3rd Season Column 12: A weekend worth of WOWs, VMI Coaches, All over-looked and under-rated team, 184 and 174, and…wine

PANTHERS CLAW THE DOOR, BRONCS KICK IT IN, HOKIES PECK THE BUCKEYES OUT

An unlikely three animal team “did damage”(1) to the wrestling castle known as the Big 10 this weekend, and it was no fluke, folks. THE Ohio State University strode into Pittsburgh Friday and found themselves mano a mano with a very hungry pride of Panthers. The 23-12 Buckeyes win left Pitt bloodied but unbowed and the Bucks needing to clean their armor. Frankly, the match swung on two contests. One: a second suprising loss by tough, ultra fit Pittsburgh heavyweight Demetrius Thomas. Two: Panther 174LB star Greg Harvey seeing his opponent, Kaleb Romero, not just beat Harvey but widen the margin from an earlier 1 point gap to a decisive 7-2 beatdown. Next for Pitt, the big in state battle with Lehigh Sunday the 24th. What happened next to T-OSU, however, sent a tsunami through wrestling. Virginia Tech paid a visit to Columbus and the Covelli Center and strutted out with a 21-15 win. There are times when a 6 point margin is a beat down. This was two of them, at least, as Tony Robies (yet another BHH)* Hokies flexed all over #3 Ohio State. This on the spur(2) of VA Tech signing the #2 ranked recruiting class in the whole U.S. of A. Details of the victory are pretty much everywhere from loads of really knowledgeable folks who went there, saw that, so this site will just, and justly, say…HOKIE HOKIE HOKIE HI, TECH TECH VPI!!! And, easily if not even more notable, was what happened in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Thursday. The home team, the Top 10 ranked Golden Gophers, were trampled on their home mat by that little old school with the BIG New Jersey wrestling chops, the Rider Broncs. Or is it chaps? Not sure. What IS sure is that the straightouttaLawrenceville crew headed by…wait for it!…BHH* HC John Hangey flat out outworked the Big 10 homeboys. Then Hangeys Hammers(3) rode hard into DeKalb, Illinois, and put the NIU Huskies away wet 26-6. The Broncs won 8 out of 10 matches, took their first Mid American Conference scalp, and came back home undefeated and very much on everybody’s horizon. Two notes: LOVE the music and graphics for Rider highlights on BroncVision. 2nd, Rider info folks keep writing about wrestlers “moving up” from 165 to 157. Its odd, just sayin. There will be an in depth look see at this school prior to their arrival and (calling it now) high level success at the Southern Scuffle, Jan 1st and 2nd in beautiful downtown Chattanooga. GOOD TICKETS STILL AVAILABLE! Call 1-423-266-6627 or GoMocs.com.

SO COOL, SO HOT, SOCON

MOCS IN THE MIDDLE OF IT

As noted in this columns UTC Preview the Scribes beloved Mocs scheduled waaaaay up the scale this season and stand at 1-3 after absorbing a 39-0 knockdown at the hands of the #2 team in the nation, the Iowa Hawkeyes. Other than Sr. Co captain 197LB Rodney Jones 1 point loss to AA Jacob Warner of Iowa, nothing to see here, folks, and it’s all been said already. So, its rest up and get ready time as UTC has a 2 stop trip to North Carolina this coming weekend. The Mocs will be favored in exactly 1 of their next 5 duals heading into the Scuffle, and they’re still missing one of their senior co captains, 141LB 2X SoCon Champ Chris Debien. Answers to these and other questions lie straight ahead. #Fightforeverypoint, Mocs! And they will.

APP STATE TAKIN NUMBERS, NAMES N TITLES

If BHH* HC JohnMark Bentleys Mountaineers didn’t get a volume discount on the entry fees at the WolfPack Open, they should have. A whopping 32 of Youssefs Crew battled in Raleigh, and 4 of the 10 weight classes saw 3 Mountaineers each compete as attached wrestlers. There will be a quiz later. Only 5 of the 12 team field were D1 schools, but hey, 14 App State place winners and 2 Open Division Champs, 149LB Jonathan Millner and 285LB Cary Miller, is no small bones. Take the Over on how many times these guys last names get transposed. You’ll see, and hear them, mentioned a lot this season.

PRESBYTERIAN ROCKING THEIR INITIAL TOUR, 1ST 2 DATES FUN

The Blue Hose are hot-footing it across the Eastern seaboard in their inaugural season, with stops so far in Charleston (not far) and Raleigh (not much farther). The cumulative record for Coach Tony DeAndas brand spanking new crew is at a respectable 1-2 win/loss ratio. They have their first podium placewinner as well, 197LB Austin Stiths 3rd place showing in the Battle at the Citadel tournament. The Blue Hose roll up both the East Coast and the competition level as they head to the Cornell Invitational this upcoming weekend. They’ll face the likes of Army West Point (fresh off winning their own Black Knight Invitational) Binghamton, Buffalo, LIU, Lock Haven, Rutgers, and the Army Prep School. That few or perhaps even none of these squads will send full varsity will mean little. Baby steps, Presbyterian, baby steps. Director Cody and the Coaches Deanda will have you sprinting in due time. MUCHAS GRACIAS to gracious and helpful Cornell athletics staffer Kathy and to Associate Head Coach Mike Grey, multi tasking in the background, for the team list.

CAMELS CRACK A 50 YEAR NUT

That undefeated 184LB Andrew Morgan copping SoCon Wrestler of the Week award was not the big Buies Creek news is news. That is because Campbell is now, for the 1st time ever, ranked in the Coaches Top 25 for dual meets. They’re tied with Purdue. No matter. Camels will take that. That their next dual is not till the early January desert throwdown with Top 10 Arizona State should not be a rankings punishable offense. Looking at you, coaches. Or rather, your votes, IF we could see them, that is. (cough, cough, impartiality, cough, cough)

STILL NO CITADEL NEW(S)NESS

Still blaming Earl Smith and the Open Mat, but mostly Earl. His overwhelming coverage of a program or event is similar to a 13th century Mongol invasion (but in a good way, you know, with new Yurts, a quart or two of fermented mares milk, some archery lessons). Really little reason to revisit the school. Actually, theres been a bit going on. These Charleston, South Carolina based Bulldogs did finish a respectable 4th at their own tournament to start the season. They also grabbed some good wins at the Journeyman Collegiate Classic. At last week’s WolfPack Open 285LB Mike MacAleavey finished 3rd, going 4-1. They’re coming to the Scuffle! We LIKE that about them. And we remain über fans of San Antonio Judsons very own Aaron Walker (Citadel Class of 2017) 2x UNDEFEATED TX HS Champ AND Citadel 4X national qualifier. So theres that.

WILDCATS WINLESS, WORKING

The progress will come for Andy Lausiers Wildcats. “The toughest preseason ever” for Davidson has so far produced numerous individual wins though team triumphs remain elusive. The best showings have been the most recent, two close dual meet losses to Franklin and Marshall and conference foe VMI. The match count in both duals: a respectable 4 wins, 6 losses, as progress is evident. Davidson boasts strong support, growing numbers in a youth movement, and fine coaching with Lausiers talents supplemented by 2, 2X All Americans. Former VA Tech star “smooth” Joey Dance and, as of this season, former Rider great Chad Walsh are there to help. And for the first time in 12 years (has it been THAT long?) they’re coming to the Scuffle. That’s a paragraph ender.

G-W BULLDOGS RUNNIN WEST

Gardner Webb is back in action this weekend as they battle Cal Baptist and finish their trip Sunday at CSU-Bakersfields Roadrunner Open, always a competitive event. No updated stats on the GW website to enlighten you with, but that should change by months end. Should. Might. Hope so.

VMI PREVIEW PART 2: COACHSPEAK THAT ISNT- HC JIM GIBSON AND ASST. TY SCHOFFSTAHL, UNEDITED, IN THEIR OWN WORDS

FOR HEAD COACH JIM GIBSON:

How are you implementing your small school success blueprint at VMI?

It is important to create a culture of belief. Consistent communication about our expectations to our athletes is paramount. They must never question what our coaching staff expects of them. We ask them to focus on the areas of the sport which are under their control. 1)Effort 2) Attitude 3)Toughness 4)Lifestyle. They (Cadet-athletes) need to understand that it takes consistent focus on these areas for them to be successful. Its important in times of adversity that they continue to strive in those areas. Everyone develops at a different time, but if those four areas are focused on, it’s not a matter of if they win, its just when.

What are some work/life differences and similarities you’ve encountered in your first 18 months there?

As a student athlete at Edinboro, and a coach at both Clarion and Bucknell, all the communities have been similar. Small rural towns with Division 1 wrestling programs. A major difference at VMI is the military lifestyle. It forces us as coaches to time manage very efficiently. We must take full advantage of the time we have with the athletes, and must get the most out of our training each day. The students at VMI are pulled in a lot of different directions. I don’t necessarily see that as a disadvantage, it just takes a bit more preparation on our part. We must formulate a plan at the beginning of each week, and can’t deviate much.

Your recruiting class was enormous, 24 freshmen I believe. Can you make up for the lack of numbers in the previous 2 classes or is that not important?

Everything is a process. The freshmen class take both their academics and athletics very seriously. Their addition has Immediately made our practices much more competitive. I believe we are already seeing the benefits of that, but still have a ways to go. Ultimately we want to be very competitive at each weight class with about 3 guys.

Many people would find it amazing that VMI has a winning record against every other military academy except one. Is that a source of pride for the Keydets?

VMI as a whole is full of tradition and pride. Everyone here takes pride in walking the road less traveled. The wrestling tradition here is very rich as well. They’ve had wrestling at VMI since the 1920s and have produced over 100 individual conference champions. Our current wrestlers take pride in trying to restore that tradition. They want to be the ones that bring back a winning tradition to VMI wrestling.

How will Neal Richards career and success this season affect this program?

For others to see that it can be done here is huge. Neal’s success writes the blueprint for others to follow. Not only for our current wrestlers but our recruits as well. For everyone to know that you can be successful in wrestling at VMI is very important.

ASST. COACH TY SCHOFFSTAHL

The Edinboro connection is an obvious reason you may have been drawn to working with Coach Gibson. What else brought you to VMI?

It was exciting and motivating to have the opportunity to be part of a program that is in the rebuilding process. I knew I wanted to stay in the sport after my college career was over and coaching was one way to do it. When Coach Gibson reached out to me, it would have been dumb not to do it.

The conference view for VMI is currently quite different than what it was for Edinboro in its conference during your wrestling days there. How can your experiences/perspective help the Keydet athletes?

Competing under the coaches that I had at Edinboro was very important to me. With the coaching staff having their own personal and coaching success, I feel like they put me in a good position to know what it takes to be the best. They always put us in a position to compete against the top tier teams on Division 1. I will do my best to help our athletes reach their greatest potential with the experiences I have learned along the way throughout the multiple years in the sport.

How have you adapted to the geographic/cultural differences between PA and VA?

I really like everything about the area of Lexington. The small town feel is exactly what it was like where I grew up in PA and similar to the area in college. Virginia has plenty of things that interest me so it was a great fit.

CANNOT say thank you enough to Head Coach Jim Gibson, Assistant Coach Ty Schoffstahl, and Assistant Athletics Director Communications Mike Carpenter. They gave significant in season time and effort to this work, and justly deserve your applause and appreciation. They certainly have ours.

ALL OVERLOOKED AND UNDERRATED TEAM: 184 & 174

Flat ran out of time last week, so to catch up here’s the next two gentlemen who will stand out, advance beyond expectations, and threaten the podium in March in Minneapolis…

184LBS

Andrew Morgan, Campbell

A fifth year senior moving UP 10 lbs for his last go round is rare enough. Factor in Andrews stellar past 2 seasons at 174, 2 rostered athletes at his old weight and 5 at his new one (not counting him) and it looked like a “things that make you go hmm?” moment. Then the season started, and Andrew started showing everybody outside of Buies Creek, NC, that he is a legit AA threat. The sample size so far is small but mighty tasty. A hot, fresh slice of ABC (Apple-Blueberry-Cherry) pie w/ ice cream kind of tasty. 6-0, with a Southeast Open title and 2 dual meet road wins, one over über-tough and talented Nino Bonaccorsi of Pitt. More tests ahead for Morgan: a 6 week, 4 tournament stretch starting with the Navy Classic. Since THAT’S not enough, there’s a 2nd week of January dual in the desert with Arizona State and a showdown with 3X AA, 2X National Champ Zahid Valencia. YO. Most folks will know by then, you know now. Watch out for Andrew Morgan.

174LBS

Jared Siegrist Lock Haven

Why Jared?

  1. He’s a PA tough 4 year starter. Dude AVERAGES 41 matches a year. NO deferred status, NO redshirt, NO gray shirt, just lots and lots of sweaty, dirty shirts.
  2. Has a nasty tough, 10lbs bigger Senior teammate/training partner in Top 12 ranked Corey “The Hammer” Hazel.
  3. Graduation, weight changes, and Olympic aspirations have thinned the field.
  4. Has won more and lost less each year.
  5. Has NEVER qualified for the Nationals. Senior last-shot momentum. We know he’s 4-3. We know he’ll lose a few, probably double digits, with some to some guys he shouldn’t. We also know this: NOBODY wants to wrestle this guy. But they’ll have to. And for the majority of them, it will NOT end well. #HeFlyin. Just like his team.

ARMY AND NAVY SET OUT MATS AND STAY HOME

The seasons plethora of Opens, Invitationals, Quads, Tri-Meets, and the like continues so time to look both back and forward. Army hosted their Black Knight Invitational(4) on the 17th. 8 teams total and Army had 3 champs, taking the team title in the process.

Saturday the 23rd is the date for the Navy Classic(5), and it’s the biggest field ever. Thanks to the ever prompt and extra helpful Athletic Director/Sports Information, Stacie Michaud(6) a list of teams set to participate:

Air Force, American, Brown, Bucknell, Campbell, The Citadel, Cleveland State, Edinboro, George Mason, Kent State, Lock Haven, Michigan State, Navy, Ohio, Old Dominion, Oregon State, Rutgers, and Virginia Tech. WHOA! 18 teams, every conference but the Big 12 on display, and dozens of ranked wrestlers makes this the toughest tournament of the season so far. As there’s no parking on the grounds of the Academy, take the shuttles. Admission is free, and if you see Ms. Michaud, please say hello and thank you.

TREMBLING AT THE TOP, OR SMALL NOTES ON THE BIG BOYS

Penn State had a few wrestlers in close matches in the dual with Navy. They won all those matches. The rest of their wrestlers won matches that weren’t close. They also won multiple titles at a tournament.

Iowa had several wrestlers win close matches, one of them a 1 point hang on win, against the Scribes beloved Mocs. The rest of their wrestlers won matches that weren’t close.

THE Ohio State University LOST-to a team not in the Big 10. It wasn’t Oklahoma State. For details, read the first paragraph in this column again.

Oklahoma State supposedly failed a skin check. Then they failed to beat Lehigh. Earlier on the weekend OK St. beat the Drexel Dragons. Skin check fails can happen when you play with reptiles.

VA Tech-again, 1st paragraph. If you still dont get the Hokies, listen to Jason Bryant’s Inside VA Tech wrestling podcast. Then you probably won’t read this column On 2nd thought, maybe don’t listen.

Cornell has wrestled once this season. They won a lot. They host a tournament this weekend. They’ll win a lot more. Kathy, in the Athletic Department, is really helpful. Associate Coach Mike Grey is really busy, but hes helpful too. When you call Assistant Coach Gabe Dean, Kathy will probably answer. Whenever you call Coach Dean, call him Sir. Simply out of respect. He’s extremely cordial. It’s been 5 years since we shook hands at the Scuffle. The hand has mostly recovered.

NC State beat Old Dominion. It was a good match. Hayden Hidlay ( HIDE-lay, please, you’ve had 3 years to practice) beat Larry Early. It was a great match. Then NC State had an Open. They won a lot there too, but maybe less than expected. Maybe.

Arizona State has, so far, won against Purdue, Virginia, Augustana, and McKendree, and won a lot in two tournaments. They had a 35 year old former Army Green Beret walk on wrestle for them. Even though he lost, that’s a win-win. Next, Arizona State wrestles Penn State. Thats not a win win. That’s not even a win.

WINE-DING DOWN WITH THE SCRIBE….2016 GRANITE COAST VINEYARDS CABERNET SAUVIGNON/MONTEREY, CA

The Scribe faked high and shot low, ankle-picking this Red for 6 ($5.99+Tax) off the bottom shelf at Trader Joe’s. And got immediately reversed. This wine needed Decanting, then Drinking, and bypassing D1 for D2 caused, this time at least, a bit of disappointment. A Day 2 backside bracketing with a vegetable/beef stew and a setup with 3 different cheeses, Swiss, Gouda, and Havarti, went better, but not enough to warrant even an at large bid. Rating: 1 glass.

See you next week!

Ted Carreras

  1. What Big 10 teams typically do to everybody else. 2.The nasty sharp thingy on the back of a gobblers leg. Useful for disemboweling. 3. The Scribe is patenting this, and only Broncs can use it without paying. And DONT get any ideas, Coach Clemsen of Maryland, Mr. #turtlesomethingoranother. 4. Navy was probably invited. They weren’t there. 5. Army is probably invited. They won’t be there. 6. Multi-year starter for the T.R.G.L.O.W.

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