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Plymouth State Wrestlers to make 2006-07 season debut

PLYMOUTH, N.H. - The Plymouth State University wrestling team will make a pair of road trips to Vermont and New York this week to kick off the 2006-07 season.

The Panthers will face Norwich University this Wednesday, Nov. 15, in a dual meet in the season opener at 7:30 p.m., and will make the annual visit to Oneonta, N.Y. for this Saturday's (Nov. 18) Oneonta State Red Dragon Invitational.

PSU's home opener at Foley Gymnasium is a dual meet against Rhode Island College at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 29. The rest of the first semester schedule includes the Southern Maine Tournament the first Saturday in December, and a quad-meet at Roger Williams the following Saturday.

Highlights of the second semester include three tournaments in January -- the North/South Duals at Ursinus (Pa.) on the 6th, the PSU Invitational on the 14th, and the New England Conference Dual Meet Championships on the 21st. The Panthers also have a home quad match on Jan. 27 with Bridgewater State, MIT and Norwich, and the all-important New England Conference Championships are slated for the third weekend in February at Roger Williams.

2006-07 PSU Wrestling Outlook

Second-year head coach Jason Holder welcomes back 10 veterans to this year's squad, including two All-New England wrestlers. PSU has also added depth to the squad, with a roster of 26, including 13 freshmen.

"We have a lot of talent on this year's team," says Holder (right), a former high school All-American at Timberlane (N.H.). "We have a solid nucleus of returning starters and some good competition for the open spots in the line-up."

The Panthers are coming off an eighth place finish out of 15 teams at the New England Championships after a 6-13 dual match campaign. Holder says this year's team can do better than that.

"We should be stronger this year than last," says Holder. "Most of our key guys are back, and we've all got another year under our belts. They know more what to expect from me, and what it'll take to be successful."

Leading the group of returnees is a pair of New England place winners -- senior Matt Friend (Jefferson, N.H./White Mountain Regional) and junior Shaun Wilbert (Toms River, N.J./Toms River South). Friend placed fifth at the New England Championships at 133 pounds and finished with a 14-9 record, and Wilbert is a two-time All-New England wrestler at 285, placing sixth in 2005 and moving up to third last season. He posted a 21-12 record last winter.

Other key returnees include sophomore Shawn Moseley (Hooksett, N.H./Concord HS/Tilton Prep) at 133 pounds, senior Billy Wilbert (Toms River, N.J./Toms River South) at 197, and junior Ryan Schieding (Manchester, N.H./Memorial) at 157. Moseley tied for the team lead in wins last year with a 21-10 record, placing in three different tournaments, while the others have done well despite battling injuries.

Holder says the top newcomers are freshmen Jared Laganas (Dracut, Mass.) at 149 pounds, Josh St. Ours (Manchester, N.H./Memorial) at 184, Donny Connolly (Plaistow, N.H./Timberlane) at 165, Joe McGowan (Lincolnville, Maine/Camden Hills) at 133, and Fred Wilkinson (Quogue, N.Y./Riverhead) at 125.

"We're aiming high again this year," says Holder. "Our focus is the New England Tournament. Our goal is to place as high as possible in the New England Conference. If we work hard and stay disciplined, we have the nucleus for a good season."

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