Ah, Lock Haven. You can shoot a deer out of a moving car while drinking a beer, and get a high-five for your efforts. Listen closely, and you can hear the banjos. Rustic? Yes. Haven? Not sure how the town earned that moniker.
This weekend Lock Haven travels to State College to wrestle Penn State for supremacy of both Centre and
Lycoming Clinton Counties. Lock Haven doesn't have much, but as is the norm in this area of the state, they do have a wrestling program. It's a proud and distinguished program, by the way. And if the LHU Eagles were wrestling Jersey Shore or Lewisburg, they'd put a serious whoopin' on 'em.
But they'll be facing the country's top ranked team, Penn State - a pride of Lions that just finished chewing on Indiana's bones, 52 - 0. Let's preview the matchups.
SO Bobby Rehm (Penn Manor) - Bobby's a pretty good wrestler, and likely falls just outside the top 30 rankings. He's 12-4 on the season, with 1 fall and 7 other bonus point wins - so expect some action in this match. None of his four losses have come against top competition, though. So expect that action to be #2 Nico starting the match with a tech fall.
PSU 5 - LHU 0
Lock Haven hasn't settled 133 yet, running out both SO Cody Wheeler and FR Matt Bryer in recent duals. Wheeler's a former PIAA place winner from Towanda (might have been a champ?). And like Lock Haven, PSU hasn't settled this weight either. SO Jordan Conaway is fresh off a fall over his Indiana appetizer, while JR Frank Martellotti finished 3rd at the recent NLO - where both Conaway and Wheeler failed to place. I'm guessing Frankie takes the mat this week (unless he's redshirting), and puts up a decision over Wheeler.
PSU 8 - LHU 0
141 LBS - Match Of The Week
RS FR Dan Neff (Solanco) has spent time in the Top 20 at this weight, and started the season on fire with a pin of PSU's Derek Reber, two tech falls, and a 4-2 decision over Cornell's #10 Mike Nevinger. But Dan's dropped a few matches recently, and didn't fare all that well at the NLO. Of course, neither did his opponent in this matchup, SR Bryan Pearsall. An early season victory over Neff will help Pearsall's chances at making the NCAA's, should he fail to get an automatic qualifier again. But this will be a tough one that could go either way. Home crowd? Home crowd.
PSU 11 - LHU 0
JR Mac Maldarelli (Merrick, NY) is a transfer from Nassau CC, and he's 8-5 on the season. He's been majored by #3 Donnie Vinson and #16 David Habat. This week he faces pinning machine #5 Andrew Alton. After another first period pin against Indiana - actual match time, 32 seconds - Andrew was asked if he's sacrificing his conditioning by never going 7 minutes. (d.u.m.) His answer (paraphrased): yes, I'd like to get a few more takedowns and mat work that way, but the (Indiana) kid pinned himself, so I just went with it. Kinda funny how nearly everyone Andrew faces pins himself in the first period. I'm thinking Maldarelli will be no different.
PSU 17 - LHU 0
JR Jake Kemerer (Hempfield) was a 5* recruit and 2-time PIAA champ. He chose Oklahoma, made it to campus and then changed his mind to Penn State after Cael was announced as coach. He redshirted his first year at Penn State, beating NCAA runner-up Dan Valimont (almost wrote Vecellio there) in the Blue-White wrestle-off, and generally winning a lot that season unattached. Something like 17-2. He bumped up to 165 as a RS Freshman for the Lions, and, after beating eventual NCAA runner-up Brandon Hatchett of Lehigh in sudden victory at a home dual, he hit a rough patch and appeared to lose his confidence. Then his 'coach-ability' was questioned. Then he lost his spot in the lineup to Jimmy Vollrath, who wrestled up a weight and finished 7th at BigTens to help the Lions win their first BigTen title. Jake transferred to LHU and wrestled just 15 matches last season. This year, he's 14-6 with a 1-3 loss to his opponent in this matchup, #5 Dylan Alton.
PSU 20 - LHU 0
Halftime. Stretch your legs. Crack a fart that makes your dog leave the room. Eat more nachos and drink more beer, and enjoy watching guys that have to starve and workout constantly to maintain weight. Makes you smile, doesn't it?
Aaron McKinney is a freshman from West Allegheny with a 6-6 record in his first year of college. He faces #2 David Taylor, who's lost 1 official match in 3 years.
PSU 26 - LHU 0
SO Zach Heffner (Boyertown) is a tough kid. That's a good thing, as he takes on #3 Matt Brown who's known for his gorilla strength and propensity for pulling on your head until it pops off.
PSU 30 - LHU 0
FR Joe Rimel (Frederick, MD) faces #1 Ed Ruth, who is looking like he wants the Hodge Trophy this year. Welcome to college, Joe Rimel.
PSU 36 - LHU 0
FR Phil Sprenkle (Dallastown) faces #3 Quentin Wright, a 3-time All American and 1-time National Champ. I kinda wonder if Cael doesn't run someone else out there instead of Quentin at this stage of the match. He'll have been staring at Brad Pataky and Scott Moore in the LHU assistant coaches chairs the whole match. And it's not like LHU is going to make a miraculous comeback, or that a victory over Phil Sprenkle will help Q's chances of making the national tournament.
PSU 42 - LHU 0
SR Harry Turner (Howell, NJ) entered the season 32 wins shy of 100 career victories. Jon Gingrich took the last start, so I guess this week we'll see #15 Jimmy Lawson, who probably beat Turner at states in high school, seeing as how Lawson won 3 state titles.
PSU 45 - LHU 0
/looks back over the rundown.
Well, that's another shutout. No, shutouts are not common. No, this Lock Haven team isn't horrible. Yes, this Penn State team is pretty good. Head Coach Robbie Waller - and former Penn Staters Scott Moore and Brad Pataky - are turning the LHU program around, and getting the Eagles back on their feet after some down years. It just doesn't look like it this week.
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