SEASON 5, COLUMN 12: SCHED-ULE PALOOZA IN SUMMER-TIME; LIGHT-NING LUKE & BAKERS-FIELD DREAM-ING BIG; DREXEL BRING-ING HEAT (& CHEESE-STEAKS?) TO CHATTA-NOOGA; & SO COOL, SO HOT, SOCON

Teams have decided to stop the tease and roll with the please as schedules are posting across the country, Left Coast wrestling lessons from the Book of Luke, a fierce, fiery friend returns to the Scenic City, and more SoCon news stories, please!

FILL IN THE DATES & MAKE IT GREAT

Whoa. The date setters put in some serious overtime the last week or so. Either that or this columns been asleep at the wheel on schedules. Little of both, perhaps. Anywhoo, heres news you can use of whos doing what where and when. The how you know. The why will be speculative.

CLARION

11/7 Clarion Open 11/13 @Davidson, NC/ Quad Meet 10 a.m. Rutgers 11:30 a.m. UTC 1 p.m. Davidson 11/20 Shorty Hitchcock Open 12/1 Bloomsburg 12/3 Ohio University 12/11. Stephens Institute of Technology & Messiah College 12/17-19 Reno Tournament of Champions 12/23 Buffalo 1/7/21 SIUE 1/14 Cleveland State 1/22 Lock Haven 1/30 Hofstra & Kent State 2/5 George Mason 2/6 Navy 2/11 Rider 2/20 Edinboro

The Golden Eagles (Season 5, Column 9) are hunting their 2nd winning season under 8 year Head Coach Keith Ferraro. They need to take flight early, too, as they close with 6 tough duals the last 3 weeks, exactly 1 of which they’ll be favored in on paper. However, Clarion will take this opportunity to remind you of what birds can and will do on paper. To this columns knowledge only Intermat editor/guru AA-BA-GG (1) Earl Smith saw the Eagles 2020 season success in advance, and even that fine 10-6 effort was saddled with four double digit losses. There’s success to be found in the early tournaments this year and in a smattering of the first semesters duals. Past that point the air becomes a bit rarefied even for an Eagle.

DREXEL

11/6 Purdue 11/7 East Stroudsburg Open 11/21 Keystone Classic 11/27 Little Rock 11/28 Oklahoma State 12/4 Maryland Duals/ Maryland & Duke. 1/1-2/21 Southern Scuffle/Chattanooga 1/9 Oregon State 1/14 Brown 1/15 Binghamton 1/23 Bucknell 1/30 American 2/5 Long Island University & Hofstra 2/6 Cornell 2/13 Penn/ Philly Cheesesteak Trophy 2/18 Rider

You’ll find in-depth Dragons notes elsewhere in this column. They open with a Scorpion armed squad, taking on Tony Erslands Purdue Boilermakers to start the season. At least its in Philly where Drexel will be for all but 2 of its first month of events. Drexel faces foes from four different conferences in dual competition before they descend on Chattanooga for the Southern Scuffle. Then there’s another out of conference power post Scuffle when Chris Pendletons Oregon State squad chews their way into Philly. The Beavers (Season 5, Column 8) are a VERY capable crew. Finally, eight straight E.I.W.A. Conference matches before a final meet up with Mid American Conference force and cross-river New Jersey rival Rider. That will set the table for another big post season performance by the Dragons. Said that here before, saying it again now.

NAVY

10/22 Blue & Gold Dual 11/7 Clarion Open 11/14 Jonathan Kaloust Bearcat Open 11/20 Navy Classic 12/3-4 Cliff Keen Las Vegas 12/11 Maryland 12/29-30 Ken Kraft Midlands 1/8/21 George H. Lehman Franklin & Marshall Open 1/15 Lehigh 1/16 Hofstra 1/22 Ohio University 1/23 Cleveland State 1/29 Cornell 1/30 Binghamton 2/4 Bucknell 2/6 Clarion 2/18 Star Match/Army

The Midshipmen go heavy on tournaments the first two months as their intrasquad meet and a match with Maryland are their only duals till mid January. NOT saying 2nd year Maryland BHHHC(2) Alex Clemsen will have the Terps lying in wait for their in state rival. YES we are. Half of Navys scheduled back to backs see the Mids face the tougher team on the back end of the weekend, at least on paper. One double date start that doesn’t look that way: the late January battle royale with Mike Greys Cornell squad. THAT dual just might see all ten matchups contested between Top 25 ranked wrestlers. YO, MAMA. A note: Navy says the Star Match with Army is Feb. 18th. Armys schedule had it on the 19th. Schedule snafu, Psy-Ops, or stubbornness? Gotta LOVE it.

BAKERSFIELD BRINGING WEST COAST SEXY BACK, SET FOR A BIG SEASON

Mark Twain opined there are three things that spread falsehoods: liars, damnable liars, and statistics. Well, the 21 page long record book breaking it down by the numbers for Cal St Bakersfield brings truths that open eyes and raise pulses anywhere serious wrestling fan gather. Picked up 100 wins in your career, did you? Step to the BACK of the Bakersfield Top 10 line please. Win 40 matches in ONE season and you wouldnt sniff their wrestlers Top TWENTY best campaigns. Hell, they HAD to move up to Division 1 because in 15 years at DII they won the title 8 times. NEVER finished below 9th. Now, they have 9 Top Ten team finishes at the D1 NCAAs. A staggering FORTY FIVE All American seasons with National champs across multiple weight classes. Theres an entire page overfilled with their wrestlers international accolades wearing the Red, White and Blue. This season will be the 49th in a row that the Roadrunners send an athlete or two or three or more to the NCAAs. Folks, its what they do. And they do it in a very special West Coast way-EVERY single wrestler on their team is California born or raised, most both. Theres 30 on this years squad. Talk about home grown, theres a half dozen from 3 different Bakersfield high schools. Nebraska transfer Redshirt freshman Tyler Deen is the only one with a listed out of state address. He won a title in New Mexico but tuned up fully with two Top 8 finishes in Californias State Tournament, did a Cornhusker bulk up, then came back to Cali. Just one senior and six juniors rostered so this squad is built for not just this season but the next two as well. Jr. Josh Loomer, dropping down from 197, looks to win his second PAC 12 title in 3 years at 184lbs. Last yr. Senior Roadrunner Dom Ducharme won PAC 12s at that weight. 133lb sophomore Chance Rich was a match away from All American status last season and 141lb Angelo Martinoni went through three rounds in two days at last years Nationals before bowing out. Outside looking in it looks like Deen, the transfer, will be a sweet fit at 149. He was a smooth moving high school lightweight champ and, based on his current weight class, has added about 25 lbs of Midwest muscle. 174lb Albert Urias, a Kinesiology major, former HS team MVP and three time Valley champ, could be poised for a breakthrough season as well. Right now it looks like the bookend weights, 125 and 285, are where the Runners are most unsettled. Too bad lightweight legends Joe Gonzales, John Azevedo, Dan and Adam Cuestas (8 AA seasons, 5 national titles, and 417 Ws between them) or 3x AA, 2X champ hvt. Stephen Neal are out of eligibility and perhaps past their prime. Perhaps. WOULDNT want to determine that last point. Nor would you. You will want to catch this group of RoadRunners in action anywhere you can this season. In Chattanooga Jan. 1st and 2nd is a very good option. Then in a year or two as C-SUB climbs comfortably back to a high National finish, or two, you can say you saw it coming. This column will.

IF YOU INVITE A DRAGON IN, DONT BE SHOCKED WHEN HE EATS THE GUESTS

Said somebody about Ricky Gervais once. Drexels Dragons have racked up a lot of frequent flyer points through their regular visits to Chattanooga and the Southern Scuffle. Lots of wins, too, and feel free to expect more of the same this season. Coach Matt Azevedo and crew have touched down twice already in this columns pre-season notes and its time to brave the Dragons lair for a solid look-see. Rostered up for the Reptiles this year: a whole lotta VERY seasoned studs.10 of the Dragons 35 wrestlers are Seniors, Redshirt Seniors, or Grad Students. Next up after that; 7 Juniors, 6 with that extra Redshirt years worth of experience. Drexel continues its success with recruiting siblings as amongst 8 incoming freshmen are its fourth set of brothers. Twins Desmond and Deon Pleasant join Sean and Michael O’Malley, Riley and Gabe Onorato, and Alex and Ben Salas as Dragons. Daenerys Targaryen herself would’ve done damn near anything for a scaly 8 pack of point getters like that.(3) The Dragons have of late been more of a tournament than a dual meet team. In the last 3 seasons they’ve suffered two double digit loss campaigns. Sadly, the annual “Philly Cheesesteak Trophy” throwdown match with across the street rival Penn fell victim last year to the Ivy Leagues Covid-19 shutdown. BTW, the Dragons are on a 5 year win streak against the Quakers. Still, Drexel did win two of their three duals last year. Then, true to their “peak for the post season” style, Drexel put all ten wrestlers on the podium at the E.I.W.A.s and six Dragons flew off to the National Championships. Of the ten, nine return, including all six national qualifiers. Redshirt sr. Sean O’Malley has been Drexel’s 285lb post season rep (other than his redshirt 2019 campaign) every year hes been on campus. Michael, the “smaller” O’Malley(4) at 174, led the team in wins with an undefeated 2021 dual meet season. His 2nd place finish at E.I.W.A.s earned him his 2nd straight ticket to the National Championships. There he broke even against the Nations best and heads into the year as a stealth candidate for post season honors. An honor that 165lb Evan Barczak could have done without last year, the teams Ironman award. Barczak started as a true freshman and entered last year off a stellar 17-5 2020 campaign, wrestling that season unattached to the Drexel program. He hit the Covid-delayed start to last year like a jackhammer, ripping off 4 straight wins. Then…not sure. Dragons don’t complain. What is sure is Barczak ended up break even with a 2-2, 4th place EIWA showing and an 0-2, barbeque finish at the NCAAs. Those 2 losses, 1-zip to eventual national finalist Jake Wentzel of Pitt and a heartbreaking sudden victory defeat by double tough Conference foe Ricky Stamm of Hofstra. Oh yeah, Barczak earned that Ironman award, and you can have it.(5) At 157, or is it 149, Grad student Parker Kropman looks to earn his 3rd trip to the NCAAs after transfering from conference foe Binghamton during the 2018 semester break. IF #PK/O can make the weight drop after 3 seasons at 157, look the heck out. Woodbridge, New Jerseys big Brian McLaughlins aiming for a 3rd NCAA visit at 197. There’s a potential surprise at 184 as transfer Tino Morina looks to settle into the starting lineup. Morina moved on from the murdered program at Old Dominion after a winning redshirt campaign in the Monarchs final season. He landed in Philly last year and will be one of many wrestlers at the upper and middle weights benefiting from new Assistant Coach David McFaddens (Season 5, Column 7, Aug. 2nd) multi style expertise and down n dirty toughness. Down at 125 the Dragons need some more production. Posiblamente it may come from some combination of Antonio Minnino, Kyle Waterman, Daniel Grobman, or David Colton (SHOUT OUT, Jupiter, FL, Jupiter Community HS). Maybe the points flow from 133lb true sophomore Jaxon Maroney (4-0 last year) unless he redshirts. Or 141lb Tyler Williams breaks away from his break even 2 year 16-16 record. An important note: the Mert ’67 and Joanne ’69 Hill Head Coach of Drexel Wrestling Matt Azevedo finished his 8th season and prepped for his 9th with a meeting. The meeting was with Mert and Joanne Hill. Yes, them. The location: San Diego.The impetus: unknown but likely not unimportant. The Dragons have shown time and again under Azevedos tutelage that they can and will shine come post season time. They share a World class Regional Training Center with neighboring Penn under the watchful eye of 2000 Olympic Champion Brandon Slay, the former Penn Quaker and 3x TX state champ from Amarillo. They show up and show out at every tournament. Perhaps this is the year they right the regular season ship and sail to the land of double digit dual wins. Or Honalee.(6) Why not both?

SO COOL, SO HOT, SOCON

So little to share this week, mi apologia. The column awaits full schedules and/or updated roster drops from UTC, VMI, The Citadel, Campbell, App State, Bellarmine, and Presbyterian. Thank goodness for DANIEL(7) Elliotts Gardner Webb Runnin Bulldogs and Andy Lausiers Davidson Wildcats or there’d be no news at all.

See you sometime soon!

Ted Carreras

(1) All American Bad Ass Good Guy. Smile, Earl, it looks good on you!

(2) Bald Headed Hero Head Coach, easily this columns favorite acronym. A SELECT group of grappling Generals of which Clemsen is a well respected member. Knew that you knew this. Just like typing it.

(3) Probably COULD have gotten them all to Philly. She had her ways, relatively speaking.

(4) Having been born in New Jersey with many a youthful visit to family and friends in the various boroughs of NY, the Scribe knows the phrase “smaller O’Malley” is an oxymoron.

(5) The authors thoughts/words, NOT Barczaks. Though the sentiments may be close.

(6) There will always be a Peter, Paul and Mary song reference when this column covers Drexel. Someday the missing verse may even be shared.♥️🐲

(7) Eagle eyed column observers Austin Sommer of Intermat and Coach Tom Carr brought several recent column misstatements to light. Corrected with a grateful nod, Gentlemen.