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Muhlenberg College

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

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Season Preview
wrestlers on the comeback trail

It wasn’t exactly a good omen for the 2009-10 Muhlenberg wrestling team when Bill Sholly, one of only five returning starters on an extremely young team, went down with a season-ending injury during the third week of practice.

The pain of that injury was soon accompanied by growing pains, and the Mules went winless on the season.

But now Sholly is back, and so is almost all
Keith Swanson
Swanson placed fifth at the King's Monarch Invitational last year.
of the rest of the team, ready to turn the program – which has produced six All-Americans since 2001 – back around. Muhlenberg opens up at the King’s Monarch Invitational on Saturday.

“It was heartbreaking,” said Sholly. “Being in the practice room every day, I knew everyone was giving their all and pushing themselves to the limit. It was like we were running into a glass ceiling.

“Now I think we’ve broken that ceiling and we’re going to have a pretty good year.”

The Mules closed out their down season on a positive note, finishing ahead of Gettysburg at the Centennial Conference Championships. Two Muhlenberg wrestlers were placewinners at the CC meet, with junior Kevin Homan coming in second at 141 and senior Keith Swanson taking fourth at 157.

Those two tied for the team lead with 14 wins apiece and will combine to give the Mules a solid back-to-back combo, with Swanson dropping down to 149 this year.

“I wouldn’t be surprised, and I don’t think anybody around the conference would,
Bill Sholly
Sholly won eight bouts for the Mules in 2008-09.
if those guys challenged for the championship this year,” said Sholly.

Sophomore Tommy Gazza is back at 125 after winning six bouts last year. Senior Michael Slevin and sophomore Matt Parker also will compete at the lower weights.

Junior John Sternlicht has the best career record (17-11, with 10 pins) of any returning Muhlenberg wrestler but had his first two seasons cut short by injuries. He will compete at 157 this year after going 13-8 and placing at two tournaments at higher weights last year.

The upper weights start with juniors Patrick Gibson and Joseph Wassel, a newcomer to the program. Sholly will begin the season at 197 and hopes to move down to 184. Junior Nick Pallotta, who has 20 pins among his 23 career wins, returns at heavyweight.

“We’re very excited to get the season started,” said Sholly. “There’s a lot more energy in the room this year. Practices are much more fun and productive – we’re improving ourselves as wrestlers and as people.”

The Mules have three tournaments on the road before closing out the first semester with a home quad meet on December 11.

“We just want to get a few wins under everyone’s belt, build some confidence and create some momentum to carry us into January,” said Sholly of the early competitions. “We want to show everyone that we are not an 0-13 team anymore.”

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