BRINGING FORTH THE FOURTH (NEWS N NOTES INSTALLMENT, THAT IS), A BRIEF FL TRAVEL TIP, AND, WAIT FOR IT…WINE! OK, DON’T WAIT…
The Division 1 conferences all had their tournaments this past weekend, and all but two went according to Hoyle. Or, in the case of the EIWA, not according to Koll. The Nations biggest and oldest tournament saw the Lehigh Mountain Hawks retain the title they took away from Coach Rob Kolls mighty Cornell squad last season. Truly an and/or, if/maybe title, but one that Coach Pat Santoro and his Lehigh matmen will cherish their whole lives. Freely admitted author bias here*, but by God the Mountain Hawks have flown through a Cat-4 Hurricane (at least) this season and have come out the other side still airborne.
The other tournament with a possibly suprise titlist was way out West, where Stanford refused to let Arizona State Pat Riley the PAC 12 and denied the Sun Devils a three peat. Next year both teams figure to be significantly better, so keep an all season eye out there. And on Bakersfield, who split with Stanford and ASU in the regular season.
All of the other tournaments fell into place, with defending National Champ Penn St winning the BIG 10, OK ST taking the BIG 12, Missouri the champs of the MAC, Cary Kolats Campbell Camels the SoCon winner, Lock Haven making it two straight EWL titles, and NC ST standing atop the team podium in the ACC. Congrats to ALL the participants from champs to the 0-2 ers, coaches, staff, event organizers AND fans. Now let’s look at some squads not yet highlighted, both what they’ve done this season so far and what they might do at the Nationals in Pittsburgh March 21-23.
HARVARD-the College Wrestling Top Grade Point Average Award 5 times this decade. A 24 year head coach with multiple All Americans and 2 National Champions to his credit. Thats Harvards wrestling past. Its current ended Sunday with Sophomore 149lb Brock Wilsons loss to Armys P.J. Ogunsanya at the EIWA Tournament. No Crimson wrestlers qualified for this years Nationals, and the odds of any receiving at at-large bid is….wait, wait just a minute, that acceptance letter postmarked Cambridge, Massachusetts is around here SOMEWHERE. Sure of it. 6% sure anyway. The Crimsons Sr. class comprises a quarter of their roster, though one of their captains, 157lb Hunter Ladnier, returns next year. Wither Harvard from here? To the Universe and beyond, of course. They’re Harvard. On the mat? Hard to say. SHOUT OUT, 141lb Tucker Ribman, Dallas, TX, St Marks School, 174lb Leo Tarantino, Tarpon Springs, FL, Blair Academy.
HOFSTRA-the Pride had minimal reasons to roar this season, going 6-14 with 4 of their wins coming against depleted and/or downtrodden SoCon squads. Tournament results were not much better for Coach Dennis Papadatos and assistant Michael Patrovichs squad, finishing 8th out of 8 teams at the Black Knight Invitational and 29th at the tough CKLV. In that big Las Vegas-based event Hofstra wrestlers produced a 10-20 combined record. New assistants Jamie Franco and Michael Hughes, Hofstras AA heavyweight from last season, have a good incoming mix of 9 recruits and transfers to bolster hopes for next season. This season ended Sunday at the EIWAs. Just 3 seniors leave so, on paper, the Prides strength in numbers should be noticeably better. The breakup of the brothers Burkert, Connor and Ryan, and the siblings Haddad, Omar and Nezar, due to Ryan and Nezars graduation, knocks the Hofstra roster down to just the Heller boys, Sage and Holden, being an intact set. Hey Michigan parents, any Dean or Amine combos currently available? Asking for a friend.
KENT STATE-a full 30 man roster with 19 being homegrown Buckeye state brawlers and a half dozen from nextdoor prep wrestling power Pennsylvania. A no nonsense head coach, Jim Andrassy, and feisty young assistants in Danny Mitcheff and Shawn Scott. A historic program, nearly 90 years of wrestling and just 8 head coaches. Andrassy was a winner as a Kent St wrestler and is as the Golden Flashes coach. Thats what must have made this years 7-15 season (with just 1 conference win) all the more maddening. Sprinkle in not 1, not 2 but 3 embarrassing shutout losses (they regularly have one of the nation’s toughest schedules AND they won a match against Penn State, so theres that) and you’d think Andrassy and company couldn’t wait for next season. Wrong, Grog** breath. Coach Jim was upbeat and honest in his pre MAC tournament interview. He was right to be, as Kent State had two of their guys, soph. 184lb Andrew McNally and Jr. 133lb Tim Rooney, wrestle way above expectations and earn a trip to Nationals. Rooney finished 3rd and McNally took 2nd, and he had to wrestle for the silver spot twice. After losing in the finals to Missouri’s Dylan Wisman, McNally faced CMUs Jordan Atienza in a “true 2nd place” battle for a nationals qualifying spot. He won by pin. So, off the 2 Flashes go to Pittsburgh. 29 are set to return next season to the mats for Kent State, with 165lb Isaac Bast being the lone finishing Flash for 2019.
SUNSHINE STATE TRAVEL TIP
Tampa, FL, is known and reknowned for a large number of reasons, all wondrous in their own right but not necessarily suited for review in this column. The Scribe will leave it to your own opinion but in ours there are fewer funner places to eat, drink, listen and watch the world go by than at Skippers Smokehouse. A North Tampa Institution for decades, this place is reasonable, accessible, and funkier than a fat brass monkey. In our eyes thats a beautiful thing. You have been warned.
WINE-DING DOWN WITH THE SCRIBE
2014 Callejon del Crimen Gran Reserva Malbec. RATING 4 GLASSES. According to experts, a wine worth $50 that sells for under $20. According to the Scribe, DELICIOUS. And not readily available around these here parts anymore, que lastima.
*The GREAT Lehigh teams of the late 70s and early 80s were the Scribes first favorite and the Mountain Hawks remain in his heart to this day. Special spots reserved for Jersey legend, 4X National Finalist and 2X National Champ Darryl Burley, and the Wolf of Lawrenceville, current Lehigh 165lb Gordon “Funkalicious” Wolf. Darryl, cause hes just a baaad man, and Wolf for his assistance to, among many others, the Scribes Grand Nephew. D*mn we’re old.
**Grog, the hulkish caveman from the comic strip B.C., was once Kent States mascot. As was a golden retriever. And a masked rider. And various humans in suits bearing lightning bolts. Currently, its a highly stylized Golden Eagle. All this from the Kent State website, so it must be true.
See you sooner or later!