Courtesy of Tom Fox
Sports Editor, Lock Haven Express
LOCK HAVEN, Pa. - Sitting in his office at Thomas Fieldhouse, head wrestling coach Rocky Bono talks about each one of the athletes in his current recruiting class.
As he describes each young man, he talks with pride about what each person could mean to the Lock Haven University wrestling program.
Not only does he talk about their high school accomplishments, but about the athlete as a person. He talks about the traits, maybe about their families.
When asked to sum up the Bald Eagles 2007 recruiting class, Bonomo doesnt have to think twice.
This is potential-wise, credential-wise, one of the best we've ever had, said Bono. Our staff worked hard on finding these kids. I honestly believe many of them will be impact athletes.
â€œThis class is deep and very talented. It's going to be exciting.
Bonomo released a list of 12 recruits which have committed to the university. Three separate states are represented in the class: Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Michigan.
With each one comes something different.
Some bring a high national ranking, like Allegan High Schools Dan Craig or Southern Regionals Luke Lanno.
Some bring a scholastic win-loss record where the loss column sits in single digits, such as Hillsboroughs John Mangini (111-8) or St. Joseph Regionals John Trumbetti (136-6).
It's pretty exciting to be sitting here with the potential of this class,â Bono said. â€œI believe they will make an immediate impact. Its going to be exciting to see how this class develops over the next few years; just to see how good they get.
Coming off a season where Lock Haven finished 8-6 overall, 3-4 in the Eastern Wrestling League (EWL), Bonomo can feel the momentum starting to swing in the right direction.
â€œWe tried to sign some guys early. Obviously, everything worked out well for us,� he said. â€œIt helps when you are winning; it helps when you have an All-American. It helps the momentum is starting to shift. We're starting to climb back. Our goal is to get in the Top 20 and stay there. These kids will do that for us.
One of the main goals in this class, according to Bono, was to address the heavyweight position, one area that Lock Haven has been struggling with in the past several seasons.
With the addition of Craig and Boiling Springs Gabe Murtorff, Bonomo believes the weight class has been solved.
A nationally-ranked wrestler, Craig finished his career at 225-11 at Allegan High School in Michigan. Hes a two-time state champ and a state runner-up with more than 170 pins in his career.
In Murtorff, Lock Haven has a battle-tested grappler as the senior finished fourth at the recent PIAA Class AA state championships in his weight class.
â€œThe last five years, its been a question mark as to who was getting the job done and who would end up there, Bono said of the 285-pound spot. We wanted to make sure we anchored that weight class and we did with Craig and Murtorff. They are two solid wrestlers.â
Another big question is the gap at 133 and 141. Danny Lopes, who wrestled at 133, has transferred to the University of North Carolina. Donnie Ament, a 141-pound grappler, is expected to use a red-shirt year. And where Matt Fittery jumps in, following a season where he was injury right from the start, is still a question.
Enter athletes like Dale Fava, Brad Kummerer, Jacob Stout, Owen Wilkinson and Bill Ashnault.
Hamburgs Kummerer is a well-known product to Pennsylvania state wrestling followers. He placed at the high school nationals, and notched a third-place finish in the PIAA meet. A four-time district champ, hes defeated wrestlers like Tyler Nauman and Brad Pataky en route to his 159 career wins.
Wilkinson is another standout from Michigan, capturing a state championship in Division I. He has more than 200 wins in his high school career and defeated the wrestler who won the high school nationals.
One known opening in the LHU lineup is going to be at 157 where Seth Martin has graduated. Filling in that spot can be either Lanno or Mangini.
Mangini is a two-time New Jersey state place-winner and a two-time Fargo All-American. Lanno is no slouch himself. A nationally-ranked wrestler, the Manahawkin, N.J. product is a three-time state placer, a Beast of the East champ and a wrestler thatâ€™s defeated several of the top grapplers in the country.
Then, theres Trumbetti, the seven-time Fargo All-American in both Greco and Freestyle.
We wanted to make sure that we can bring someone in to push Obe his final year, Bono said. Trumbetti is something special. People are going to like him because hes a hammer, a go-getter and strong kid for 125.
Bonomo wouldnt put an exact number on how many kids would make an immediate impact in the Bald Eagles lineup. But he did make one quick revelation as to how good he feels this class is.
I am not planning on red-shirting anyone but Trumbetti and that depends on what Obe does, the LHU head coach said. Other than that, every one of those kids will push the guys at the weight right now. Im excited to see these kids in the room. The potential of this class is just unbelievable.
Meet the 2007 LHU wrestling class
Name: Bill Ashnault
Hometown/High School: South Plainfield, N.J./South Plainfield, Projected Weight: 133-141 Meet the Bald Eagle: Ashnault is a four-time region placer, a three-time district champ and a runner-up in the state.
He will make an impact in the lighter weights, LHU head coach Rocky Bonomo said. Hes a great kid from a great family.
Name: Jacob Stout
Hometown/High School: Bath/Northampton Area, Projected Weight: 133-141 Meet the Bald Eagle: Stout is a multi-state qualifier and hes also been a member of the states freestyle team. Those Lehigh Valley kids are always battled tested and seasoned, Bono said. â€œHe will be a big kid. He has the right mentality.
Name: Evan Kolb
Hometown/High School: Coopersburg/Bethlehem Catholic, Projected Weight: 125 Meet the Bald Eagle: Kolb did well at the high school national meet, finishing with a record of 2-2. Hes athletic, we really like what he can do, Bono said. We think he has a good chance to do something special here.
Name: Gabe Murtorff
Hometown/High School: Boiling Springs/Boiling Springs, Projected Weight: 285 Meet the Bald Eagle: He finished fourth at the PIAA Class AA championships in 2007, wrestling in arguably one of the tougher weight classes in the state. Hes a big, athletic heavyweight with a great attitude, Bono said. Hes going to be good for us. Heâ€™s a solid kid.
Name: Brad Kummerer
Hometown/High School: Shoemakersville/Hamburg Area, Projected Weight: 133 Meet the Bald Eagle: Kummerer placed at the high school nationals and 3rd in state this year. Heâ€™s a four-time state place-winner (8th, 7th, 4th, 3rd).He finished his career with 159 wins, 286 takedowns and 33 technical falls.Heâ€™s a four-time district champ that has the school record for wins (49).Hes a hard-working kid. Any time you can place at that high school national event, thats significant, Bono said. Hes one of the best kids in the state.
Name: Dale Fava
Hometown/High School: Elmwood Park, N.J./Don Boscoe, Prep Projected Weight: 133-141 Meet the Bald Eagle: A multi-sport athlete at DBP, Fava is a three-time New Jersey place-winner (7th, 3rd ,3rd), a three-time regional champ, a four-time district champ and a two-time Beast of the East placer. He finished his high school career with a 142-20 record. â€œHeâ€™s a big, strong 33-pounder, Bono said. If we focus him on wrestling, heâ€™s going to be something special.
Name: Jarred Kane
Hometown/High School: Elizabethtown/Lower Dauphin, Projected Weight: 149 Meet the Bald Eagle: Kane was fifth in the state during the 2006-2007 season, but was undefeated the last two years heading into states. He finished 8th in 2005-2006. Hes a fantastic scrambler, heâ€™s dangerous on top and heÂ¹s got great stuff on the bottom, Bonomo said. â€œHeâ€™s going to be super exciting to watch wrestle. Hes defeated some of the best kids nationwide.
Name: John Mangini
Hometown/High School: Hillsborough, N.J./Hillsborough, Projected Weight: 157-165 Meet the Bald Eagle: Mangini finished with an overall record of 111-8. Hes a multi-time New Jersey place-winner (2nd ,3rd ,6th) and a two-time All American at Fargo. â€œHeâ€™s a kid who can come in and make an immediate impact here next season, Bono said.
Name: Luke Lanno
Hometown/High School: Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional, Projected Weight: 149-157 Meet the Bald Eagle: Lanno is a three-time New Jersey placer (6th ,4th ,2nd) and finished his scholastic career with a record of140-10. A Beast of East champ, he has defeated several of the top-ranked grapplers in the country and holds a national ranking himself. Hes going to fun to watch wrestle,Bono added.
Name: John Trumbetti
Hometown/High School: Montvale, N.J./St. Joseph Regional, Projected Weight: 125 Meet the Bald Eagle: Trumbetti was a three-time place-winner in New Jersey (3rd ,2nd ,2nd) and a two-time runner-up at the Beast of the East. A seven-time Fargo All-American in both Greco and Freestyle, the athlete finished with an overall record of 136-6. Heâ€™s a three-time district and regional champ, and also holds a national ranking. Hes an immediate impact guy, thereÂ¹s no doubt, Bon said. Hes very talented, hes a hammer.
Name: Dan Craig
Hometown/High School: Paw Paw, Mich./Allegan, Projected Weight: 285 Meet the Bald Eagle: HeÂ¹s a two-time state champ in Michigan and a state runner-up. He finished with an overall record of 225-11 with 173 pins. He also carries a national ranking. He wants to come here and become our heavyweight, Bono said. Hes a special wrestler. Hes can really move.
Name: Owen Wilkinson
Hometown/High School: Howell, Mich./Hartland, Projected Weight: 141 Meet the Bald Eagle: Hes a three-time state place-winner, which included a state championship in Division I, Michigans largest division. He finished his high school career with an overall record of 211-15. Hes an athlete, a multi-sport kid, Bono said. Hes a solid wrestler who defeated the kid who won the high school nationals.