WILLIAMSPORT — Coming off a 13th-place finish at the 2019 NCAA Championships thanks to the performance from national champion heavyweight Garrett Wesneski, the Lycoming College wrestling team will turn a page to a new era in 2019-20 under 27th-year head coach Roger Crebs.
Although Wesneski will be relegated to the sidelines as a volunteer assistant, the Warriors still return two NCAA qualifiers and three that placed at the Southeast Regional. However, there will be plenty of new talent in the lineup as well, as seven grapplers that placed in their respective state tournaments have joined the team this year.
Lycoming will, as usual, face a tough schedule to get it ready for the NCAA Southeast Regional in late February.
Junior Shane Casey, a graduate of Southern Columbia High School, gives the Warriors a solid spot to start in the lineup, as he enjoyed an injury-free season as a sophomore, posting a 17-12 record and finishing fifth at the NCAA Regional. With more experience, Casey is set to continue his development in 2019-20.
Freshman Sam Hanley, who was 28-10 with 13 pins at 120 pounds as a senior at Northampton Area, will battle with junior Chris Wig for the starting slot. Hurley posted a 3-2 record in dual meets at 133 in 2019 and Wig was a two-time district placewinner at Titusville.
Junior Ethan Landis notched a 4-4 mark as a sophomore while struggling through an injury-filled season. Healthy, Landis won 79 matches at Canton Area and could be a factor in the lineup this year. Senior Connor Hurley will start the year at 141, also working to win a starting spot, and sophomore Darren Rich will also fight for time in the starting 10.
Senior Joe Santomarco returns for his senior year after going 17-6 overall with eight pins and two wins at the NCAA Southeast Regional, as the 149-pounder will try for a breakthrough year after a career in which he has won 64 matches. Junior Josiah McClarren will also work to earn time in the starting 10 after going 7-5 with a pin and two technical falls in 2018-19.
Senior Trevor Corl, 2018 All-American and the 2019 Southeast Regional champion, enters the 2018-19 season as the ninth-ranked wrestler in the country after posting a 26-4 record in his second year as a starter. He notched nine technical falls and had a 17-1 record in dual meets before reaching the round of 12 at the NCAA Championships, falling one match shy of earning his second straight All-American honors.
McClarren, freshman Preston Rogers, a section champion as a senior at 145 pounds, and freshman Paul Santomarco, a three-time district champion and a state qualifier at 152 pounds in New Jersey, will also work to see time in the lineup.
The Warriors will use a mix of two grapplers at 165 pounds, led by sophomore Ryan Bohringer, who posted a 9-7 record with all of his wins coming by pin during the season. Freshmen Hunter O’Connor will work for a starting spot immediately, as he won 115 matches at Jersey Shore and was a two-time placewinner at the state tournament.
A year after moving up a weight class to 165 pounds and reaching the NCAA Championships for the first time, senior Hadyn Swartwood has continued to grow and get stronger, meaning another weight class change. Swartwood provides a steady presence in a weight class that has shuffled around in the past few seasons, as he went 21-9 as a junior with eight falls. Freshman Conner Boal will also provide depth after placing fifth in his region as a senior at Holy Spirit.
One of the most interesting weight class battles will come at 184 pounds where freshmen Mason Novak and Gable Crebs each enter Lycoming having won 100 matches in their prep career. Novak won 117 matches at Upper Dublin with 59 pins, winning three section championships, and Crebs won 107 matches at Montoursville, placing seventh at the state championships as a senior. Freshman Peter Kenny, a district champ as a senior, could also factor into the weight class.
Senior Brody Keefe returns after going 6-8 with four pins in 2018-19, but he will be challenged at the weight class by several newcomers. Freshmen Michael Kustanbauter, who won 131 matches and was a state qualifier as a senior after winning 39 matches as a senior at Muncy, and Tym Nevadomsky, won 75 matches and was a two-time district placewinner at Pottsville, will also challenge for the top spot at the weight class.
After the loss of Wesneski to graduation, the Warriors will look to a mix of young grapplers to earn time in the heavyweight division, along with senior Steve Longazel, who served as Wesneski’s workout partner the past two years. Freshman Frank Veloce won 58 matches at West York with two 20-win seasons and sophomore Warren Russell will provide depth after transferring from Brockport.