Wrestling hosts 29th annual Edinboro Open, four Fighting Scots place in the top six

Category:  Sports
Wednesday, February 7th, 2018 at 5:49 PM

Schools from around the country converged in Edinboro for the university’s 29th annual Edinboro Open wrestling tournament on Feb. 3.

The event, which is typically well-attended by elite wrestling schools, saw competitors ranging from Eastern Wrestling League (EWL) foe Clarion University, to powerhouse wrestling programs like Ohio State University and Central Michigan University, to schools as far as Fresno, California.

Head Wrestling Coach Tim Flynn said that seeing the participation from schools around the country is one of the highlights of the Edinboro Open each year.

“It’s neat to have an event that’s nationally recognized as a great event,” Flynn said. “It’s just really a neat thing to have schools — you know, we had Fresno State [and] we had Arizona State — just have people from all over the country coming. It’s nice to have that on your campus.”

While some schools may send their varsity wrestlers to compete in the double-elimination tournament, others — Edinboro included — use events like the Open as an opportunity for their redshirt wrestlers and backups to compete. For Edinboro, the Open also means getting to watch those wrestlers compete live.

“[A] lot of times when you’re redshirting, these guys are competing somewhere else while varsity is somewhere,” Flynn said. “So I don’t actually physically get to see them and watch them.”

One of the wrestlers Flynn was happy to see succeed in the tournament was redshirt freshman Dakota Geer, who won his first four matches against competitors from Ohio State, Navy, Central Michigan and Michigan University before losing the 184-pound championship match against Lou DePrez of Binghamton University by a 10-0 major decision. 

Geer, who also won the Clarion Open at 184 pounds earlier in the season, said the level of competition was high at the Edinboro Open.

“I think that could have been close to the toughest open I did other than Midlands, but that was probably right up there I think,” Geer said. “I think it’s neat that a lot of kids [from universities with strong wrestling programs] want to come here to wrestle. It means that we have one of the tougher opens, so I think that’s cool.”

Flynn said that Geer, who did not redshirt in his true freshman year, but is this year, will be a wrestler to watch over the next few campaigns.

“Geer, you know, is redshirting and he’s going to be a big part of our future,” Flynn said. “For him to get quality matches is really good for us, and good for us to watch him compete.”

Another wrestler who took advantage of his opportunity to compete was redshirt junior Terrence Cheeks, who won his first three matches with a fall and two decisions, getting himself into the heavyweight semifinals. In the semifinal round, Cheeks struggled to get much offense going and took a 2-0 decision loss to Ohio State’s Gary Traub. Traub would end up winning the heavyweight bracket after his opponent, Drexel University’s Joey Goodhart, suffered an arm injury in the first round of the championship match.

In his final match of the event, Cheeks lost via technical fall to another Ohio State wrestler, Chase Singletary, to settle for fourth place in the heavyweight bracket.

“[You] know, it’s nice for Terrence who’s been in the program for all four years, and it’s just nice to see him get some Ws and compete hard,” Flynn said of the athlete’s early success in the tournament.

Ty Schoffstall, who was competing to make up for events he missed earlier in the season due to injury, saw success as well in the 174-pound division. He went undefeated, including an 18-9 major decision over Fritz Schierl of Ohio State, along with a fall just before the end of the first round against Caleb Stockmaster of Cleveland State. Those wins would be followed by two more decision victories to get him into the championship match. 

He medically forfeited the championship match to finish in second place, but Flynn later said Schoffstall was on a four-match limit so that he wouldn’t wear himself out before the team travels to Oklahoma this weekend for two events.

Richie Gomez and Tony Recco both lost their first matches in the 133-pound weight class to force themselves to fight through the bottom bracket of the tournament. Recco narrowly defeated Buffalo University’s Derek Spann before facing Mike Volyanyuk (University of Michigan), who had previously defeated teammate Gomez.

Recco was unable to avenge Gomez’s earlier loss, but Gomez himself had fought his way through the bottom bracket with a tech fall, forfeit and a 5-2 decision to set up his own rematch with Volyanyuk. He would defeat him in a 7-6 decision. However, he would have to settle for a sixth place finish after a 9-0 major decision loss to Central Michigan’s Drew Marten.

Flynn said he was glad he was able to see Gomez and Recco fight their way through the tournament and earn some convincing victories against tough competitors.

“I just think our backups really competed well; you know, Richie Gomez had a bunch of wins,” Flynn said. “I saw Tony Recco get a couple wins. It’s nice for them to get out there and compete, especially at home.”

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

Tags: sports, wrestling

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