Wrestling team has four former state qualifers
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 whose missed the last two postseasons due to injury.
“We have a nice line up 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 6-7 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 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 for the Tigers. Junior Donovan White, who went 7-15 as a sophomore is slated at 126.
Will Dellicker (145) returns to this year’s line up and will be in the middle weights. While he was a regular in the line up 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 line up, but he was too small. I’m excited to see how he does.”
With nearly a full line up and plenty of returning and incoming talent, the Tigers look to improve on last season’s 6-2 Colonial League record. They reached the Colonial League and district team semifinals last season and hope to improve on that this year.