The Lock Haven University wrestling team (6-7 Overall, 1-1 EWL) had a successful time while the students were away.
The Bald Eagles started the winter session at Morgantown, W.Va. to take on the West Virginia Mountaineers, who were ranked No. 25 in the nation at the time. Redshirt Senior Bobby Rehm earned the only win for the team as they lost 30-3. Rehm earned a decisive victory over Keegan Moore, 5-1.
Later that week, on the Dec. 17, Lock Haven hosted the only two home duals during the break against Messiah and Eastern Wrestling League (EWL) rival Bloomsburg. Messiah was ranked in the top five in Division III at the time. Bloomsburg was still looking for its first win. The wrestler with the biggest impact that night was Dan Neff (below), who returned to the 149-pound weight class after starting at 141 pounds. Neff was an All-American at 149 last year. Neff picked up wins against Messiah’s Adam Peris with a 24-9 technical fall and Bloomsburg’s Ryan Snow with another 20-4 technical fall.
Lock Haven later hosted the Lock Haven Classic Tournament at the Thomas Field House on Dec. 29. LHU finished third as team, falling behind second place Indiana University of the Big Ten Conference and first place Pittsburgh University of the Atlantic Coast Conference. Other teams in the tournament included Bucknell (No. 4), Kent State (No. 5), Hofstra (No. 6), George Mason (No. 7), Binghamton (No. 8), Clarion (No. 9) and Messiah (No. 10). Dan Neff won the 149-pound tournament for Lock Haven.
Lock Haven started the New Year with a long trip to Phoenix, AZ for two matches against Embry-Riddle and Grand Canyon University. LHU won two huge matches with a final score of 40-9 against Embry-Riddle and 16-15 against Grand Canyon. Aaron McKinney, Tyler Wood, Tristan Sponseller (right), Neff and Rehm all went 2-0 that night. The two wins gave Lock Haven a season high four-match winning streak.
Ronnie Perry, who is redshirting this season, finished No. 6 at the prestigious Midland Championships at Northwestern University. Perry finished day one with a 4-0 record. Perry defeated the No. 8 and No. 1 seeds in day one, earning a trip to the tournament semifinals. Perry defeated Chris Mecate in the quarterfinals. Mecate was ranked third in the nation at the time. Perry lost all three of his matches in day 2 to finish sixth overall. Ronnie became the first Bald Eagle to place in the Midland Tournament since Morgan Horner and Mike Maney in 2003.
Lock Haven ended the winter session of the season at Lawrenceville, NJ to take on Rider University. History was made when Dan Neff earned career victory No. 100. Despite losing to Rider 27-6, Neff became the 17th member in the 100-win club for LHU. Neff earned the honor with a 10-3 decision over Jesse Rodgers.
An announcement was also made regarding two recruits for next season. Thomas Haines is set to transfer into the Lock Haven program. Haines is currently a freshman at Ohio State University. Haines was a four-time Pennsylvania State champion from Solanco High School. Haines had a perfect 42-0 record his senior year. His overall high school record was 174-5.
Patrick Duggan, who is currently at West Virginia University, announced that he is also transferring to LHU. Duggan will have four years of eligibility remaining. Duggan was a four-time Pennsylvania state placer and two-time state finalist. Duggan posted a 160-11 record at Cumberland Valley High School. He was also ranked No. 36 overall by Intermat in high school.
The Lock Haven University Wrestling team has a tough schedule to finish the season. Lock Haven hosts Cleveland State this Sunday, Jan. 31 at 1:00 p.m. and Edinboro next Thursday, Feb. 4 at 7:00 p.m. Lock Haven will also host Big Ten’s Michigan State for senior night at the Thomas Field House on Friday, Feb. 12 at 7:00 p.m. LHU wrestling also has the honor of hosting the EWL Conference Championships at the Thomas Field House on Saturday, March 5, where all EWL teams will be fighting for a spot the NCAA Division I National Championships at Madison Square Garden in New York City from March 17-19.