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Penn College wrestling makes history with win

November 19, 2011 - Mitch Rupert

Schuyler Frey talked to his Penn College wrestling team prior to Wednesday’s dual meet and told them how they were making history. And it wasn’t exactly an exaggeration.

Last night’s match against PSU Greater Allegheny was the first home match wrestled by a Penn College team since 1983. The program, in its second year of existence since being reinstated a year ago, opened the new era of Penn College wrestling quite impressively last night.

The Wildcats won all six of the contested bouts, and five of the six were bonus-point victories as Penn College won, 47-12.

“We had a couple guys who were really excited, like Kyle Sunseri, he’s the very first Penn College wrestler to win a match in this gym,” Frey said. “He’s setting history. I told the guys we’re setting history, let’s take advantage of the opportunity.”

Penn College certainly did take advantage. The results were drastically different from Saturday when the Wildcats lost to NCAA Division III Elizabethtown, 39-6.

After two forfeits by the Wildcats to open the match, Penn College quickly erased that deficit with a second-period pin from Sunseri, an Athens graduate, and Drew Zettle, who picked up his fall in just 34 seconds. It was more than Frey could have asked from his team. Forfeiting the first two weights, the second-year head coach knew his kids were going to need to find bonus points throughout the night to make up for the forfeits at 125 and 133 pounds.

Even after those first two pins, Troy graduate Derek Leiby won by technical fall at 157 and Tyler Myers won by fall in the first period at 165.

Paul Crutchlow (decision at 174 pounds) and Alex Myers (decision at 285 pounds) were also winners for Penn College.

“I felt like we kept (the momentum) the whole time,” said Leiby, a former fourth-place finisher in the PIAA Class AA tournament. “Even the close matches I feel like we were into it the whole time. Starting off with a couple pins got us back into it and kept the ball rolling.”

By the time Leiby finished his technical fall (15-0, 5:29), the Wildcats took their first lead 17-12. It was a lead they never relinquished. The only wins of the night for the Lions were the two forfeits to open the match.

The consensus about the loss to Elizabethtown over the weekend seemed to be that it was a good thing for a Penn College team that had eight freshmen in the lineup. Frey wanted to put his team through a match like the one with Elizabethtown for the same reasons he’s taking his wrestlers to the Mat Town Open in Lock Haven and the Nittany Lion Open at Penn State.

He knows the tough competition is only going to make his wrestlers that much tougher when it comes time for the PSUAC season. Last night, the Wildcats looked more polished and in better shape.

“I think it opened our eyes and gave us a little kick in the rear,” said Sunseri about the Elizabethtown match. “That was a pretty tough team and I know I made a couple mistakes that ended up costing me a couple points. I thought I came in here and capitalized on everything I learned from (Elizabethtown).”

“Everybody took their lumps that match,” Leiby said. “This one helps us get our confidence back a little bit. Hopefully it carries over into Saturday and helps us do well in that match as well.”

Frey is dealing with a little different situation than most college programs. Class schedules for team members aren’t built around practice time. Some nights there will be 15 wrestlers in the room for practice. Other nights there may be as few as six.

And it’s not as if the school is giving scholarships for the wrestling program. Most of those on the team are here because they enjoy the sport. Some haven’t wrestled in two or three years, Frey said.

In Sunseri’s case, he was planning to come to Penn College regardless of whether there was wrestling or not. Being able to join the wrestling team was a bonus. Leiby was in school a year ago but was unable to join the club team because of his class schedule. Last night he showed why he was such a dominant wrestler for Troy during his high school days, and why he could be a force for the Wildcats.

He scored 10 back points in his match with four armbar tilts against the Lions’ Tyler Spencer.

“A couple guys went to other colleges that didn’t have wrestling, and then they find out we have wrestling and they transferred here,” Frey said. “They’re wanting to re-live stuff. One of the things I’m impressed with the whole group is in practice, there’s hardly ever a time I have to get on them to work. I lead them through drills to technique and get them going, going and going.”

“We’re just here for the love of the sport,” Leiby said.

And while they’re here, maybe they’ll make a little history. The Wildcats got off to a good start with that last night.

125: Nick Hough, PSU, won by forfeit. 133: Thomas Studney, PSU, won by forfeit. 141: Kyle Sunseri, PC, pin Jerritt Young, 3:49. 149: Drew Zettle, PC, pinned Soham Salvi, :34. 157: Derek Leiby, PC, tech. fall Tyler Spencer, 15-0, 5:29. 165: Tyler Myers, PC, pinned Tyler McElhany, 2:34. 174: Paul Crutchlow, PC, dec. Matt Lago, 3-0. 184: Logan Gresock, PC, won by forfeit. 197: Cameron Price, PC, won by forfeit. 235: Jasper Ocker, PC, won by forfeit. 285: Alex Myers, PC, dec. Andre Eliis, 9-4. Takedowns: Penn College 10, PSU Greater Allegheny 1.

Official: Mark Dawson.

Records: Penn College (1-1, 1-0 PSUAC); PSU Great Allegheny (0-1, 0-1).


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