Clarion Opens NCAA DIV 1. Wrestling Season at EMU Duals on Saturday

rp_primary_bedelyon,_contreras,_milano_2Clarion opens NCAA DIV1 wrestling season at EMU duals this Saturday, November 16, 2013.

The 2013-14 Clarion University wrestling team is ready to roll out the mats for another exciting season of NCAA Division I wrestling, as the Golden Eagles travel to Ypsilanti, Michigan to participate in the
Eastern Michigan duals on Saturday, November 16.

The Golden Eagles begin the dual meet season with four duals on Saturday including an opening match-up at 10 a.m. against Campbellsville, then an 11:30 a.m. encounter with Tiffin, plus a 1 p.m. match against
Northern Illinois and finally a 2:30 p.m. dual against Eastern Michigan.

Clarion will be led into battle by second year head coach Troy Letters, who guided the Golden Eagles to a 5-10 dual meet record against a very tough schedule, along with placing second at the PSAC championships, fourth at EWL’s and 33rd at the NCAA Division I Tournament in Des Moines, Iowa. “I expect this will be an exciting season of wrestling for our fans and a growing year for our program,” said coach Letters. “We have a
few quality veterans returning to lead the way, but also some talented young wrestlers that we will build the future of the program around for years to come.”

Letters and staff posted the #9 rated recruiting class in the nation last year as rated by The Open Mat and AWN. The returning veterans, surrounded by the bevy of newcomers, give Golden Eagle wrestling fans hope of a bright future in Division I wrestling. Returning starters looking to lead the way include Tyler Fraley (So. E. Freehold, N.J.) and Sam Sherlock (Jr. West Mifflin) at 133, Tyler Bedelyon (Sr. Lewistown/Indian Valley) at 141, Nick Milano (Sr. Erie) at 165, Ryan Darch (Jr. Batavia, N.Y.) at 174 and Brandon Contreras (Sr. Rochester, N.Y.) at 197.

Fraley and Sherlock have both changed weight classes from 2013 and are battling at 133-pounds in the pre-season. Fraley was 17-11 in 2013 at 125 pounds placing third at both PSAC’s and EWL’s, narrowly missing going to D-I nationals. Sherlock, off to a 4-1 start this year with a second place finish at the Clarion Open, was 13-11 at 141-pounds last season placing 2nd at PSAC’s and 3rd at EWL’s. Sherlock is currently ranked 14th in the nation at 133 by AWN.

Bedelyon, a senior and team captain, was an NCAA D-I National Qualifier at 149-pounds last year with a record of 20-16. He was 2nd at PSAC’s and 4th at EWL’s and earned an at-large selection to nationals. He is moving down to 141-pounds this season, a weight he wrestled at two years ago and compiled a record of 18-17. Tyler also was 15-11 at 141-pounds in 2010 and has a career record of 53-44. Milano has been a three-year starter for Clarion and returns to 165-pounds where he was 3-21 a year ago. He was 8-15 at 174 in 2012 and 12-19 as a freshman in 2010.

Darch, a junior, was 12-16 last year at 174-pounds placing 2nd at PSAC’s and 3rd at EWL’s. He is 20-28 overall in two years at Clarion.

Contreras, who sat out last year with an injury at heavyweight, and who wrestled at heavyweight two years ago, has dropped to compete at 197-pounds this season.

“We are looking for our veterans to lead this team on and off the mat,” said Letters. “We have so many young wrestlers that the veterans can really help our young team adjust quickly with the right leadership.”

The Golden Eagles have plenty of new faces ready to don the lineup this season. Newcomers include Jonathan Mele (Fr. Berkeley Hts., N.J.) and Hunter Jones (R-Fr. New Rochelle, N.Y.) at 125, Tim Bailey (R-Fr. Moon Twp.) at 133, John Pezze (So. North Huntingdon) at 141, Justin Arthur (Fr. Huntington, W.V.) and Calvin Daley (Jr. Easton) at 149 Austin Matthews (Fr. Greenville/Reynolds) and Kyle Braddock (Sr. Beaver Falls/Blackhawk) at 157, Michael Pavasko (R-Fr. Munhall/Steel Valley) and Steven Nelson (R-Fr. Haddonfield, N.J.) at 165, Dustin Conti (Fr. Jefferson/Jefferson-Morgan) and Daniel Sutherland (Jr. N. Bellmore, N.Y.) at 184, and Evan Daley (Fr. Erie/Fort LeBoeuf) and Josh Davis (So. Freehold, N.J.) at 285.

Mele, a true freshman, had a career record of 136-21 Governor Livingston High and was 4th at NJSIAA at 120-ounds with a 39-4 record last year. Jones, a red-shirt freshman, wrestled at Wyoming Seminary Prep (15-00 and New Rochelle H.S. with a career record of 101-28.

Bailey, a red-shirt freshman, has dropped to 133 from 141 a year ago and is battling to compete this season. He is a quality athlete from Moon High School.

Pezze was 11-9 in tournaments last year at 133 and is a red-shirt sophomore at 141. From Norwin High, he was 36-5 his senior year and placed 8th at PIAA’s as a senior.

Justin Arthur, one of Clarion’s top recruits this season, has already put together a 7-1 record at the Clarion Open and is ranked #18 in the nation at 149-pounds. Arthur, from Huntington, W.V., was a three-time West Virginia State Champion with a career record of 142-15. He was a state champ at 145 last year, 138 in 2012 and 119 in 2010.

Daley, a junior from Easton, was 3-7 last year at 141-pounds.

Matthews, another of Clarion’s top recruits, will hit the mat for the first time this weekend at 157-pounds. Matthews, from Reynolds High, was a PIAA State champion at 152-pounds with a record of 49-1 and 2nd at PIAA’s in 2012 at 138 pounds with a record of 48-2. He had a career record of 184-17.

Also looking for time at 157-pounds will be senior Kyle Braddock, who was 2-9 last year at 157.

A battle for the starting spot at 165 is being waged between Michal Pavasko and Steven Nelson. Both red-shirt freshmen, Pavasko is a very strong, aggressive and powerful wrestler from Steel Valley. He placed 4th at PIAA’s his senior year with a record of 39-5 and had a career record of 112-36. Nelson meanwhile is a red-shirt freshman who competed in open tournaments last year at 174-pounds and was 16-10… He was 2nd and 4th at N.J. States at Haddon Twp. with a career record of 133-13.

Conti is battling to start at 184-pounds. A freshman from Jefferson Morgan he was 3rd at PIAA’s at 170 last year (42-1) and 5th at 170 in 2012 (42-6). He had a career record of 142-33.

Sutherland, who transferred from Nassau Community College, is also at 184-pounds. He was third in the Wilkes open last year and the Long Island Open Champion. He went to Mepham High and was 35-5 as a senior
in 2010 at 160/171.

Daley is a talented freshman heavyweight from Fort LeBoeuf High in Erie. He was 5th at PIAA’s at 220-pounds (41-6) and 5th at PIAA’s in 2012 (50-6) and 6th at PIAA’s at 285 in 2011 (31-15). He had a career record of 135-37. Daley was 2nd at Flo Nationals this summer at 285 pounds.

Davis, who transferred to Clarion from North Carolina State, red-shirted last season. He was 15-15 at heavyweight at N.C. state in 2012.He attended Freehold High and was 35-3 in 2010 (senior year).

Also members of the 2013-14 roster who are either looking for time, or possible red-shirts include Seth Carr (Fr. McDonald/South Fayette), Victor LiPari (Jr. Houston/Chartiers-Houston) and Jarray Norris (Fr. Sharon) at 125; Dylan Graham (Fr. Clearfield) at 133; Wolfgang McStravick (Fr. Pennsburg/Upper Perkiomen), Quinton Murphy (So. Warsaw, N.Y./Holley) and Adam Smith (Fr. Lancaster/Manheim Twp.) at 141; Zach Ross (R-Fr. Dillsburg/Northern York) and Blake Morder (So. Mount Union) at 149; Troy Braddock (So. Beaver Falls/Blackhawk) at 157; Tim Schaefer (Fr. Warsaw, N.Y.) and Tyler Dibert (Fr. Imler/Chestnut Ridge) at 184.

CLARION OPPONENTS AT EMU DUALS – Clarion will open against Campbellsville (K.Y.). The Tigers are coached by Franky James who starts his 10th season and has a dual meet record of 92-54 … they are ranked 4th in the nation in the NAIA and have crowned 2 individual national champions and 36 All-Americans in only 9 years… Campbellsville is already 4-0 with wins over Arkansas Baptisit (57-0), Bacone (44-3), Central Baptisit (56-0) and Northwest Kansas Tech (32-9)…Top wrestlers include #2 ranked Tyler Alsip and Brandon Westerman at 133 and 141 pounds respectively … > TIFFIN – is 0-0 this season under third year head coach Joey Simcoe.. The Dragons were 6-7 in dual meets and finished 31st at D-II Nationals… top returnee is All-American Kevin Christman who was seventh at heavyweight last year and the school’s first All-American…

NORTHERN ILLINOIS – The Huskies are led by third year head coach Ryan Ludwig … NIU was 10-8 in dual meets last year, 5th at the MAC Tournament and 41st at D-I Nationals … Top wrfestlers include returning NCAA Qualifier Matt Mougin at 174 and #12 ranked Andrew Morse at 157 (2nd last week at the MSU open)… Others to watch are Nick Harrrison at 15; Tyler Argue (3rd at MSU open) at 141 and Shawn Scott (4th at MSU Open) at 197…

EASTERN MICHIGAN – Led by 8th year head coach Derek Delporto (former Slippery Rock head coach) – this will also be the first dual meet action for EMU this season… The Eagles were 7-13 overall last season including a 21-10 loss to Clarion… Top returnees include a pair of NCAA National qualifiers in Phillip Joseph at 174 (ranked #20 at 184) and Nick Whitenburg at 197 (ranked #15) … Other top wrestlers include 2012 NCAA Qualifier Jared Jermaine at 125 and Khodor Hoballah at 184.

CLARION NOTES: Clarion has 2 wrestlers ranked in the latest AWN or Intermat Polls… Sam Sherlock currently has a #14 ranking by AWN and 18 by Intermat; while Arthur is ranked 18th in both polls… … Since 1959-60 Clarion has a dual meet record of 521-333-13 and had wrestlers win 113 PSAC and 54 EWL individual titles… Clarion also has had 8 individual NCAA Division I Champions and 46 D-I All-Americans… 157- James Fleming was the latest A-A – placing 8th last year at 157-pounds… Fleming was a 2-time All-American, having placed 5th at the NCAA’s in 2012 … Fleming had the 4th best record ever at Clarion with a mark of 126-21 — tied with Mark Angle (126-11; 1996-2000)… The leader of course is Wade Schalles with a mark of 153-3-1 (1970-74), Mike Cole (150-31-2 1984-89) and John Testa 134-29 (2000-2003)….

CLARION WRESTLING HISTORY: Clarion finished 33rd at NCAA D-I National sin 2013 and 18th at the Nationals in 2012 …. Letters was part of both teams… Head coach last year and assistant in 2012 to Matt Dernlan… Troy Letters is only the seventh (7th) head coach at NCAA Division I Clarion since 1960. Frank Lignelli re-started the wrestling program in the Fall of 1959 and coached through 1966. Bob Bubb elevated the program to elite NCAA Division I status as head coach from 1967- 92, while Jack Davis mentored from 1993-97, Ken Nellis from 1998-2006. Teague Moore from 2007 – 2011, Dernlan in 2012 and Letters in 2013. In dual meet history the Golden Eagles are 521-333-17 over that time… The program was re-started in the 1959-60 season under head coach Frank Lignelli … Lignelli was the coach from 1960-66 with a record of 61-12. He passed the torch to Bob Bubb, who from 1966-92, put Clarion wrestling on the national stage… Bubb had a career record of 322-121-4 … Bubb led Clarion to a 4th place team finish at D-I nationals in 1973, sixth in 1972 and 87 and eighth in 1992, his final season… Bubb coached 7 D-I champions, 3 college division champs, 27 All-Americans, 29 EWL winners and 68 PSAC champs … Bubb will be remembered for two special athletes, namely Wade Schalles and Kurt Angle… Both were named to the NCAA/NWCA 75th Anniversary Team in March of 2005… Schalles had an amazing career record of 153-5-1, won 2 NCAA titles and posted an NCAA record 106 pins … Angle also was a 2-time NCAA D-I Champion, posted a record of 116-10-2 and also won an Olympic Gold Medal in 1996… On June 4, 2005, Bubb was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Oklahoma …. Jack Davis was Clarion’s head coach from 1993-97 with a record of 43-34-5, Nellis (47-89-3; 1998-2006), Moore (37-60-1; 2007-11), Dernlan (6-7; 2012) and Letters 5-10 (2013) … Clarion has 8 D-I National Champions, 46 All-Americans, 54 EWL winners and 113 PSAC Champions… That also includes 14 PSAC and 3 EWL team titles…. In 2012 when Clarion was 18th at nationals 157-lb James Fleming (West Mifflin) earned A-A honors finishing 5th and 165-lb Bekzod Abdurakhmonov (Tashkent, Uzbekistan) was 3rd. Interestingly, Frank Lignelli (Monongahela), Ken Nellis (Shaler), Troy Letters (Shaler) and Teague Moore (North Allegheny) are all Western Pa. products… Letters and Nellis both from Shaler High School … Coach Bubb was a native of Lock Haven, but a Pitt grad and All-American… Jack Davis, from Lake Lehman, also was a Clarion grad and long-time clarion assistant coach.

WL NEWS: With Pitt and WVU leaving the EWL, the league added George Mason and Rider … The EWL also includes Cleveland State, Edinboro, Bloomsburg and Lock Haven.

2014 CLARION SCHEDULE: The Golden Eagles have last year’s top 2 NCAA finishers on the schedule for 2014… #2 Oklahoma State is coming to Clarion on Feb. 15; the Clarion travels to #1 Penn State on Feb. 23. Also on the home schedule are Rutgers (Nov. 22); Edinboro (Dec. 15); Rider (Dec. 21); Lock Haven (Jan. 31); George Mason (Feb. 1) and Cleveland State ((Feb. 9).

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