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November 18, 2006

PSU Wrestlers finish seventh at Oneonta State Invitational

ONEONTA, N.Y. - Five Plymouth State University wrestlers placed in the top six in their respective weight classes Saturday, leading the Panthers to a seventh place finish among 15 schools at the annual Oneonta State (N.Y.) Red Dragon Invitational.

New York University won the all-day event, scoring 112.5 points, while Cortland State (97) edged Oneonta State (96) for second. Johns Hopkins was fourth (89.5), followed by Southern Maine (85.5), Wilkes (81), Plymouth State (80), Hunter (68.5), RIT (66), Scranton (38.5), WPI (29.5), Morrisville (15.5) and SUNY Maritime (4). Cortland and Wilkes were top-20 finishers at the NCAA Championships last season.

It was one of PSU's top performances in recent years at the Oneonta Tournament. There were 20 Panther wrestlers in the competition, with 14 winning at least two matches. Five Panthers were place-winners, and four others were just one win away from earning a place in their weight class.

The top Plymouth State performance came from junior Ryan Schieding (Manchester, N.H./Memorial), who finished fourth in the 157-pound bracket. After losing to the second seed in his second match, Schieding rebounded to win five straight bouts in the backdraw, including two wins over seeded wrestlers. Schieding finished the tournament with a 6-2 record.

Three Panthers placed fifth in their bracket - senior Matt Friend (Jefferson, N.H.) at 133 pounds, freshman Donny Connolly (Plaistow, N.H./Timberlane) at 165, and freshman Josh St. Ours (Manchester, N.H./Memorial) at 197. Junior Shaun Wilbert (Toms River, N.J.) ended up in sixth place in the 285-pound division.

Friend, the #5 seed this year after placing fourth in the tournament a year ago, won four of his six matches this year, including wins over two seeded wrestlers. Connolly recorded a 5-2 record in the tournament, posting three straight wins in the backdraw after suffering his first loss. St. Ours won four of his six bouts, including an upset of a seeded wrestler in his first match.

A pair of PSU 125-pounders, junior Chris Greenwood (Manchester, N.H./West) and freshman Fred Wilkinson (Quogue, N.Y.), each posted 3-2 records and finished one win short of placing. Freshman Jared Laganas (Dracut, Mass.) also went 3-2 at 149 pounds, and freshman Dan Burke (Salem, N.H.) did the same at 184.

The Panthers will be back in action with the first home match of the season, a dual against Rhode Island College on Wednesday, Nov. 29, at Foley Gymnasium (7:00 p.m.)

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