Friday, November 3, 2017

SEASON PREVIEW: Bloomsburg University Wrestling Ready to Open 2017-18 Campaign

BLOOMSBURG, Pa. - The Bloomsburg University wrestling team is set to begin its 2017-18 campaign under second year head coach Marcus Gordon.

The Huskies finished the 2016-17 season with a dual record of 4-17.

"Our expectations are to get better every day, we want to improve on our record last year and get guys to the national tournament," said Gordon.

Bloomsburg was picked seventh in the Eastern Wrestling League (EWL) preseason coaches' poll released back on Oct. 17. Four wrestlers were picked in the top five of their individual weight classes.

Sophomore Willy Girard is picked sixth at 125 pounds, after a 10-win season last year at that weight class.

"He's gotten bigger and stronger, his technique has improved and I think he'll be pretty tough at 125," said Gordon.

Redshirt senior Andy Schutz is picked fifth at 133 pounds, after redshirting last season.

"He's been part of the program, he's matured and he's really ready to get after it this season," said Gordon. "He's a kid who really used his redshirt year to be a big benefit for him,".

Gordon also leans on Schutz to be a team leader this year, with the Exeter, Pa. native now in his fifth year.

His technique and strength have gotten better, and he's grown into a wrestler, so I'm excited to see what he does this year," said Gordon.

Freshman Shawn Orem is picked sixth in the 141-pound weight class, while fellow rookie Ryan Stocku is picked seventh at 149 pounds. Redshirt senior Kevin Laubach is picked fourth at 157 pounds after an 11-win campaign last season, with five of his wins coming at that weight class.

"He {Laubach} has had the experience, so we're expecting him to do well," said Gordon.

Sophomore Nate Newberry is picked sixth at 165 pounds after earning two wins last season. Sophomore Kyle Murphy was voted sixth at 174 after picking up 15 wins during his freshman season. Redshirt sophomore Trevor Allard was voted sixth at 184 pounds after earning 18 wins last season, with 11 of them coming in dual competition. Redshirt sophomore Saul Wilkins was picked fourth at 197 pounds, after redshirting last season. Rouding out the rankings was sophomore Bruce Graeber, who ranked fifth in the 285-pound weight class. Graeber won 13 matches in his rookie campaign, including four in dual matches.

"Kyle Murphy, Trevor Allard and Bruce Graeber all have a year behind them, so it will be exciting to see how well they do after one year of wrestling at the Division I level," said Gordon.

Gordon spoke very highly of his young group, which has grown from a team that started eight freshmen just one season ago.

"They've grown tremendously from last year to this year," said Gordon.

Gordon also noted his 12 true freshmen and one redshirt freshman in Anthony Vetrano.

"Last year we started freshmen, and this year we have upper classmen pushing them and getting in their face," said Gordon. "The freshmen this year are very motivated, they go hard every day at practice and it's fun to see them push the upper classmen,".

Gordon touched on the schedule facing his team this season, including several Top-25 matchups.

After the Clarion Open on Sunday (Nov. 5), the Huskies will head to Boone, N.C. for the Mountaineer Duals against Appalachian State and Davidson. The home opener is slated for Nov. 16 when Bloomsburg welcomes Indiana to the Nelson Fieldhouse, before traveling to Army West Point on the 19th for the Black Knight Invitational. Bloomsburg will compete at the Mat Town Open on Nov. 26 at Lock Haven, before traveling to George Mason to open EWL competition on Dec. 2nd. Dec. 9 will be the PSAC Championships hosted by Edinboro University, before a road match at Lock Haven on the 16th and a home match against Virginia on the 17th. The Huskies will hit the road to start the month of January 2018, traveling to EWL foe Edinboro (Jan. 6) and then to Hofstra for a non-conference match on the 14th. Bloomsburg will return to the friendly confines of Nelson Fieldhouse on Jan. 21 for the Bloomsburg duals, where they will take on Virginia Military Institute (VMI) and Sacred Heart. The Huskies conclude the regular season with two non-conference matches on the road, at Binghamton (Feb. 11) and at Bucknell (Feb. 17).

"There are seven schools in our conference, and two of them are ranked in the Top 25," said Gordon.

He also touched on the match against the University of Virginia on Dec. 17 at Bloomsburg's Nelson Fieldhouse.

"They finished last year ranked 15th in the nation, lost one national qualifier and will come back stronger than they were last year," said Gordon.

The Huskies will open the season this Sunday (Nov. 5) at the Clarion Open going up against individuals from Clarion, Cleveland State, Indiana, Kent State, Lock Haven, Utah Valley, Virginia and West Virginia among others. 

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