William Penn Wrestling Preview

William Penn University Athletics

2010-2011 William Penn Wrestling Preview

2009-2010 dual record: 0-6
2009-2010 Central Qualifier finish: 6th
2009-2010 NAIA Nationals finish: 21st
Starters returning/lost: 5/5
Letterwinners returning/lost: 8/4

Notable returners:
Taylor Louie Sr. 125 West Covina, Calif.
(17-12, three falls)
David Crow Sr. 125 Baumholder, Germany
(17-21, three falls)
Alfredo Velazquez So. 141 Fontana, Calif.
(8-23, four falls)
Chris Diaz Jr. 165 Montrose, Colo.
(18-24, seven falls)

Notable losses:
Matt Chustz
(2010 All-American)
Dustin Howa
(Four-time national qualifier)
Ryan Groom
(Two-time national qualifier)

Notable newcomers:
Eric Burgey Fr. Easton, Pa.
Cody Eaton Jr. Bennington, Kan.
Jason Mozley Fr. Arlington, Texas
Joe Range Fr. Burlington

With nearly three-quarters of the team comprised of freshmen, the Penn wrestling team will rely on youth as it enters the 2010-2011 season.

The Statesmen, coached by Eric Reed, are coming off a season where they were winless in six dual meets, but finished strong with a 21st-place showing at the NAIA National Championships. Matt Chustz highlighted the nationals weekend by taking third at 125 pounds.

Chustz has unfortunately concluded his eligibility, but a very strong and talented recruiting class has been added to join a solid group of returners as Reed is confident this year’s team has made a sizeable move forward.

“The end of last season was a turning point for us and put us in the right direction,” Reed said. “We had some guys wrestle their best at the end of the year. That has always been something we strive for and it finally came about last year.”

“This is a very hard-working group of freshmen,” Reed added. “The big thing we were looking for was kids that have great work ethics who would put in the time and that is what we have this year. They have made great improvements in a short time. We have a young team between the redshirts and freshmen. We should certainly be more solid throughout the lineup than last year and have depth we did not have in the past.”

125

The sport’s lowest weight class will once again be one of Penn’s best as past national qualifiers Taylor Louie (Sr., West Covina, Calif., West Covina HS) and David Crow (Sr., Baumholder, Germany, Baumholder HS) return.

Louie was 17-12 a year ago and was two wins shy of All-American status, while Crow, who was 17-21 as a junior, is dropping a weight to become even more of a force on the mat.

“Taylor and David are two solid seniors,” Reed said. “Both have qualified for nationals before and I look for both of them to make a big push in their final year.”

133

Returner O’Darius Williamson (So., Spartanburg, S.C., Paul M. Dorman HS) will be challenged by Tyler Schneider (Fr., Belleville, Mich., Belleville HS), one of the many freshmen on the roster. Williamson picked up two wins in his initial collegiate campaign.

“O’Darius had quite a bit of mat time last year and is continuing to make good improvements,” Reed said. “Tyler has looked good right away.”

Zach Gordon (Fr., New Sharon, North Mahaska HS) has been away from wrestling for a couple of years, but Reed figures he will enter into the mix as the year progresses.

141

Like Williamson, Alfredo Velazquez (So., Fontana, Calif., AB Miller HS) gained invaluable experience as a freshman and will be the frontrunner at 141 pounds. Velazquez owned an 8-23 record last season.

“Alfredo wrestled a lot last year and definitely improved,” Reed said. “Hopefully he gets off to a strong start and builds from there.”

Reed is also excited about freshman Jason Mozley (Arlington, Texas, Martin HS) as well as Matt Bakalars (So., Franklin, Mass., Franklin HS), who returns to Penn after competing in 2007-2008 (8-15 that year).

“Jason has started the preseason very well and is competing great against everyone in his weight class as well as others near his weight,” Reed said. “He is probably our most talented incoming freshman.”

“Matt will wrestle at either 141 or at 149, depending on if he can drop the pounds or not,” Reed said. “He had a good freshman year here three years ago and will be in the mix when he gets fully healthy.”

149

Redshirt freshman Eric Burgey (Easton, Pa., Easton HS) will finally wrestle in competitions that count after hitting the mat in a few open tournaments a year ago.

“Eric did very well in some opens last year,” Reed said. “I am looking for him to be among the top guys in the region right away as a freshman.”

Depending on his weight, Bakalars may challenge Burgey, while Brandon Smith (Fr., Malcom, BGM HS) has also impressed the coaching staff early.

157

Newcomers Joe Range (Fr., Burlington, Burlington HS) and Cody Eaton (Jr., Bennington, Kan., Neosho CC) will go head-to-head for the starting slot at 157 pounds.

“Joe was one of the top kids in Iowa two years ago,” Reed said. “He took a year off from the sport, but has bounced back nicely and has the ability to be very successful.”

“Cody is a transfer so he already has collegiate success on the mat and will be able to step in right away,” Reed added.

165

2010 national qualifier Chris Diaz (Jr., Montrose, Colo., Olathe HS) returns to give strength to the 165-pound class, while Brandon Blanchard (Fr., St. Louis, Mo., Eureka HS) will add depth after a redshirt year. Diaz is a year removed from going 18-24.

“Chris continues to improve and has been strong in the early parts of this fall,” Reed said. “Brandon should be in the mix as well. He improved a ton since last year and will likely start slow, but by the end he will be there.”

174

T’Oddre Owens (Fr., Burlington, Burlington HS) is expected to lead the team at 174 pounds as he should become eligible after the holidays.

“T’Oddre can be a solid wrestler and should be more successful than the typical freshman,” Reed said. “I expect him to be at least .500 in his first season.”

184

Newcomer Joe Sumner (Fr., Delaware, Ohio, Rutherford B. Hayes HS) is likely going to be more in the 174-pound range and will wrestle at that weight in tournaments. Reed plans to move him up to 184 for the team’s dual meets.

“Joe is a hard worker and puts the time in to get better,” Reed said. “He is already making big improvements and could be a national qualifier by year’s end.”

197

Matt Woollums (Sr., Chariton, Chariton HS), who came to Penn on a football scholarship, has switched gears in his senior year to try his luck on the mat.

“Matt has been away from wrestling for a couple of years but has improved quickly and will only get better as the year goes on,” Reed said.

Roy Torres (Fr., Yuma, Ariz., Cibola HS) is a very capable big body, but is stuck between two weight classes. The decision will be made in the next few weeks as he tries to move down to 197 pounds or stay at heavyweight.

“Roy is working hard,” Reed said. “Like all the other freshmen, he will take some lumps at the beginning, but he has the ability to be very competitive at the upper weights. He just needs to fine-tune some things to be really good.”

Last year’s starting 197-pounder Josh Stutting (Sr., Clintonville, Wis., Central) will add depth as well.

HWT

Nathan Craig (Jr., Yale, Iowa Central CC) is the leader of the pack at heavyweight.

“Nate improved a lot since last year and I expect a much better year out of him this season,” Reed said.

Schedule

Penn opens its campaign with the Kaye Young NIACC Open on October 30. The Statesmen will host three duals against Luther, Baker (Kan.), and Grand View as well as bring an assortment of teams in for the William Penn Open on January 8. The remainder of the schedule is relatively the same as past years with the regular season concluding on February 19 at the NAIA Central Qualifier.

NAIA Nationals has been moved to Cedar Rapids, about two hours northeast of Oskaloosa, so Penn hopes to have lots of participants in a venue basically in its back yard.

“Our season should prepare us well for the qualifier and the national tournament,” Reed said. “Now in the second year of its existence, our home tournament should be much more popular with a lot more teams, making it a better experience for everyone.”

Qualifying Group

Reed looks for Missouri Valley (#2 in the NAIA’s preseason poll) to defend its Central Qualifying Group title, while Grand View should be a strong second. He figures Penn to battle with Oklahoma City, Baker, and others for third.

“Because we are so young, our main focus will be towards the end of the year,” Reed said. “Hopefully, our young men will continue to develop like they have been and we will be much more competitive in February and March. A couple guys are between weights and if they can get the weight off, that will make us even more solid. Our depth will make a big difference for us this year.”

Wade Steinlage

Posted by on Oct 30 2010. Filed under Sports and Activities. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

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