Wrestling, new coaches hold outdoor practice

Category:  Sports
Thursday, October 4th, 2018 at 9:28 AM

While football and soccer took center stage on homecoming weekend, wrestling showed off its promising future from slightly off-stage.

While still technically in their offseason, the Fighting Scots held a public, outdoor practice on a mat set up just outside of Sox Harrison Stadium. The mat was set up in a popular football tailgating area and the practice took place between the soccer and football games.

Head Wrestling Coach Matt Hill, in his first year as head coach after taking over for longtime-coach Tim Flynn this season, said last week that the practice was an attempt to help draw attention to the program with all of the alumni in town.

“We had a lot of people coming out [to] see the guys: some family members, some tailgating crowd and just the student body in general,” Hill said. “The guys really enjoyed it and responded to it well.”

Hill has been hard at work stabilizing the program after multiple wrestlers transferred following Flynn’s departure. The Fighting Scots will be without Sean Russell, Korbin Myers and Billy Miller this season after all three were granted a leave from the school.

Hill’s first act as head coach was hiring Mike DePalma, who like Hill formerly competed for Edinboro. Hill said the wrestlers that remain in the program have begun to bond with each other heading into the official season.

“It seems like the team [has] bonded really, really tight and that they’re really buying in with the coaching staff,” DePalma said. “I think a change ended up being really good for them, kind of just giving them a little new perspective on wrestling.”

He also said the team seems to be in shape physically for the season ahead and the wrestlers are starting to get more excited about their training.

In his effort to continue building the wrestling program, Hill announced on Sept. 27 the hiring of Pat Bradshaw, who is also an Edinboro alum. Bradshaw wrestled at Edinboro from 2005-2010, earning two PSAC championships and one EWL title at 197 pounds, and another PSAC and EWL title his senior year at 184.

Bradshaw then coached at Edinboro during the 2011-2012 season before coaching at Saegertown High School. During his time as an Edinboro coach, Bradshaw coached Chris Honeycutt. He also coached DePalma.

“Bradshaw is a good dude. I’ve always been big fan of him,” DePalma said. “He was actually my coach for a year here when I went to Edinboro, and he’s tough on the guys. He knows how to build them mentally and physically, and I think he’s going to be a really good coach for the guys.”

Hill said Bradshaw’s championship pedigree in the heavier weight classes will help balance out the coaching staff.

“He wrestled here [and was a] very successful wrestler in high school and here,” Hill said. “He’s a great person, great character, he’s a bigger guy [which] will help out our upper-weights, and he brings a lot of intensity.”

With the coaching staff in place and the team melding together, Hill will lead the Scots into official practices beginning Oct. 10.

The team also announced Friday they will be hosting a Fall Brawl, an event open to 5-18 year olds, at the university on Oct. 21.

Edinboro wrestling will open their season at the Michigan State Open Nov. 3.

Christopher Rosato Jr. can be reached at sports.spectator@gmail.com.

Tags: sports, wrestling

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