William Penn 2013-2014 Wrestling Preview
2013-2014 Wrestling Preview
2012-2013 dual record: 0-3
2012-2013 Central Qualifier finish: 7th
2012-2013 NAIA Nationals finish: 22nd
Letterwinners returning/lost: 21/10
Kyle Soderblom, Jr., Newton, Iowa
(All-American, 27-12, 11 falls)
Joao Vicente, So., East Providence, R.I.
(National qualifier, 31-7, nine falls)
Ishmael Rempson, Jr., Olympia Fields, Ill.
(17-18, five falls)
Nathan Veverka, Sr., Montezuma, Iowa
(13-12, nine falls)
Andrew Gorman, Fr., Madison Heights, Mich.
Logan Loftus, Fr., Marengo, Iowa
Skip Conner, Fr., Madison Heights, Mich.
The deepest squad in recent history is expected to yield great results as the William Penn wrestling team hits the mat for the 2013-2014 season.
A new qualifying format limited the number of individuals that made it to the NAIA National Championships, and the Statesmen were hit especially hard with just two grapplers advancing. Behind an All-American performance by Kyle Soderblom (Jr., Newton, Iowa, Biology), William Penn still finished 22nd at the national meet. Soderblom and fellow national qualifier Joao Vicente (So., East Providence, R.I., Physical Education) return to bolster a squad that is one year older and wiser.
“I think we did better than we expected last year, considering we had so many young guys in the lineup,” Head Coach Eric Reed said. “The young guys all stepped up, highlighted by Kyle being an All-American and Joao having such a strong year.”
“A lot of our wrestlers developed quicker and better than expected and have continued that into this year,” Reed added. “We have a really good group coming in and we are looking forward to getting them on the mat. More important than that, though, was that we had young guys be leaders during the offseason and push everyone to get better.”
Some recent attrition has thinned the sport’s lowest weight, but Reed is still pleased with what William Penn has at 125 pounds.
2012-2013 redshirts Andrew Gorman (Fr., Madison Heights, Mich., Business Management) and Jordan Jinkerson (Fr., Eureka, Mo., Secondary Education) headline the class, with Gorman holding the current edge.
“Although we lost a few individuals before the year started, we still feel good at 125 pounds,” Reed said. “Andrew was always in the mix at the top and Jordan has improved greatly since last year.”
Vicente leads a very talented crew at 133 pounds. The sophomore had a tremendous freshman campaign by going 31-7 overall and being ranked as high as third nationally.
“Joao was everything we could have asked for in a freshman and we expect another big year from him as a sophomore,” Reed said.
Adam Habeil (So., Mulberry, Mich., Physical Education), a redshirt from last year, and newcomer Scottie Bonds (Fr., Chicago, Ill., Physical Education) will push Vicente. Reed believes the Statesmen have two possible All-Americans at 133 pounds.
“Adam transferred at semester last year so we know we will get great things from him,” Reed said. “Scottie is going to be in there as well. These three are so strong that we might be able to move one of them up to 141 pounds for duel meets.”
Brad Watson (So., Rolla, Mo., Physical Education) was the varsity starter for WPU last year at 141 pounds and will likely have the edge early on, but newcomer Logan Loftus (Fr., Marengo, Iowa, Industrial Technology) figures to give his teammate quite a battle once his feet get wet in the collegiate wrestling waters.
Watson was 12-14 with five falls as a freshman.
“Brad has the experience right now,” Reed said. “He had a good freshman year and he will be able to build on that, but Logan was a state champion in high school and will push him every bit of the way.”
Reed always sees fellow returner Marshawn Lacy (Jr., Chicago Heights, Ill., Computer Science) competing for the slot. Lacy finished his sophomore campaign at 10-15 (three falls.)
Reed has a good problem on his hands at 149 pounds as there might be too much depth. At least three individuals–all returners–figure to challenge to be the top grappler.
Jay Fresh (So., Knoxville, Iowa, Sociology) has bulked up and moved up two weights classes, while Lane Colwell (So., Knoxville, Iowa, Computer Science) was a solid option last winter as well. Jason Mozley (Sr., Arlington, Texas, Biology), who redshirted last season, may be in there as well if he can get healthy.
Fresh was 7-14 last year (four falls), while Colwell owned a 13-18 mark (seven falls).
Carey Cloud (Jr., Havelock, N.C., Physical Education) may have been at the top of the proverbial mountain, but re-injured his knee in preseason practice. Cloud was 7-2 (two falls) last season before suffering the injury for the first time.
“Any of the individuals who are competing for our starting position are really qualified and have the ability to reach nationals,” Reed said.
Charlton Benjamin (Jr., Atlanta, Ga., Sociology) and Christian Padilla (Jr., Tampa, Fla., Secondary Education) are back in the Statesmen wrestling room this year and will face off to lead WPU at 157 pounds.
One year ago, Benjamin posted a 14-17 mark (three falls) and Padilla was 12-20 with five falls.
“Both Charlton and Christian have experienced success from past seasons and I look for them to continue to improve this year,” Reed said.
Ishmael Rempson (Jr., Olympia Fields, Ill., Industrial Technology) was right on the doorstep of qualifying for nationals for the second-straight year this past March, so motivation will not be lacking for the junior.
Rempson concluded his sophomore year at 17-18 (five falls).
“Ishmael is really pushing hard to get back to nationals this season and should have a great junior year,” Reed said.
Robert Pohlman (Jr., Tinley Park, Ill., Secondary Education), who was 3-8 a season ago, provides a competent backup to Rempson at 165 pounds.
Joe Sumner (Sr., Delaware, Ohio, Physical Education) steps onto the mat for his senior year and is looking for this to be by far his best year yet. The senior recorded a 10-19 junior campaign, including five falls.
“Joe has been our 174 pounder for three years now and continues to improve,” Reed said. “He has many times shown glimpses of how good he can be and hopefully he can be more consistent in his last collegiate season.”
A healthy Nick Wise (So., Phoenix, Ariz., Biology) will hopefully pose a lot of problems for opposing 184 pounders. He went 6-11 with two falls during an injury-plagued freshman year.
“Some injuries slowed Nick down last year,” Reed said. “He worked hard in the weight room, and with a bit bigger frame, we think he will build upon his solid ending from last year.”
Soderblom’s move from 184 pounds to 197 pounds last year was inspired. He finished his year at 27-12 (11 falls) and with an eighth-place finish at nationals, but will look for more as a junior, including being in the title discussion this year.
“Now that Kyle has found the right weight class, I have no doubt he will be right there to be an All-American again, but really a national title is very realistic as well,” Reed said.
Experience will put Nathan Veverka (Sr., Montezuma, Iowa, Industrial Technology) in the early lead at heavyweight, but redshirt freshman Skip Conner (Madison Heights, Mich., Sociology & Human Services) will not make it easy for the veteran to hold the starting position.
Veverka’s junior season included a 13-12 record (nine falls).
“Nate came on really strong at the end of last year, but unfortunately did not wrestle his best at the qualifying tournament,” Reed said. “He has been motivated by that showing since last March. Skip wrestled well in a few unattached tournaments and he and Nate have been tight throughout the preseason. No matter how this turns out, we will be in a good position at heavyweight.”
William Penn’s schedule will have a fairly familiar look to it with the team opening its season at the NIACC Open on November 2. The one big change will come early as WPU travels north for the Luther Invitational on November 16. The event has a freshman division, so Reed will have a chance to get his youngest grapplers into action right away.
“The Luther tourney is a solid event and it will be good to help ease our young guys into college wrestling.”
Last year’s revised qualifying standards made for a more impressive national championship as Qualifying Group tournaments are now the only way to reach The Big Dance. A top-four finish at each weight guarantees a spot at nationals, while some select top grapplers may also qualify as a wild card.
Two-time defending national champion Grand View again tops the heap, both in the Central Qualifying Group and in the NAIA.
“Our qualifying group is the same as last year with very few surprises,” Reed said. “Grand View is expected to lead the way with Missouri Valley, Oklahoma City, and maybe Baker behind them.”
“As the year progresses and our young guys develop, I definitely think we can be in the top two or three in the qualifying group.”
“This is the best depth we have ever had in my tenure,” Reed added. “It will be a challenge, but a good one to have, to figure out where individuals should wrestle so we can get as many guys ranked and hopefully qualified for nationals as possible.”
“As compared to past years, we have a lot of returners who have good experience so I expect them to lead us to a much improved season,” Reed concluded.