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PSU Wrestling gearing up for 2012-13 season opener

Panthers make debut Wednesday at Norwich

            PLYMOUTH, N.H. – The Plymouth State University wrestling team begins a long and grueling season this week on the road with a dual match on Wednesday and a tournament on Saturday.

            The Panthers will begin the campaign Wednesday, Nov. 14, at rival Norwich University in Northfield, Vt., and then travel to Springfield College on Saturday, Nov. 17, for the annual Doug Parker Invitational.

   
  Head Coach Matt Eldredge
   

            PSU will hold its only home match of the first semester at Foley Gymnasium the Wednesday after Thanksgiving, Nov. 28, against Rhode Island College (7:00 p.m.). The Panthers will host two events next semester, a tri-meet and a quad the first two weekends in February.

            Other tournament action for the Panthers this season includes the Ted Reese Invitational at the University of Southern Maine, the Scott Viera Invitational at Roger Williams University, and the New England Dual Meet Championships.

             The post-season slate is different this year, with the Panthers competing at the NCAA Northeast Regionals at Worcester Polytechnic Institute the first weekend in March.  The NCAA Division III Championships are March 15-16 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

2012-13 PSU Wrestling Outlook

            Head coach Matt Eldredge welcomes back 15 veterans to this year's squad, including six who have been starters in the past two years and three who have earned All-New England honors.  The Panthers are coming off an eighth place finish in the New England Championships.

            Leading the group of returnees is senior Femi Wheeler (Mamaroneck, N.Y./Mamaroneck), a two-time All-New England wrestler.  He was sixth in New England at 141 pounds two years ago and New England runner-up at 157 last year.  Wheeler is coming off a 21-7 season a year ago and owns a career record of 58-32.

            Seniors James Matlack (Ewing, N.J.) and Cody Oliverio (Brick, N.J.) and also returning All-New England wrestlers and join Wheeler as team captains.  Matlack placed fifth in New England at 165 pounds in 2011, while Oliverio was sixth at 149 the same year.  Both are looking for big senior seasons.

            "Our three senior captains are outstanding leaders, both on and off the mat," said Eldredge.  "We're hoping for them to have big senior seasons and make a push to place in the newly formed regionals. They'll be looking to place in the top three in their weight classes to advance to the national championships."

            Another key wrestler is junior Alex Cronin (Merrimack, N.H.), who is a returning starter at 133 pounds.  Sophomores Josh Thornton (Rumford, Maine) at 141 and Adam Reed (Barre, Vt.) in the heavyweight division gained valuable experience last year and will be looking to make an impact this season.  Freshman 174-pounder Chris Perrault (St. Johnsbury, Vt.) looks like the top newcomer, according to Eldredge.

            "I'm excited about the post-season regional format," said Eldredge.  "The top three in each weight class will automatically advance to the NCAA's, instead of having to rely on coaches voting for at-large wrestlers.  If you perform on the mat, you qualify; it's that simple and fair.  We'll be looking to have several of our guys qualify."

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