This column for 5 years has been a positive source of news, interviews, and general enthusiasm with the sport of wrestling as its major subject. Some 12 hours after this edition was published conflicting reports, filed by professional media members, conflicted with several important features your author had committed to the blog. 2 sources, one outside and one inside the Hofstra program, confirmed the Prides appearance at the Southern Scuffle. We stand corrected by none other than Head Coach Dennis Papadatos himself, who said the Pride have accepted an invitation to the National Duals. Also, a source inside NC State confirmed a trip to Chattanooga for the WolfPack. The earlier mentioned professional outlet (Intermat) has listed the Wolfpack as attending the Duals also. It is possible they may do both. They may send a split squad to Chattanooga. From this perspective, and ANY wrestling fans view, even some Wolves are better than none at all. As to the Pride, que lastima, perhaps another time, por favor. As to ANY and ALL of you who read these words, please also read, believe and accept these.
Your author APOLOGIZES
Your author SINCERELY regrets ANY confusion his words have caused
Your author WILL do BETTER
As the calendar turns to August teams are tightening up both their lineups and their lists of competitors. Squads nationwide have ramped up their news output so it seemed appropriate to share some.
One roster that emerged after our last column belongs to the recently resurrected Stanford Cardinal. 13 states represented with Cali talent leading the way with 7. 27 athletes in all but no freshmen currently rostered. Hardly a suprise given the programs May reprieve from the chopping block. A GOOD suprise, new Coaches Rob Koll, Vincenzo Joseph, and Enock Francios helped keep the uber talented Cardinal underclassmen from transferring. Another suprise, perhaps: defending 165lb National Champ Shane Griffith, it says on the roster right there, is at…165. MUCH had been said by MANY that Griffith was going up a wt class to 174. That final say, apparently, remains the province of Griffith and his Palo Alto coaching brain trust. Are they Scuffle bound? It has been asked. AND answered. Just check later in this column, but please, NO skipping ahead.
The answer to our last columns most burning question is….Michigan State, Volunteer Assistant. THATS the new Green and White home of one Justin Oliver. The multi talented, multi credentialed Oliver, whos racked up degrees, AA awards and coaching cred in Mt. Pleasant, MI, Raleigh, NC, and Buffalo, NY so far, lands in East Lansing. The Spartans get a good one late in this seasons hiring game and Oliver gets back to his home state roots. Win, win.
Drexel Head Coach Matt Azevedo has a new star in the Dragons stable (1), former Pennsylvania Regional Training Center athlete, 4 time Virginia Tech AA David McFadden. McFaddens a big time cog in the USAs Freestyle Wrestling machine at 79kg. Those FS skills along with his Folkstyle (college) excellence make him a fine fit for Drexel, who like the Penn Quakers (their across the street college neighbors, NOT the RTC, a different entity)(2) do battle in the huge 17 team E.I.W.A. Conference. Catch Coach Azevedos animated style on Episode 255 of the Wrestling Changed My Life Podcast with Ryan Warner, and catch Drexel scrapping with TOUGH out of conference foes like Oregon State this season. Catch them in Chattanooga this January 1st and 2nd? Awaiting the answer.
Roster drop in Louisville where new Bellarmine Head Wrestling Coach Ned Shuck has released his list of wrestlers for the 21-22 season. The “Sturdy Thirty”(3) leading the Knights charge are well balanced class wise. 8 seniors, 6 juniors, 10 sophomores and 6 freshmen are gearing up for Bellarmines 2nd year in the SoCon. A full half dozen of them had break even or winning records last season. SHOUT OUT, Apollo Beach (FL), Easton Tobias, 2nd year from Lake Highland Prep. Bios are currently a bit thin at the “KnightsSite”(3), we will give due notice to this columns homestate heros when more information becomes available.
Stanford is coming to the Scuffle! Following up on 2020s 99.5 points, 3rd place showing, the Cardinal return to Chattanooga. The new look Rob Koll led staff will bring a flock of fresh faces and some old hand talent led by returning 2x finalist and defending Scuffle and National champ Shane Griffith. Scuffle champ and AA Jaden Abas is also back and so is fellow Scuffle champ Real Woods. Nice!
Hofstra made a big ole chicken salad sandwich out of last years Chicken 19 schedule. The Pride were paused not once, not twice, not thrice, but a schedule busting 4 times by Covid. They still finished with a winning record and took 4th in the depleted but difficult E.I.W.A. tournament. The Pride busted the 100+ point total at the oldest wrestling tournament in the U.S. and sent 7 wrestlers to the NCAA’s, most of whom will be back this year. For the third year the Heller brothers, 157lb E.I.W.A. champ Holden & 165lb Reese will anchor the Pride, though its not yet known if the oldest, 174lb Sage Heller, will take his Covid-19 granted extra year of eligibility. More on Hofstras schedule and roster breakdown in a later column, just know for now these two points. The most recent team GPA (a sterling 3.41) was earned by a studious, NOT lucky 13 on the A.D.s Honor Roll. 6 members of the Pride were on the Deans and 2 made the Provosts list. And save the date for the Prides Aug. 16th Hall of Fame Golf Outing honoring Jon Masa. A 4x conference champ and 3x All American in the early 2000s Masa was the ULTIMATE finisher, winning his last match at NCAAS his sophomore, junior and senior seasons. (4)
Last time the Buffalo Bulls set their GPS for Chattanooga instead of Evanston, Illinois, it was the 2014-2015 season. That year Bulls Head Coach John Stutzman chose the Southern Scuffle over the Midlands for his team. 2 Bulls made day 2 of the competition and now Stutzmans 9th squad is a whole different animal. Check this blogs 2ND SEASON, COLUMN 20 (1/30/19, scroll up to find) for some archived Bulls notes. Know that this young, hungry crew plans on a podium assault at their Mid American Conference tournament late February. Theres NO better place to tune up for that kind of post season success than the Scenic City come January 1st and 2nd. The Bulls schedule includes the Journeymen Round Robin, The Clarion Open and 15 duals with teams from their own Mid American Conference, the BIG 10, BIG 12, ACC, and EIWA. Of course they’ll see most of the SoCons best at the Scuffle. Wrestling fans there are in for an unusual team treat: a powerful 8 pack of seasoned grapplers have been named Buffalos team leaders this season. Look for Pete Acciardi, John Arceri, Toby Cahill, Noah Grover, All Name team member Guiseppe Hoose, Jake Lanning, Michael Petite (one of Buffalos 2 NCAA qualifiers last year), and Derek Spann to lead the Bulls charge this year. Kudos to Intermat honcho Earl Smith’s and MAC correspondent Courtney Woods for their smart and snappy conference repartee AND for first mention of the Bulls plans for 21-22.
Its #rayBucknell as the Bison set their 34 man 10 state strong lineup for this upcoming season. Veteran 17 year Head Coach Dan Wirmsberger, assistants Kevin Levalley and Eric Morrill (y posiblemente uno mas former star coming back to bolster the Bison coaching crew) also released their schedule. 14 matches total against teams from the MAC and the BIG 10, their own EIWA conference foes, the Patriot Duals hosted by column favorite George Mason, the Navy Classic, and the hoary and prestigious Midlands Tournament. YO. Fatigue is setting in just writing about it. Just 6 seniors for Bucknell, but they are a sturdy bunch. One of them, 165lb Zach Hartman, aims to be the Bisons third 2xAA joining Andy Rendos and current assistant Coach Levalley. The rest of the team: 8 juniors, 9 sophomores and 11 freshmen. SHOUT OUT, Sr 149lb Ty Williams, Jacksonville, FL. He did scholastic work in two other states, but this column will gladly claim him as a home state homeboy.
See you sometime soon!
(1) Actually, that would be a cave. As a rule Dragons eat whats in stables along with….eh, covered that earlier. Not mentioning again. Wouldnt be prudent.
(2) The R.egional T.raining C.enter brings high school, college and international level wrestlers together to learn and grow. Penn and Drexel share one and high school athletes from a 250 mile radius of Philadelphia can train there as well.
(3) Feel free to run with these, Coach Shuck. ANYTHING for the SoCon!
(4) If you don’t make the finals of a tournament there’s only one thing to accomplish: “Finish in odd numbers.” You wrestle for 7th place, you better WIN 7th place. You wrestle for 5th place, you go WIN 5th place. You wrestle for 3rd…ok, you get it. At the National Championships Masa DID the odd number thing, EVERY time.