NCAA wrestling tournament looms large...
Comment: NCAA wrestling tournament looms large | PennLive.com
Boise State dropped in this week?s NCAA Division I poll.
No, not that poll.
It was InterMat?s D-I wrestling poll, where the Broncos fell from No. 2 to No. 5.
But unbeaten Boise State (2-0-1 thanks to a tie against Oregon State) doesn?t have to worry about BCS subjectivity in wrestling, where it will get to prove itself on the mats during a 2010-11 season that will conclude in Pennsylvania.
Three months from Friday the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, which run from March 17-19, will begin at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.
While the Fantastic Four (Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels) are warming up in spring training, college wrestling?s Super Bowl will return to the state for the first time since Penn State hosted in 1999.
The 2011 tournament looms as a magical event where eastern wrestling could plant its flag on the summit for the first time since Penn State won the national title in 1953 (and just the second time ever).
Iconic Cael Sanderson?s Nittany Lions, ranked No. 7, are perhaps a year away from winning it all. But, if everything falls right, they could make a Cinderella dream-scenario run on home-state soil.
The early-season favorite is No. 1 Cornell, which is almost Pennsylvania by proxy.
Big Red head coach Rob Koll is the son of late legendary Penn State head coach Bill Koll, and assistant coach Jeremy Spates is the son of Oklahoma head coach Jack Spates, who was a national champion at Slippery Rock. Central Dauphin?s Marshall Peppelman is on the team but behind fourth-ranked Justin Kerber at 165 on the depth chart.
The excellence of Pennsylvania wrestlers, regardless of which school they?re competing for, is always a subtext of the NCAA tournament. In a follow-up homage to Phil Davis, the 2011 event could see the full flowering of District 3 on the national stage.
Cocalico?s Steve Fittery, a transfer from Shippensburg University, is ranked No. 1 at 157 for American University. Middletown?s Tyler Nauman (No. 8 at 141 for Pitt), Susquehanna Twp.?s Ed Ruth (No. 11 at 174 for Penn State), Central Dauphin?s Walter Peppelman (No. 12 at 157 for Harvard), Central Dauphin?s Tony Dallago (No. 15 at 184 for Illinois) and Cedar Cliff?s Rob Morrison (No. 19 at 174 for Ryder) are all currently ranked.
In addition, Cedar Cliff?s Brian Ortenzio (133 for Penn), Northern?s Brandon Bucher (141-149 for George Mason) and Dallastown?s Jon Childress (125 for Liberty) all qualified for the NCAA tournament last season but aren?t currently ranked.
The 2011 tournament is going to be a three-day novel marbled by central Pennsylvania plot lines.
My Christmas anticipation is going to linger long after Dec. 25.
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