against King certainly now seem less impressive. However it does prove the point this weight class is wide open this year, and I still believe Dan can take it with a good tournament at the NCAAs.
And finally the news came this week that Bubba Jenkins will not be with the Penn State wrestling team next semester. It was somewhat of a cryptic announcement by Cael Sanderson who told the collegian that he isn't ruling out a return in the future. But it looks like the Bubba Jenkins Penn St days are over. I think he'll do very well with what ever program he ends up at. I hope he does well and makes the Penn State faithful regret the lack of respect shown to him when he was here. People seem to forget last year before injuring his ankle he looked like an absolute world beater, but in struggling to return from that injury, he was deemed lazy by the masses. To this day I still don't understand that anyone that watched him wrestle after the injury could clearly tell he was still hurting. He'll leave Penn State an NCAA runner up and a Junior World Champion, by far the most accomplished wrestler on the Penn State roster. A fact that seems to be lost on the fan base that seemed to run him out of town for Molinaro and David Taylor. As it is he becomes just another big name recruit to leave the program under disappointing terms. From his recruiting class alone, of which Bubba was one of the top recruits in the country, Penn State has lost Dave Rella to Ohio state, Garrett Scott, and Josh Rohler. Bubba will also now join the list of Storniolo and Kolat of top wrestlers to leave the program. And who can forget that most of this red shirting controversy around Jenkins is due to the fact that he was forced to wrestle his freshman year when another former top recruit Nathan Galloway transferred to Rider.
As for where he goes from here, he's a Virginia native and I could see him landing in an ACC school. Maryland jumps out at me I'm not sure why. But I think the true dark horse could be NC State, he's friends with Darion Caldwell and they would make one of the top middle weight combos in the country next year at 149 and 157. I don't like in the article that Cael says they'll only release him to a school they feel comfortable with. If you want to say you're against holding guys out, man up and give him a full release don't play games.
Here's the centre Daily Times article on the story. http://www.centredaily.com/sports/story/1704017.html
In other news as you can read at the end of the article Luke Macchiaroli, guess I won't have to worry about spelling his name for four years after all, who was a good recruit in last years class, is transferring to Arizona State to be closer to home. Can't really fault a kid for deciding he's homesick, especially when it was becoming quickly apparent he was getting squeezed out of the roster with Quentin Wright moving up and Wade entrenched at heavyweight for better or worse. This does free up some more scholarship money for Cael to play with, the could use a good heavyweight and another lightweight to bolster and already top 10 class.
As always the collegian had a good handle on the story:
"In Jenkins' case, No. 2 Cyler Sanderson held the 157-pound spot and undefeated No. 6 Frank Molinaro has a firm grip on the 149-pound spot this year and two years after. With Jenkins leaving, room is made for redshirting freshman David Taylor to start four years at 157 pounds."
"In a deep Lion roster, Macchiaroli would have most likely been relegated to a future bench position, and Jenkins also could have joined him there."
Disregard the fact that Jenkins probably would be top 5, if not top 3, if he was ranked at 149 or 157. Ah nothing like the usual fantastic deep journalism of the Collegian sports department.
Time for the annual blood bath against "The Neighborhood Rival" as the Lock Haven website describes it. Not much of a rivalry when you're as bad as Lock Haven has been. Of course not sure what you expect when Lock Haven's athletic department seems to spend more time in court, then they spend in actual competition. Lock Haven also comes in this year with a new coach. Their coaching switch was less heralded than Penn State's. Which is to be expected when your old coach was forced out after a wrestler (Landis Wright) blew the whistle on him for breaking multiple NCAA rules. Before leaving Bonomo kicked Wright off the wrestling team, and he has since been barred from the athletic facilities. He's suing the program for the right to compete there again. In what I'm guessing can only really amount to a pride thing, I can't possibly believe he really wants to wrestle there.
As if that wasn't enough, their AD is now suing a bunch of Lock Haven boosters. Needless to say the program is an absolute mess. The writing is on the wall I feel for the wrestling program as it has been for the past few years. I just can't see it last more than a couple more years, baring a major shift in the athletic department. Which will be a sad day in "mat town", it might in the end help Penn State to get this "rivalry" off the schedule it has become a joke and Penn State leads the series 30 - 4. 2 of Lock Haven's wins came in back to back years 2001 and 2002. You could usually at least expect one or two decent matches but that's not even the case anymore.
125 #11 Brad Pataky vs Nick Hyatt Pataky has been in a terrible slump since the Nittany Lion Open, even the matches he wins have been ugly. He managed just a fifth place finish at Reno after coming in as the 2 seed. Luckily for Penn State Billy Ashnault is no longer here or I would probably pick the upset, Hyatt is still a tough wrestler, he could give the struggling pataky a tough test. But I think Pataky gets back on track after a few weeks to refocus. Pataky by maj dec
133 Tyler Saltsman or Bryan Pearsall vs John Trumbetti It's the dynamic duo for Penn State against Trumbetti who is a solid tough but not spectacular wrestler. I have yet to be impressed even in the slightest by Pearsall or Salstman I think Trumbetti takes this comfortably. Trumbetti by dec
141 Colby Pisani vs Owen Wilkinson Pisani has started to come on in recent weeks despite his 6-7 record. I really think he could be turning the corner. This should be an easy win for him and good match to make sure those ribs are healed before the Virginia Duals. Pisani by dec
149 #6 Frank Molinaro vs Brock Parker Molinaro had an interesting tournament at Reno he was down big in the 3rd period of his first match before rallying to a 15 13 overtime win. He then rolled to the finals before beating 7th ranked Jason Chamberlain 3 -1. It was good to Molinaro finally get a shot against a top ten guy at 149. As for this match he'll have no problem with Parker. Molinaro by maj dec
157 #2 Cyler Sanderson vs Seth Creasy Sanderson also picked up a big win at Reno, he's definitely got a shot to win it all this year, I certainly don't see anyone at this weight he can't beat. Of course as open as this weight is he could just as easily finish 7th if he has a bad NCAA tournament. No problems against Creasy. Sanderson by tech fall
165 #8 Dan Vallimont vs Kevin Dufrense Vallimont finished 2nd at reno falling again to returning national champ Jarrod King. Dufrense should provide little challenge this week. It will be interesting to see how Vallimont finishes his career at Penn State. He finished 3rd as a sophomore losing only 3 times all three to extremely talented Mike Poeta (who should have won the title that year). Last year he struggled mightily, and made the move to 65, this year he seems on the verge of breaking out and having a good run at the NCAAs. Vallimont by maj dec
174 Justin Ortega vs Derek Caldwell Ortega has been absolutely terrible the past few weeks, he needs to bounce back in a big way against Caldwell. Ortega by dec.
184 #14 David Erwin vs Jeremie Cook Cook is pretty good wrestler but Erwin has been looking better and better of late. He had a disappointing finish at Reno but I think he'll bounce back strong here. Erwin by dec
197 Clay Steadman vs Harry Turner Steadman returned from his suspension at Reno and did not look good at all going 1 and 2. Turner isn't very good but who knows what to expect from Steadman. Crowell could also make an appearance here, it was made very clear the plan was for him to move up to 97 to challenge Steadman. So I wouldn't be surprised to see him here or in a few matches at the Virginia duals next weekend. Steadman by dec
Hwt #12 Cameron Wade vs Dan Craig Wade returns from his ankle injury against Craig who comes in a with a decent record. All I know about Craig is that he hails from Paw Paw Michigan. I expect a lot of pawing in this match along with a lot of collar ties and not a lot of action. Wade by dec
Final Score Penn State 32 Lock Haven 3
Once again the "Neighborhood Rival" is going to leave Lock Haven after putting on an absolute beat down. If this match is even remotely close it will be an extremely disappointing day for Penn State. But it should provide a good tune up for Penn State before the Virginia duals where they'll likely face some tough competition.
Since this dual won't provide much entertainment be sure to check out Cael Sanderson's blog. In this entry he talks about the "nasty christmas presents" he bought for his family's white elephant. They consisted of an Iowa hat and pack of smokes. http://www.caelsanderson.com/blog/happy-new-year/