SECOND SEASON COLUMN 26

PRE-POST SEASON N & N, PART TROIS

DAVIDSON-At first glance, you might think this North Carolina-based pack of Wildcats had a “shoulda stayed in the den” season in 2018-19. Probably fooled by early success in wins over Greensboro College and UNC-Pembroke, Coach Andy Lausiers crew started snarling perhaps a bit louder than was justified. Unfortunately everyone was listening, and Davidson went O for the rest of the season. There were/are reasons. When you pare your roster down to 9 athletes (there are 10 wt classes, just sayin), and when you’re a tiny (sub 2000 enrollment) Liberal Arts school where the only things higher than the yearly tuition are the average test scores and academic expectations of the students, the numbers are not conducive to quick turnarounds. Lausier is up for the challenge, and one of the growth plans is a quality staff. Enter smooth Joey Dance, the 2X All American from VA Tech, to help with that. Davidsons “Magnificent 7” freshmen class hail from 5 different states and hit campus with multiple state titles, National tournament placings, Valedictorian honors, and serious drive to succeed. 133lb Kyle Gorant and Hvt Mitchell Trigg have been especially competitive with 29 wins between them. Gorants tied for the team lead with 6 pins, and his 15 victories are tops for the squad. His HS resume included 150 wins, 3rd place at the National Preps, and 3 team captancies, 2 in wrestling and 1 in Cross Country. In Pennsylvania. ‘Nuff said. Trigg hails from Minnesota. You know, the state thats boasted 2 MULTIPLE TIME World Champions wrestling in his wt class while he competed. Tough to get noticed that way, but here Mitchell is. Don’t let his 14-13 record fool you. Hes battled toe to toe with Maryland AA Yousif Hemida, George Masons top 10 ranked big man Matt Voss, and App Sts SoCon champion Cary Miller. Though the regular season concluded 2-13 with a nasty 42 to -1 loss to conference co favorite Campbell, theres been progress. A youthful, energized coaching staff, promising young talent, a conference affiliation (The SoCon) thats rising in quality and quantity (HELLO, Presbyterian, glad to have you come on board! You don’t happen to know Arkansas-Little Rocks number, do you?) and guaranteed entry into a GREAT mid season tournament for team testing purposes. Winner, Winner, chicken dinner! Wildcats like that. SHOUT OUT, 125lb Zamir Ode, Land’O Lakes, FL, Steinbrenner.

DREXEL-This seasons Column 21 fully highlighted the lows of the Dragons flight plans this season. Fortunately, the regular season difficulties are behind them with a shot at redemption in Binghamton, NY this weekend, at the EIWA Championships. Unfortunately, injuries, repeated agonizingly close losses and a dear teammate deathly ill are scenarios that combined to drop rocks on Drexels head every time the Dragons tried to come out of their cave. Don’t look at their deceiving 4-11 record, this team is built for tournaments, not duals. Don’t look at their 7 match losing streak to end the season, look at their 3 nationally ranked stars tuning up for a post season push for redemption. DO look at your bank account and find some small amount, please, for the GoFundMe page to assist the family of Ty Smith, a Drexel freshman who had to medically withdraw from school. The treatment plan for the 4 time Nevada St. champions Ulcerative Colitis has included multiple blood transfusions and continuing home care. As to Dragon post-season fortunes: 165lb Ebed Jarrell is an EIWA tournament title favorite, and sr. 285lb Joey Goodhart (with a team leading 28 wins) could join him atop the podium. While fellow sr. star 197lb Stephen Loiseau remains nationally ranked, two brutally hard losses (to VTs Tom Sleigh and Princetons 3rd ranked Patrick Brucki) may have dinged him up enough to keep him from a top 4 spot. Louiseau should still make the trip to Nationals, though, as the EIWA will send 6 197lbers to Pittsburgh. SHOUT OUT, 165lb Dakota Greene, Brandon, FL.

EDINBORO-Well, it could have been worse. The Fighting Scots finished 2-9 with a season-opening win over the Citadel and a double digit defeat of Cleveland State. They were right there with George Mason and Bloomsburg, 4 points away from a win over Clarion, and not too close to any other potential victories. The mass exodus from the program that included Athletic Director and American wrestling icon Bruce Baumgartner, double decade coaching legend Tim Flynn, and more excellent wrestlers than you could shake a Claymore at has been well documented. A VERY well connected expert has bluntly stated Edinboros on life support and Nurse Ratched just took over the ICU ward. How sad, if true. For right now, get behind srs. Nate Hagan, Avery Henry, Arick Shankles, Coaches Matt Hill, Mike DePalma, Pat Bradshaw, Andrew Church, and the rest of the Scots depleted roster. Those who chose to stay (probably NOT an option for some who left) have already become champions. SHOUT OUT, 125lb Lucas Rodriguez, Kissimmee, FL, Gateway, and Orlando, FL, Boone.

FRANKLIN AND MARSHALL-much like their liberal arts brethren at Davidson, the Diplomats of Franklin and Marshall overcome a lot to field a functional D1 wrestling team. Academic rigor of a very challenging level. Astonishingly high entrance requirements and tuition costs. And, to make things just a tat more difficult, competing in the EIWA, the nations biggest and oldest Division 1 wrestling conference. As a D3 school. The ONLY school in the nation that has to climb that particular mountain. Diplomats dont care. They just adhere to their mantra, scrolling across the wrestling website header. The header that lists their Academic All Star Team Members, their 80+ EIWA placewinners and titleists, their SEVENTEEN All Americans and their 2 National Champions. Quote: “RICH WRESTLING HISTORY IN A RIGOROUS ACADEMIC SETTING.” Thats right, put the whole thing in caps. They don’t, they’re humble. We will, we’re impressed. The Diplomats head into Friday and Saturdays EIWA Championships with 3 of their 10 wrestlers pre-seeded. 141lb Wil Gill leads the team in wins with 25, and 285lb Antonio Pelusi is aiming for a 3rd st trip to the Nationals. Pelusi and 8th seeded 197lb Philip Robilotto will join Gil in the 20+ wins club after this weekends competition. Will Gil, Phil, and Tony “the Thrill” get to Pittsburgh? As a favorite cartoon marsupial once opined, “Its possible, Its possible.”* SHOUT OUT, 157lb Noah Chan, Houston, TX, The Kincaid School, 197lb Steven Mercadante, Sarasota, FL.

WINE-DING DOWN WITH THE SCRIBE

2016 Slow Press Cabernet Sauvignon RATING: 2.5 glasses. Like the 3.0 rated 2015 vintage, this wine pairs well with almost any cheese while binge-watching episodes of Takedown TV.

See you sometime soon!

Ted Carreras

*Possible Possum, of course, the TerryToons star of swamp and small screen.