The Lock Haven University wrestling team will open the 2016-17 season on Sunday, November 6 at the Clarion Open with the majority of the Bald Eagles' roster set to compete.
Setting the stage for Clarion Open:
For the second straight season, LHU will open the season at the Clarion Open (Sunday, November 6).
Almost the entire LHU roster will be in action at Clarion, including 2015 NCAA Division I national qualifier Ronnie Perry, who returns from a redshirt-season, as well as highly touted transfers Patrick Duggan and Thomas Haines.
Action gets underway at the Clarion Open at 9 a.m. (at Clarion University Rec Center). Fans can watch the action live on FloWrestling.org.
A look back at last season:
The 2015-16 season proved to be another big year for the LHU wrestling program as the Bald Eagles dominated both on and off the mats. Last spring (2016), LHU sent two more wrestlers (Dan Neff & Phil Sprenkle) to the NCAA Division I Championships in New York City. For the NCAA Tournament bound LHU grapplers, it marked Dan Neff's fourth trip to the sport's biggest stage. Neff won the 2016 Eastern Wrestling League (EWL) title at 149 pounds, marking LHU's first individual EWL Champion since 2010. During the 2015-16 season, three LHU wrestlers hit the prestigious 100-win mark: Dan Neff, Bobby Rehm and Aaron McKinney. Last season, LHU was 9-9 overall and went 3-3 in the highly competitive EWL. Highlighting the regular season was LHU's win over Michigan State, which was Lock Haven's first win over a Big Ten program since 2002. The Bald Eagles finished second at the 2015 Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) Championships and were third at the 2016 EWL Championships with four EWL finalists.
Academic standard is high:
Last season, off the mat, senior Phil Sprenkle was named an Academic All-American and he earned a spot on the PSAC's Winter Top-10 List, which is one of the most prestigious academic honors one can achieve. As a team, Lock Haven was ranked No. 23 among all Division I programs with a cumulative team-GPA of 3.123. A total of 15 LHU wrestlers earned a spot on the EWL All-Academic Team.
Moore enters fourth season:
LHU head coach Scott Moore enters his fourth year as the head coach of the storied Bald Eagle wrestling program. He was hired in July 2013, and has quickly led a Lock Haven resurgence and positioned Mat-Town U.S.A. back on the national wrestling scence where it so rightfully belongs. In three seasons, Moore has led nine student-athletes to the NCAA Division I Tournament.
Top-notch coaching staff:
Head coach Scott Moore has established a top-notch staff. In July (2016), LHU hired Nate Carr, Jr. as the new assistant coach. Carr is a 2012 Iowa State graduate and former standout for the Division I power-Cyclones. Moore and Carr lead a talented and driven group of assistant coaches.
During the preseason, LHU head coach Scott Moore announced that redshirt-senior Tyler Wood and redshirt-junior Ronnie Perry were named the team's 2016-17 captains, which were voted on by the student-athletes. Perry, a 2015 NCAA national qualifier who redshirted last season, enters the 2016-17 season ranked nationally at 141 pounds. Wood won 18 matches for the Bald Eagles last season at 174 pounds.
Former national qualifier, Ronnie Perry returns to the LHU lineup in 2016-17 after a scheduled redshirt-season last season (2015-16). Perry, a 2015 NCAA qualifier at 133 pounds enters the season with 43-20 career record. Those 43 career wins don't include the 25 he ripped off competing unattached last season. Perry went a remarkable 25-4 competing unattached at several tournaments last season as the national wrestling scene quickly took notice after he knocked off a number of returning All-Americans and top-10 wrestlers. Highlighting the unattached season was Perry's sixth-place finish at the prestigious Midlands Tournament. It marked LHU's first Midlands placewinner since 2003.
Transfers set to make a difference:
Lock Haven will quickly look for transfers Patrick Duggan and Thomas Haines to bolster the Bald Eagles lineup. Duggan, a redshirt-freshman will compete at 149, while Haines, a redshirt-sophomore will look to lead the way at 285.
Duggan was a four-time Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) placewinner. Competing for Cumberland Valley High School, Duggan, finished his career with a remarkable 160-11 record. He was a two-time PIAA state finalist and ranked as high as fifth in the nation at 145 pounds during his scholastic career.
While competing at Solanco High School, Haines went 174-5 overall and won four PIAA state titles. He was 42-0 as a senior. Last season, while competing for Ohio State, Haines won the Penn State Open (285) and he helped seal a big dual-win over Illinois with a 3-2 victory over nationally-ranked Brooks Black.
Talented recruiting class:
The Bald Eagles 2016 recruiting class, made up of eight talented true-freshmen, was ranked No. 14 by InterMat. Leading the way is true-freshman Jared Siegrist, the projected starter at 165. Lock Haven will also benefit from the return of a number of redshirt-freshmen, including Corey Hazel, the projected starter at 184.
Jake Field (R-Jr.; 125), Tyler Wood (R-Sr.; 174) and Tristan Sponseller (R-So.; 197 (184 last season)) are all projected returning starters, who return from action last season. Last year, the trio picked up a combined 54 wins.
Projected number 1's:
Jake Field (R-Jr.; 125), Joe Ghione (Jr.; 133), Kyle Hammond (R-Jr.; 157), Tyler Wood (R-Sr.; 174) and Tristan Sponseller (R-So.; 197) are all returners from last season, who are projected No. 1's at their respective weight class this year entering the season. The five combined for 83 wins last season.
Sponseller makes a move:
Redshirt-sophomore Tristian Sponseller, who won 22 matches last season at 184, will make the move to 197 this season. He entered the 2016 EWL Tournament as the No. 2 seed at 184 and will be a major force for the Bald Eagles this year.
Field to get things started:
Jake Field returns and should provide the Bald Eagles with plenty of energy at 125. The redshirt-junior won 14 matches last season and picked up four dual-match wins, including two in EWL action. Field has 34 career wins and finished second last March at the 2016 EWL Championships.
LHU will rely on seniors Brad Emerick, Adam Mackie and Tyler Wood for experience and leadership all season. The trio should provide a huge amount of confidence for the Bald Eagles.
Preseason national rankings:
LHU wrestlers Ronnie Perry (141) and Thomas Haines (285) enter the season nationally ranked according to various national wrestling media outlets. Perry is a 2015 NCAA Division I national qualifier (133) and Haines is a transfer from Ohio State.
The Bald Eagles 2016-17 preseason depth chart is available here.
Following the Clarion Open (Sunday, Nov. 6), LHU will return to action on Sunday, November 13 at the Journeymen Collegiate Classic.
A look at the road ahead:
The 2016-17 schedule looks to be an exciting one for the Bald Eagles. Highlighting the 2016-17 home schedule are five duals including the home-opener vs. Michigan State (Nov. 26) and a non-conference match with Sacred Heart (Feb. 3), as well as EWL matches vs. Rider (Dec. 2), George Mason (Dec. 4) and Clarion (Feb. 2). The Bald Eagles will host four tournaments including the 2016 PSAC Championships on December 10.
The 2016-17 LHU wrestling season preview is presented by Rennel Rodarmel's Allstate Insurance. For all your insurance needs contact Rennie at Allstate in Williamsport, Pa. at (570) 326-6645 or visit in person at 921 Westminster Dr. Williamsport, Pa 17701
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