Northwestern wrestling hopes to build off past success
Members of the Northwestern wrestling team for the 2017-18 season include, front row from left, Jake Dellicker, Ben Griffiths, Anthony Russo, Harrison Bernhard, Blake Brunner; middle row, Will Dellicker, Jackson Bernahard, Tyler Watson, Jack Casciano, Matt Peters, Ryan Haverkamp, Colin Rex; back row, Ryan Fink, Caleb Clymer, Donovan White, Peter Yablonski, Anthony Martinez, Hayden Bobbyn, Isaac Bredbenner, and Quin Moyer. NANCY SCHOLZ/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS
Coming off an impressive individual postseason last year, the Northwestern wrestling team looks to build off the success it had last February and March when it sent four wrestlers to the state championships, including third-place finisher Caleb Clymer.
The Tigers return three of those state qualifiers from last year’s team. They will also welcome back a few grapplers who missed all or part of last season, including senior Matt Peters, a state qualifier as a freshman who missed the last two postseasons due to injury.
“We have a nice lineup this year and everybody is hungry to do well,” said Clymer. “We really want it this year and I think we can take at least five guys to states.”
Last season, the Tigers gave up at least a forfeit or two per match. This season, they might have trouble filling one spot early in the season, but eventually they hope to have all 14 spots filled.
“We might not have a 113-pounder,” said Northwestern head coach Jim Moll. “I have a couple kids certified there, whether they will get down or not, we’ll see.”
Last season, the Tigers also struggled to fill the upper weights. This year, Quin Moyer (220) returns after not wrestling during his junior season, and senior Hayden Bobbyn (285) joins the team to give Moyer a sparring partner.
Moll said there are six or seven wrestlers from 170-on-up that could fill the upper weights in front of Moyer and Bobbyn.
Clymer will wrestle at 170 early in the season, but plans to get to 160 for the postseason. Last year, he won districts and took second at regionals at 152 before earning third place in Hershey, finishing the year at 44-5. This year, he’s looking to stand atop the podium in Chocolatetown.
“State title is definitely the goal,” he said. “Anything less than that is going to be a disappointment.”
Joining Clymer in Hershey last year were Jackson Bernhard, Colin Rex and graduate Baily Wehr. Rex and Bernhard finished fifth and sixth, respectively at districts, but still made it through regionals. Rex got to states by beating two wrestlers who he went a combined 0-5 against during the regular season. Bernhard beat an opponent at regionals that had beaten him three times before that meeting.
“Both had the tournament of their life last year at regionals,” said Moll. “Those two should have a ton of confidence from how they wrestled in the postseason.”
Senior Isaac Bredbenner (160) went just 8-16 last year, but Moll said he and the Bernhard brothers, Jackson and Harrison, have spent a lot of time in the weight room during the offseason and are ready for big seasons.
Sophomore Harrison Bernhard (132) is back after going 22-14 last season and taking sixth at districts. Peters, who missed the latter half of last year’s season with an injury, will be around 138 this season. Junior Donovan White, who went 7-15 as a sophomore, is slated at 126.
Will Dellicker (145) returns to this year’s lineup, and will be in the middleweights. While he was a regular last year, Dellicker did not wrestle in the individual postseason.
Sophomore Jake Dellicker will take the mat at 106, and could see success in his first varsity season after honing his skills at the junior high level last year.
“He was only about 90 pounds last year, so we kept him down,” said Moll. “I would have liked to have him in the varsity lineup, but he was too small. I’m excited to see how he does.”
With nearly a full lineup and plenty of returning and incoming talent, the Tigers look to improve on last season’s 6-2 Colonial League record. They reached the league and district team semifinals last season, and hope to improve on that this year.