PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Barring another November snowstorm, the Plymouth State College wrestling team will open the 1998-99 campaign this Saturday (Nov. 14) at the Colonial Open in Binghamton, NY.
The Panthers were scheduled to open last season in Binghamton, but a blizzard kept the Panthers in Plymouth and unable to make the trip. Fourth-year head coach Dave Carlson doesn't anticipate any such problems this year, and is looking forward to opening the season.
With a third place at the '98 New England championships and a 17th at the NCAA nationals, PSC enhanced its position as a top collegiate wrestling program. Carlson and the Panthers will miss former assistant coach Chad Brakke, who was a tireless assistant with the team the past three years, but Carlson is fortunate to have the aid of former PSC All-Americans Brian Borkowski and Dave Lucia, who are serving as assistant coaches this season.
Plymouth State is ranked third in the New England Division III Coaches pre-season poll, and seventh in the New England All-Division Coaches pre-season poll. After the Binghamton trip, PSC goes to Springfield next Saturday (Nov. 21) for the annual Doug Parker Invitational, then hosts Rhode Island College in the first home match on Dec. 2nd .
"I believe we are looking at another fine season, with our newly renovated facility and an accomplished staff," said Carlson. "Furthermore, we are fortunate to have some solid leadership in our line-up. Our three seniors have all been major contributors as underclassmen and are ready to lead the team through the ‘98-'99 campaign."
The three seniors are Ryan Carr (Salem, NH), Todd Oljey (Byfield, MA) and Russ Pamulak (Indianola, IA). Carr is a two-time New England runner-up at 190 pounds who has a career record of 51-26, and is gunning for a conference title this season. Oljey is a two-time New England place-winner at 142 with a 52-32 career mark, and Pamulak was fourth last season at 177 and owns a 33-17 career ledger.
"These seniors have worked incredibly hard and are ready to lead the team," said Carlson. "We also have a promising class of recruits and transfers. A major key to our success will be staying healthy. We've got some good depth in our lower weights, but we are a little thin in the upper weights."
Junior Ben Baker (Gardiner, ME) should also be one of PSC's top wrestlers. He posted a 19-11 record last season and finished second in New England at 167 pounds. Other returning starters that Carlson hopes will have big years include senior Mike DeRoehn (Warren, NH) at 149 pounds, junior Shawn Kain (Lakeville, MA) at 157, and junior Nick Volpe (Holmdel, NJ) at 133.
"Our goals are the same every year," says Carlson. "We're always looking to win the New England conference and be competitive at the NCAA Tournament. That's what we train for. We try to peak at the end of the year."
-- 30 --