Friday, November 3, 2017

2017-18 Lycoming College Wrestling Preview: Reloading

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. – Coming off the Lycoming College wrestling team’s best dual meet record in 17 years and its third straight top-25 finish at the NCAA Division III Championships, it’s no surprise that expectations in the Budd Whitehill Wrestling Room are high. With the loss of the two winningest wrestlers in program history, though, the Warriors will turn to a younger, but still talented lineup in 2017-18.

With five wrestlers in the initial individual rankings, the Warriors will have a lineup stacked with several grapplers capable of winning matches, placing at tournaments and scoring bonus points in dual meets for 25th-year Hall of Fame head coach Roger Crebs. The question will be if they can continue to develop into one of the top three wrestlers in the NCAA Southeast Region which will give them a berth in the NCAA Division III Championships on March 9-10 in Cleveland.

Coach’s Take: “We have to stay healthy. We have made some adjustments already with all the guys, getting them to start to believe that they can win. We changed some of their training already and we have to get them to peak at the right time. Once they establish themselves at their weight classes, I think we’ll be OK. It’s been going well so far. We have run different sessions throughout the day, trying to get the younger guys in and have small groups with them and then have a large practice in the afternoon. We have a good mix and a bunch of guys with the potential to be leaders.”

Lower Weights
If there were an Achilles heel to the 2016-17 Warriors, it came in the first two weight classes, where the Warriors started a mix of three freshmen and one sophomore throughout the season. The scrappiness of the group will improve with continued maturity at 133 and 141 pounds, but the Warriors’ lower weight lineup will likely consist of a new starter in each of the four weight classes.

Three freshmen will battle for the starting spot at 125 pounds, with Southern Columbia graduate Shane Casey (Catawissa, Pa./Southern Columbia) bringing the most impressive high school credentials, as he won 127 matches with the Tigers, qualifying for the state championships at 113 pounds in 2015 and going 34-11 at 120 pounds as a senior.

Cameron Terry (Ephrata, Pa./Ephrata) won a section title as a senior at 113 pounds at Ephrata and Chris Wig (Titusville, Pa./Titusville) won 52 matches in his prep career, placing at districts twice and wrestling the most frequently at 126 pounds as a senior.

Newcomers: Shane Casey, Fr., Catawissa, Pa./Southern Columbia; Cameron Terry, Fr., Ephrata, Pa./Ephrata; Chris Wig, Fr., Titusville, Pa./Titusville

Sophomore Jacob Chamberlin (Allenwood, Pa./Montgomery Area) returns after seeing significant time at 133 pounds as a rookie, where he won six matches and posted four falls. He will be challenged by Lock Haven University transfer Eric Hunt (Muncy, Pa./Warrior Run), a two-time state qualifier and district champion at Warrior Run, for the starting spot, giving the team some extra depth at the weight class.

Returners: Jacob Chamberlin, So., Allenwood, Pa./Montgomery Area; Connor Hurley, So., Williamsburg, Va./Jamestown.
Newcomers: Eric Hunt, So., Muncy, Pa./Warrior Run

Junior Andy Aguilar (Muncy, Pa./Muncy Area) appears poised to take the next step this season, as he will try to lockdown a starting role after serving as a backup in 2016-17. Aguilar posted a 9-8 record and placed twice at tournaments during the campaign. He enters the season ranked as honorable mention by

Junior Will Newmiller (Drexel Hill, Pa./Haverford), who won 11 matches at 133 pounds and sophomore Garrett Lockwood (Groton, N.Y./Groton), who won nine at 125 pounds, will challenge Aguilar for mat time.

Returners: Andy Aguilar, Jr., Muncy, Pa./Muncy Area; Garrett Lockwood, So., Groton, N.Y./Groton
Will Newmiller, Jr., Drexel Hill, Pa./Haverford.

With the loss of two-time All-American and the school’s all-time wins leader in Seth Lansberry ’17, the Warriors will look for a new wrestler at 149 pounds for the first time in four years. Luckily, depth won’t be an issue for the team at the weight class, as six grapplers will compete for time.

Junior Trevor Corl (Howard, Pa./Bellefonte Area) drops a weight class from 157 pounds to lead the group. In his first year with the team in 2016-17, Corl finished 11-8 and even advanced to the championship match at the RIT Invitational. A talented and tough wrestler, Corl won 112 matches, three district titles and a region crown at Bellefonte, advancing to states three times.

Freshman Chris Grecco (Riverdale, Pa./Pompton Lakes) set Pompton Lakes all-time wins mark, posting 126 wins in his career, which finished at 145 pounds in the regional finals.

Returners: Trevor Corl, Jr., Howard, Pa./Bellefonte Area; Chris Ruiz, So., Phillipsburg, N.J./Phillipsburg.
Newcomers: Chris Grecco, Fr., Riverdale, N.J./Pompton Lakes; Ethan Landis, Fr., Canton, Pa./Canton; Rayce Newswanger, Fr., Valley View, Pa./Tri-Valley; Keith Soules, Fr., Kinnelon, N.J./Kinnelon.

Coach’s Take: “We have three kids at 125 now – Chris Wig, Cameron Terry and Shane Casey, who is coming off an injury. We have to stay competitive there. We can’t give up bonus points. At 133, Chamberlin has to keep us in the matches and be competitive and not give up bonus points. That’s where we were last year and then at 141, we would start our runs. With Lansberry and Barger gone, we will have some mountains to climb.”

Middle Weights
In 2016-17, the middle four weight classes served as the beating heart of the lineup, with two All-Americans, an Academic All-American and the MAC Rookie of the Year occupying the four slots. With the graduation of the All-Americans, the Warriors will adjust, but also expect both 157-pound sophomore Hadyn Swartwood (Jersey Shore, Pa./Jersey Shore Area) and 174-pound senior Brandon Conrad (Bloomsburg, Pa./Bloomsburg Area) to continue their progression into the national spotlight.

In 2016-17, Swartwood sat in the middle of the heart of Lycoming’s version of murderer’s row, sandwiched in the lineup by All-Americans. He will once again be a key part of the team’s success, but the 2017 Middle Atlantic Conference Rookie of the Year will be pressing to move from the contender portion of the rankings and into the top 10 as the season progresses.

The Jersey Shore product went 30-9 as a freshman, stepping up to win nine matches by fall and 17 in bonus point style, making him one of the team’s most dangerous wrestlers in a dual meet.

Returners: Kyle Drick, Sr., Allenwood, Pa./Montgomery Area; Hadyn Swartwood, So., Jersey Shore, Pa./Jersey Shore Area.
Newcomers: Shane Rose, Fr., Glenside, Pa./Abington.

With the loss of three-time All-American Nolan Barger ’17, the Warriors have a three-way competition to earn the 165-pound starting job.

Junior Dallas Labar (Bangor, Pa./Bangor) brings the most collegiate match experience, as he went 14-12 while seeing time as a starter at 184 pounds in 2016-17 despite consistently weighing in at under 174 pounds. However, back to a more natural 165 pounds, Labar will provide a scrappy, tough aggressive presence.

Senior Kevin Keppler (Sewell, N.J./Washington Township) won seven matches at 165 pounds in his first year with the program, placing fifth at the 2017 MAC Championships.

Freshman Kyle Bennett (Montoursville, Pa./Montoursville) also brings a sterling reputation, as he won 97 matches in three seasons at Montoursville under Lycoming alum Jamie Yonkin ’99, placing sixth at the state championships in 2017.

Returners: Kevin Keppler, Sr., Sewell, N.J./Washington Township; Dallas Labar, Jr., Bangor, Pa./Bangor.
Newcomer: Kyle Bennett, Fr., Montoursville, Pa./Montoursville Area.

With back-to-back 30-win seasons under his belt, senior Brandon Conrad (Bloomsburg, Pa./Bloomsburg Area) enters the 2017-18 season as the top-ranked contender in’s rankings. A two-time Academic All-American, Conrad has already won 80 matches in his career and gives the team a workmanlike, intelligent wrestler. He has won 42 matches in his career by decision and grinds down opponents throughout the course of a match.

Returner: Brandon Conrad, Sr., Bloomsburg, Pa./Bloomsburg Area.

Coach’s Take: “165 is a toss-up right now. Dallas Labar, Kevin Keppler both saw some time last year and then the freshman Kyle Bennett is there, too. Hadyn Swartwood just needs to believe in himself and get some confidence early on. Last year, he surprised a lot of people with his ability. He won’t sneak up on anybody this year. The other thing is that with our region changing, the landscape of the kids he will face at the qualifying tournament has changed. He just needs to believe in himself and not make mistakes. With Brandon, it seems like we always run into some bad timing come February. We have had a conversation about how to make things work more efficiently so that he is training to what he needs to do and get the right amount of rest.”

Upper Weights
With two returning starters that combined for five wins at the 2017 NCAA Regional at 184 and 197 pounds, the Warriors will have the advantage of a talented group in the final three weight classes to help close out dual meets. Both junior Bradley Miccio (Bloomsburg, Pa./Benton Area) and sophomore Travis Ogden (Clearfield, Pa./Clearfield Area) are ranked in’s honorable mention rankings and appear poised to take the next step.

In his first year with the team, Miccio battled injuries, but came back to the lineup in mid-February and ended up one match away from placing at the NCAA Regional, finishing 12-10.

Sophomore Brandon Wilson (McClure, Pa./Mifflin County) is set for his first full season at 184 pounds and that could help him challenge Miccio for the starting slot after winning six matches at 184 and 197 as a rookie. Junior Dakota Pfeiffer (Sharpsburg, Md./Boonsboro) won seven bouts at 184 pounds as a sophomore, as he is a proven grappler that finished fourth at the MAC Championships.

Returners: Bradley Miccio, Jr., Bloomsburg, Pa./Benton Area; Dakota Pfeiffer, Jr., Sharpsburg, Md./Boonsboro; Brandon Wilson, So., McClure, Pa./Mifflin County

Ogden, like his former high school teammate Barger, will be one of the most exciting grapplers to watch for the Warriors. A lanky 6-0 frame, Ogden is a big move wrestler, which helped him win nine matches by fall and 18 by bonus points during his 27-11 rookie season. He won three matches at the NCAA Regional and has continued to work on the adjustment to the speed and strength of collegiate wrestling.

Junior Loc Long (Mill Hall, Pa./Central Mountain) moves down a weight class and sophomoreBrody Keefe (Effort, Pa./Pleasant Valley) moves up one to provide completion at the weight.

Returners: Brody Keefe, So., Effort, Pa./Pleasant Valley; Travis Ogden, So., Clearfield, Pa./Clearfield Area; Loc Long, Jr., Mill Hall, Pa./Central Mountain.

With the loss of starting heavyweight Skylar Ebner ’17, the Warriors have built their most crowded and possibly most competitive weight class at 285 pounds.

Junior Tom Lynd (Woodbury Heights, N.J./St. Augustine Prep) in any other year would have a line on the starting gig after going 19-9 with 15 pins and four tournament-place finishes in 2016-17. A big heavyweight that lives for the big move, Lynd has a 30-25 record in his career.

A talented group of newcomers will challenge him though. Junior Garrett Wesneski (Canton, Pa./Canton Area) will provide the toughest challenge, as the University of Maryland transfer won 12 matches in two seasons after winning 27 during a redshirt year. With the transfer, Wesneski moves up a weight class, but also gives the team an immediate threat for a NCAA qualifier.

Freshman Matt Galasso (Philadelphia, Pa./Roman Catholic) will also immediately compete for mat time after winning 59 matches in his last two years at Roman Catholic, qualifying for the state championships as a senior, and freshman Anthony Giordano (Scranton, Pa./West Scranton) was a district champ at West Scranton.

Returners: Noah Klingborg, Sr., Bethlehem, Pa./Liberty; Tom Lynd, Jr., Woodbury Heights, N.J./St. Augustine Prep; Nick Roberts, Jr., Muncy, Pa./Muncy Area.
Newcomers: John Downey, Fr., Freehold, N.J./Freehold Borough; Matt Galasso, Fr., Philadelphia, Pa./Roman Catholic; Anthony Giordano, Fr., Scranton, Pa./West Scranton; Garrett Wesneski, Jr., Canton, Pa./Canton.

Coach’s Take: “At 184, Miccio and Wilson are still fighting it out. Ogden is the frontrunner at 197. Loc Long cut down from heavyweight and got his weight under control. We have five or six guys at heavyweight, but our top two for right now look like Wesneski and Tom Lynd until Galasso finishes with football. We’re pleased that Garrett is finally with us. We thought he was going to be with us right out of high school, but he had a great state tournament and ended up at Maryland. His dad, Lyle ’96, wrestled for me and was a three-time national qualifier for me, so he has a legacy there. At heavyweight the last couple years, we were fair, but we didn’t have a kid who could get to the next level. I think we have one in Garrett.”

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