PA College Wrestling Round-up

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Penn State’s Bryan Pearsall defeats West Virginia’s Nathan Pennesi

The 2012-2013 College Wrestling Season has begun and there are already some big stories coming from former PA Wrestling stars. The biggest includes Oklahoma State’s Jordan Oliver (Easton Area) who is up two weight classes from last season competing at 149 lbs. in his senior season. Oliver, wh0 has medaled at the NCAA Tournament  in all three of his seasons at 133 lbs., faired well thus far as he won the Joe Parisi Lindenwood Open Tournament at 149 lbs. last weekend. Oliver recorded four pins, a major decision, and topped #15 Drake Houdashelt (Missouri) by a score of (12-4) in the finals. The former 3x PIAA State Champion has finished Fourth, First, and Second at the NCAA Tournament in his three seasons at Oklahoma State.

The early season surprise as been former Cumberland Valley PIAA State Champion Joey Napoli at Lehigh. The junior has been red hot at 157 lbs. including a major victory over a familiar opponent. After winning a PIAA State Championship at 145 lbs. his junior year at Cumberland Valley, Joey returned to 145 lbs. his senior season and went undefeated at (45-0) heading into the PIAA State finals. In the finals Napoli faced Central Mountain junior Dylan Alton also a returning PIAA State Champion; Alton won the 135 lbs. Championship his sophomore year. In the 2009 finals Alton defeated Napoli by a score of (6-3) en route to his second straight PIAA State Champion. Earlier this month Lehigh faced Penn State in a dual meet and the two squared off three years later at 157 lbs. Alton, a redshirt sophomore and NCAA All-American came into the bout ranked #2 in the Nation at 157 lbs. as Napoli, a redshirt junior came in ranked #13. While it wasn’t for a PIAA State Championship, Napoli was able to earn an upset victory over Alton with a (5-2) victory, and an impressive win that I can imagine felt good for the Mountain Hawk. If that wasn’t enough for Napoli, the following week he faced #7 ranked Frank Hickman from Bloomsburg in a dual meet and once again #13 Napoli earned an upset victory, this time by a score of (6-0). In updated rankings Intermat has moved Napoli up to the #4 spot at 157 lbs.

At the Keystone Classic in Philadelphia true-freshman Devon Lotito of Cal Poly, a PIAA State Medalist last season at Bethlehem Liberty, scored an upset victory at 133 lbs. In the finals at 133 lbs. Lotito defeated #10 ranked Levi Mele of Northwestern by a score of (4-2) in an impressive victory for the true-freshman.

At the East Stroudsburg Open Tournament Lehigh’s sophomore and former 2x PIAA State Champion Mason Beckman (Reynolds) defeated former PIAA 4x State Champion Jimmy Gulibon (Derry Area) for the second time this season. Competing at 133 lbs. Beckman, a NCAA Tournament Qualifier last season at 133 lbs., majored Gulibon by a score of (9-1). At the Binghamton Open a week prior, Beckman defeated Gulibon in the quarter-finals at 133 lbs. by a score of (5-2). Beckman went on to win the Championship at 133 lbs. as Gulibon took third place. Gulibon is a true freshman this season for Penn State where he will be taking a redshirt season. Beckman will also be redshirting this season.

Staying on Penn State, several former PA wrestlers have showed early season success for the Nittany Lion wrestling team. Both Bryan Pearsall (Warwick) and James English (Central York) have won their first two dual meet bouts as English is filling in for Andrew Alton at 149 lbs. English defeated Lehigh’s #18 ranked Shane Welsh by a score of (5-2) and Pearsall downed West Virginia’s #19 Nathan Pennesi (Greater Latrobe) by a score of (2-0). In the West Virginia vs. Penn State dual meet Dylan Alton (Central Mountain) defeated former PIAA Sate runner-up Jason Luster (Pittsburgh Central Catholic) when he scored a takedown to his back and recorded the fall in (2:28). Penn State’s reserve redshirt junior James Vollrath (Council Rock South) a former PIAA State Medalist claimed the East Stroudsburg Open Title at 157 lbs. while wrestling unattached. Vollrath defeated three former PA wrestlers en route to the title including victories over Drexel’s Austin Sommer (Northampton Area) by a score of (10-2), over East Stroudsburg’s Braden Turner (Northampton Area) by a score of (9-3), and over Bloomsburg’s Bryce Busler (Cumberland Valley) by a score of (5-3) in the finals at 157 lbs.

Returning to the mat this season is former PIAA State Champion Ziad Haddad (Bethlehem Catholic) who was a Division I NCAA Tournament qualifier for North Carolina in 2010. Now at Kutztown the redshirt sophomore heavyweight won the East Stroudsburg Open title at 285 lbs. and is undefeated at (5-0) so far this season.


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