Preview: Wrestlers Hope to Make Small Numbers Count in Postseason

Thursday, February 21, 2013 - page 2

Numbers can be deceiving, and the numbers for the Muhlenberg wrestling team don’t tell the entire story.

Matt Parker
Parker's 14 wins this season are three more than he had in his first three years combined. He went 1-2 at the 2012 CC Championships.
The Mules, who have had their ups and downs in this rebuilding season, begin their postseason Saturday at Johns Hopkins for the Centennial Conference Championships. For the first time since 1998, the CC meet is not an automatic qualifier for the NCAA Championships – that comes next Saturday at Gettysburg.

A small squad size led to the Mules giving up at least 24 points in forfeits in all but one of their dual meets and resulted in them going winless for the second straight season. But that doesn’t mean the team can’t make some noise in the postseason.

“Everyone’s that wrestled us realizes how tough we are, even though we’re at a disadvantage with numbers and younger guys,” said Matt Parker, one of two seniors on the team. “We’ve had some injuries, and with a smaller team we feel it more acutely. We’re definitely a lot better at tournaments, because psychologically we’re not affected by the smaller numbers.”

Parker (14-11 at 149) and senior heavyweight Chris Galletta (14-7 with a team-leading nine pins) both enter the postseason with winning records. And although the other Mule regulars – freshmen Pat Fruehling, Che Chengsupanimit and Matthew Goldstein – haven’t enjoyed the same level of success, they have given the program reason for optimism in the upcoming years.

“The transition from high school is a tough grind,” said Parker. “The younger guys are getting more experience and have improved greatly. You can see it in the room more than on their records.”

Galletta was 5-3 in CC dual meets, with two of his losses on one-point decisions and the third coming to the seventh-ranked heavyweight in Division III. Parker was only 2-4 but also lost some close decisions. For both, the two-meet postseason is an opportunity to extend their careers a little bit longer.

“We’re going to try to wrestle to the best of our abilities,” said Parker. “No what-ifs, could’ves or should’ves. We’re going to let it all hang out, and hopefully we’ll get some hands raised.”
Click here for the CC tournament site.