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Thursday, February 24, 2011 - page 2

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Championship Preview
wrestlers looking
to leave everything on the mat

Michael Slevin
Slevin is one of four Mules that are set to make their first appearance at the CC Championships.
For the Muhlenberg wrestling team, this week has been filled with increased reps in the weight room, extra miles logged on the elliptical and additional hours on the mat honing technique.

That's because the Mules are not prepping for just another tournament. This weekend they will take the five-hour trip to Washington and Lee for what has been the focal point of their entire season of training: the Centennial Conference Championships.

On top of it being a championship tournament, it could also be the last opportunity that seniors Bill Sholly (184), Michael Slevin (133) and Keith Swanson (157) get to don Mule singlets.

And according to Swanson, that alone should serve as more than enough motivation for him and his classmates.

"This whole week is all about doing extra work to try to get into the best shape as possible because if you don't win this tournament, especially in our conference, your season's done," Swanson said. "And for me, it's my last competition ever.

"This is going to get my full attention and my full effort. I don't know when the next time I'm going to step out on the mat will be, so I'm definitely going to leave it all out there."

While the Mules struggled in dual meets largely due to a depleted lineup hampered by injuries and illness, they will head to Lexington, Va., with eight healthy wrestlers, the most they have had since early January.

Juniors Kevin Homan (149), Patrick Gibson (165) and Nick Pallotta (HWT) have been regular contributors this season, while senior Jason Kirschenbaum (141) and junior Ivan Nedds (197) were certified last week and will see their first action of the season at the CC meet.

Bill Sholly
Sholly has picked up eight wins and two pins since dropping down to 184.
Homan boasts the most championship success of any Mule after finishing second and third at the past two CC championships at 141. He has bumped up to 149 this season and sports a 4-2 record in CC duals, the best on the team.

Pallotta is one of two Mules with double-digit wins this season (11) and is second on the team, and in the top 10 in the conference, with eight pins.

Swanson, meanwhile, leads Muhlenberg with a 16-9 record and nine pins on the year. He finished the CC dual season with a 3-2 mark, and said his main goal is to improve upon last season, when he fell in the consolation finals.

While Muhlenberg picked up its first dual meet victory in almost two seasons, they went winless against CC teams this year. But according to Swanson, that just means the Mules will be able to wrestle loose with an "us-against-the-world" mentality.

"Myself, and as a team, we don't really have much to lose," Swanson said. "There's not much pressure on us, so it's really just about what we can do.

"We have high expectations, but no one else is expecting us to do well. So hopefully we can surprise some people."
Click here for the championship website.

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