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This Week in College Wrestling: High school super tournaments put future college talents on display



By Jason Bryant
jbryant@intermatwrestle.com


The last two weekends have been a dream for any fan of elite level high school wrestling. With the two most premier events in the nation finishing up in Ohio and Delaware, fans got an early glimpse of the stars of tomorrow scrapping and clawing for titles at both the Walsh Ironman and Beast of the East.

With upsets clouding the results at the Beast, nine finalists had signed in the early signing period. While one of Division I's top programs - Penn State - had a pair of finalists in Frank Molinaro of Southern Regional, N.J., and Jared Platt of Blair Academy., it there was another school that had two finalists and it might surprise you.

Delaware State.

That's right, the historically black college in Dover and second-year coach Earl Walker has started recruiting wrestlers to his program that has been the doormat of, not just of the East Region, but the entire wrestling landscape.

Walker's team is still struggling this year, but with a dedicated focus on recruiting and throwing some available scholarship money around, the wheels are turning in the right direction.

Two of those wrestlers were in the finals - 112-pound champion Eric Olanowski of Kellam in Virginia Beach, Va., and 140-pound runner-up Tommy Abbott of St. Mark's in Wilmington, Del.

Other Beast finalists that signed are: 119-pound runner-up Chris Sheetz of Upper Perkiomen, Pa. (Bloomsburg), both 130-pound finalists Tyler Nauman of Middletown, Pa. (Pittsburgh) and Blair Academy's Kellen Russell (Michigan), 145-pound runner-up Molinaro, 171-pound runner-up Kyle Kiss of Ocean Township, N.J. (North Carolina), and 215-pound champion Cody Gardner of Christiansburg, Va. (Virginia Tech).

Gardner joins elite company. He's the fourth three-time champ of the event, but the third national name since the event morphed from the Mid-Atlantic Classic into the Beast.

Zack Esposito won it three times for Blair Academy and went on to be a three-time All-American at Oklahoma State, while DeMatha grad and current University of Maryland assistant coach Todd Beckerman was a two-time All-American at Nebraska.

Fifteen Ironman finalists had signed or committed, four of them were in the finals at the Beast. Notable Ironman champs that have signed are: Sheetz, Boris Novachkov of Fremont, Calif. (Cal Poly), Russell, Gardner, St. Edward's Chris Honeycutt (Edinboro), and Montini Catholic, Ill., senior Mikey Benefiel (Northwestern).

Mocs upend Buckeyes

While Tom Ryan has garnered national attention because of a solid early recruiting class and his old school's success, the first-year Ohio State coach wound up falling to another first-year coach, Chris Bono and his UT-Chattanooga Mocs.

With two starters out for Ohio State and two new starters in the lineup for UTC, the Mocs came away from Columbus with a 28-13 win in Columbus.

Matt Koz and Josh Edmonson were in UTC singlets for the first time, while T.J. Enright (133) and Jeff Jaggers (141) were out for Ohio State. The Mocs picked up 10 points in the two weights, while Koz answered with a pleasing 13-7 win over Corey Morrison at heavyweight.

The Mocs moved into the USA Today/InterMat/NWCA Coaches Poll for the first time this season, tying a school-record for highest rank at 18.

Golden Eye

Last year was a season to forget for Clarion University. The once proud wrestling program had fallen on hard times, finished 0-17 and had an embarrassing loss to Division III York College.

Under first-year coach and Pennsylvania native Teague Moore, the Golden Eagles are winning. No, they're not beating the Edinboro's of the world, but they are 4-4 through eight matches this year, snagging wins over East Stroudsburg, American International, Duquesne and Millersville.

You've got to crawl before you can walk.

I'll show you

Cal Poly heavyweight Cody Parker was a two-time NCAA qualifier heading into this season and was looking to finish his career where he'd started - Fresno State. But after the powers-that-be at Fresno State heinously dropped the program, Parker had to pack his bags and head to San Luis Obsipo, roughly 140 miles southwest on Highway 41.

The end result - at least on Monday - were two wins over nationally-ranked opponents. His first was an overtime victory over Oklahoma State's Jared Rosholt, then he topped Cal State-Fullerton's Wade Sauer.

Cal Poly's campus is gorgeous and Parker's winning, but like all the displaced Fresno State wrestlers, we're pretty sure they'd like to be winning in the Central Valley.

Memo to Thomas Boeh: We can win against the big boys.
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