Six early losses to Spartans too much for Bald Eagles to overcome

LOCK HAVEN — While the Penn State football team was taking care of business with a big win over Michigan State in Happy Valley, the Lock Haven University wrestling team unfortunately couldn’t do the same with the Spartan wrestlers on Saturday night.

Falling into a deep 21-0 hole as a result of dropping the first six bouts in the meet, the deficit was just too much to overcome as the Bald Eagles fell, 24-12, to the Spartans before a good crowd at Thomas Field House in the home opener.

“We knew down below that we had to win two of those matches to be in a position for the upper weights to pull it out,” said Lock Haven coach Scott Moore. “Some of the lighter weight guys need to find some points sooner, keep scoring and hold onto the match. In two of those matches we were up and gave up the last takedown to lose. Overall, I thought it was a good effort by us, the guys fought hard and in most cases looked to be in pretty good shape. They wanted to win and matches like this one are only going to make them tougher. The big thing is that we have to work on finishing matches when we have the lead.”

Three of the six losses were by three points or less. Jake Field dropped an 8-5 decision to Mitch Rogaliner at 125 pounds, Javier Gasca was a pair better than Ronnie Perry (9-7) at 141 and Nick Trimble made a pair of first-period takedowns stand up for a 4-3 win over Kyle Shoop at 149.

Down by the 21-point margin, the Bald Eagles managed to earn three wins in the final four bouts.

“I feel real good about the way our heavyweights wrestled with Woody, Sponseller and Haines getting wins at the end,” said Moore. “Those three made it close at the end, but we still have a lot of work to do, especially in the light weights.”

Tyler Wood used his unorthodox style to down Shane Shadaia 6-1 at 174 before redshirt freshman Corey Hazel fell by a pair to Shawn Shadaia at 184 by the final of 8-6. For Hazel, it was his first loss of the season after racking up ten straight wins.

With the match well out of hand, LHU’s Tristan Sponseller and Thomas Haines were both impressive in recording wins at 197 and 285, respectively.

Sponseller bolted out to an 8-0 lead in the first period before using a dominating ride for 5:12 time advantage in a 13-2 major decision over Matt Okayle.

“I think that 184 was just too much of a cut for me,” said Sponseller about moving up to 197. “I spent a lot of time lifting this summer and got my weight up pretty high and as a group, that is when we decided to have Hazel go at 184 and for me to move up. So far it feels like a great fit for me. I seem to have a lot more energy and I like the way I feel out there.”

Another plus for Sponseller at his new weight is that he just might be a little quicker than many of his opponents at 197.

“184 was definitely quicker, that is for sure,” Sponseller said. “In neutral position, I like to rely on my slickness and quickness and I can see that happening because I am able to get in deeper on shots with the guys being a little bigger and slower. Tonight, once I got him down flat, I felt comfortable to look for my turns to rack up the score.”

Haines made his much-anticipated local appearance. After a scoreless period, the Bald Eagle mauled Jacob Cooper for 16 straight points and a 16-0 technical fall.

“For both of those guys (Sponseller and Haines), their offense is there,” said Moore. “Once they open up and start to feel it, when they want to score, they can. Sponseller had some real good leg attacks and was tough on top and Haines the same thing. Guys are trying to slow him down a little bit, but when he wants to score, he had some real good attacks. If we can continue to win up top and get some wins down below, we are going to have some real good duals this year.”

Michigan State 24,

Lock Haven 12

125: Mitch Rogaliner, MS, dec. Jake Field, 8-5. 133: Austin Eicher, MS, maj. dec. Joe Ghione, 8-0. 141: Javier Gasca, MS, dec. Ronnie Perry, 9-7. 149: Nick Trimble, MS, dec. Kyle Shoop, 4-3. 157: Austin Thompson, MS, dec. Kyle Hammond, 8-2. 165: Drew Hughes, MS, tech. fall over Jared Siegrist, 16-0, 4:30. 174: Tyler Wood, LH, dec. Shane Shadaia, 6-1. 184: Shawn Shadaia, MS, dec. Corey Hazel, 8-6. 197: Tristan Sponseller, LH, maj. dec. Matt Okalye, 13-2. 285: Thomas Haines, LH, tech. fall Jacob Cooper, 16-0, 7:00.