USA Wrestling Lehigh University an...

Lehigh University announces 2001 recruiting class

By Denny Diehl | May 17, 2001, 12 a.m. (ET)

In another display of Lehigh's emergence as a national wrestling power, Greg Strobel and his superb coaching staff are proud to unveil the year-end list of recruits for 2000-2001, with an unprecedented blend of quality and quantity. Heading the group is arguably the finest trio of blue chips arriving together in nearly 30 years, with all three rated top two nationally during this past season-Pennsylvania state champions Troy Letters and Travis Frick and state runner-up, Derek Zinck. Since those three signed last Fall, five new recruits and two transfers will join the team, coming from native states of PA (4), California (2), New Jersey (2), Florida and Iowa. This is the first year in Lehigh history that three recruits have earned top two rankings during their senior season, according to recruiting coordinator, Scott Hovan, who completed his 3rd year as the Mountain Hawks' outstanding recruiting coordinator. In a clear tribute to Lehigh's renewed strength, the program has landed the top wrestler in the state of PA three straight years--another first. FALL SIGNINGS: Troy Letters (157/165), Shaler H.S., Shaler, PA; ranked #1 at 160 lbs by both Amateur Wrestling News and InterMat, after placing 2nd ,1st and 1st in PA. He's the state's top prospect and is considered one of the nation's top five prospects at any weight. Troy placed 2nd in last year's Jr. National Freestyle as a junior, won four regional titles and owns a career mark of 146-5. He was 38-0 as a senior with 29 pins and two tech falls. Letters won two all-star meets this Spring-the Dapper Dan Classic (for PA vs. the USA All-Stars); and for a USA team against Iowa stars. Derek Zinck (157), Upper Perkiomen H.S., was ranked #2 nationally at 152 lbs this year, and is a 3-time PA state placewinner, finishing 5th, 5th and 2nd, the latter at 145 lbs. Derek was a National Cadet Freestyle Champion (age 14-16) and was 42-1 as a senior, after pinning three opponents and earning the Outstanding Wrestler Award at the District level. He set the District I mark for career wins, with a 158-15 record. Travis Frick (174), Nazareth H.S., Nazareth, PA; also rated #2 nationally by InterMat, Frick enjoyed an undefeated 42-0 season year to win districts, regionals and his first state title without yielding a takedown all season. As a junior, Travis placed 4th in PA at 152 lbs, losing in the semis to Troy Letters. Frick's career mark is 118-29 and he is the son of Lehigh 2-time NCAA champ, Mike Frick, and nephew of EIWA runnerup Jim Frick. Matt Hangsleben (149), Urbandale H.S., Urbandale, IA, joins his brother Mark as a chemical engineering major with a 3.6 GPA. Matt was 30-7 as a senior, missing the Iowa state tourney due to injury. With 100 career wins, Matt was a conference champ and 2-time Captain. As a Junior, he won the Brute AAU National Scholastic Challenge and was on the Iowa Elite Wrestling Team for three years. SPRING SIGNINGS (For release May 3): Joe Goldman (133), Fort Lauderdale University H.S., FL. Joe placed 3rd this year at Florida states at 130 lbs in the A division, with a senior record of 36-2. As a junior he was 33-6, finished 2nd at states at 130 and was listed among InterMat's "Top Juniors." He won one bout at this year's National High School Championship at 130. Daniel Hyman (133), North Gate H.S., Walnut Creek, CA; transfer from Arizona State where he was 8-7 at 141 as a fourth-year junior (career 14-26) and will have one year eligibility at Lehigh. In high school he was twice team captain, won two league titles and placed 4th and 6th in California's Sections. Jeff Mullen (141), Edgewood Regional H.S., Atco, NJ, Jeff was 51-8 his last two years and 78-27 career, voted his team's MVP in 2001; a 1st Team All-Conference, he placed 2nd in NJ District 30; and 4th in NJ Region 8; in the classroom he was an All-American Scholar; American Mathematics Competition School Winner and Edward Bloustein Scholar, graduating 8th of 345 with a 4.11 GPA. Brian Lamay (157), Capistrano Valley High School, CA. Brian placed 3rd at 147 lbs. in the California State Championships in 2001 and 8th at 140 as a junior. He is listed among California's "Top Wrestlers" by InterMat, with the CA champion at his weight this year ranked fifth by InterMat among all California wrestlers. Justin McLennan (184), Easton H.S., Easton, PA, Justin placed 4th and 1st in District XI the last two years, defeating PIAA runner-up Phil Hard in this year's semis before a WBF in the finals (vs. Ludlow, the eventual PA 4th placer). He was 22-14 as a junior and 32-11 as a senior, placing 2nd in the PA Regionals to Hard. Anthony Livecchi (285), Haddon Township H.S., Haddonfield, NJ; transfer from James Madison University where he was 10-14 as a freshman, placing 4th in the Colonial Athletic Assn; in high school, Anthony was 30-5 as a senior with a career mark of 85-38, placing 3rd, 2nd, 1st and 1st at districts and 2nd and 3rd at regionals. James Reddick (125), The Hill School A look at the last three years of LU prospects who were ranked in High School All-America national polls (highest ratings) '01: # 1-Letters #2-Zinck #2-Frick '00: #2-Pirozzola #2-Clendenin #6-Hangsleben #10-T. Rohn '99: #2-Trenge #3-Stuart #8-Boyd #8-Cote As further evidence of depth and quality, the team will feature 20 wrestlers who've reached their state finals-- representing 20 state titles won and 33 finals appearances. LU fans can also look forward to the return of three All-Americans (Mario Stuart, Chris Vitale and Rob Rohn); #3-ranked Jon Trenge at 197; 2000 EIWA champ Bruce Kelly from knee surgery (projected at 133) and Hwt. Shawn Laughlin who fell one bout shy of All-American in '01. This will complement the eagerly awaited emergence of three current freshmen who were among six newcomers last Fall unable to make the team, but with four years eligibility remaining: 133-Mark Hangsleben, 9-4 record in deferred year bouts (Iowa 2nd, 1st, 1st) 141-Tommy Rohn,13-2 in 2001 (PA runner-up) 149-Mike Pirozzola, 10-1 (PA 2nd, 2nd, 1st, 1st) In post-season action, Rohn & Pirozzola (with an 8-2 record) joined Terrance Clendenin as placewinners at University Nationals (along with Greco-Roman champ Matt Goldstein)-the first time in history that Lehigh has enjoyed four medalists at this tournament. The team also enjoyed a surge at the U.S. Senior Open (Nationals) where Chris Ayres '99 placed 4th and Dave Esposito was 5th, with Mark Dufresne '00 and Vitale winning nine of 13 bouts. Volunteer asst. Coach Kerry McCoy won the Open title at Hwt. and was undefeated in the World Cup in Baltimore May 5-6, salvaging the final dual for the USA with a WBF. OTHER NOTABLE NOTES (for those who'll pine for off-season news): ---Graduate Asst Chris Ayres '99 has been promoted to Assistant Coach and will be our first alumnus in a permanent post since Tom Hutchinson in 1994. He'll replace Scott Hovan, who sent a nice note for the news: "I will miss being a part of the Lehigh Wrestling program. Over the next year, I will be working very hard to complete my M. Ed. in Computer Education for next spring. Shelly and I also got engaged and we will be making those arrangements as well." Our best wishes go to Scott, with thanks for a great job ! ---While not final, the tentative LU schedule for 2002 includes a return to the National Dual Championships next Jan. at Ohio State. The increasingly popular event will feature for the first time a full 16-team slate of Div. I schools, with simultaneous 16-team brackets for Div. II & III. Most of the nation's top teams will compete in Div. I, with Lehigh & Penn invited. The Mountain Hawks will return to Las Vegas but reduce their Midlands participation in Dec. ---The Lehigh home schedule includes its 1st-ever dual with Ohio State on Sat Dec. 8, a team ranked #7 by InterMat for next Fall with nine nationally ranked wrestlers and three in the top five. Feature match-ups: #3 Jon Trenge vs. #4 Nick Preston and Shawn Laughlin vs. NCAA runner-up Tommy Rowlands. The LU-Buck