Coming off best year in school history, Boro wrestling wants more

Spectator
The Edinboro wrestling team, including A.J. Schopp (pictured above in red singlet), is searching to even better themselves after having one of the most successful seasons in school history just one year ago.
Lone D1 team prepares

By Tyler Trumbauer
Sports Editor/Spectator

Edinboro wrestling is nationally known. It is the lone sport from this school that participates in the Division I ranks. It has a spectacular history filled with a laundry list of accolades and its current coach, Tim Flynn, has contributed to a lot of that success, as well as enjoying some of his own as the top dog of the mats in Boro.

With all of that in the bank, the team is still searching for the one thing that is missing.

“The mindset is that we want to get a team trophy,” Flynn, who is entering his 18th season at the helm, said last week during a practice in the Mike S. Zafirovski Sports Dome. “That means we need to finish as one of the top four teams.”

Being one of the four best teams in the nation is not an extremely tall task for the Fighting Scots as the highest they have finished, since joining the Division I ranks in the 1986-87 season, is fifth. Boro accomplished that at last year’s national championships. Their previous best finish was sixth, which occurred in 2009 and 1997.

Last season is regarded as one of the best in school history, due in large part to that fifth place finish. Also, the squad compiled an 11-3 record in the regular season, were PSAC Champions, EWL Champions and finished second in the Midland Championships.

With all of those team accolades as support, Flynn received notoriety. The 1986 Penn State graduate was named Coach of the Year by multiple organizations, including being named NCAA Division I Coach of Year, and the Edinboro Coach of the Year, recognizing the best head coach of all Edinboro athletics in a given year.

Wrestling has a lot to do with the team, but it is the individuals that have the team’s success on their shoulders.

“Certainly, each individual has individual goals,” Flynn said. “We want to put some guys up on the stand and crown some national champions.”

A few likely candidates to follow that path are A.J. Schopp, Mitchell Port and Dave Habat, all of which are returning All-Americans.

Schopp, a redshirt-senior, is a twotime All-American who boasted a 35-3 record last season. He has finished fourth at nationals for the last two seasons and is regarded as one of the top returners this season for Boro, being ranked the top competitor in the 133 lbs. weight class in the InterMat pre-season rankings.

Port is also a redshirt-senior and a two-time All-American as well. The Bellefonte native possessed a 32-1 record a year ago in the 141 lbs. weight class and was also named the EWL Wrestler of the Year.

He finished third at nationals in 2013 and was the runner-up last season, leaving him desiring that national title.

“I know that I want to win a national title,” Port said last week. “Second off, I want to become a better wrestler every match and dominate each match that I am in.”

Lastly, like Schopp and Port, Habat is a redshirt-senior. He finished fourth at nationals last season at 149 lbs.

There are certainly some new people as well. Austin Matthews is a transfer from Clarion who was the EWL Freshman of the Year last season who is looking to earn the start at 157.

Also, Ty Schoffstall, Chase Delande and Kasey Burnett-Davis are looking to make a big splash this winter.

As a team Edinboro is getting the preseason attention as well. The Scots were ranked seventh by flowrestling, seventh by InterMat’s tournament rankings and tenth in its dualmeet rankings.

“They are working hard and I think we are hungry,” Flynn admitted about his team. “The guys I think are close. Whether it is individual or collectively as a team, we are close to being a topthree, top-two or maybe a national champion team.

“I think they smell it. They are working really hard. I don’t really have any negatives. I’m anxious to get the season started.”

The Fighting Scots open their 201415 campaign in the Clarion Open this Sunday and have their first dual-meet of the season on Thursday, Nov. 6 when they welcome the University of Pittsburgh to McComb Fieldhouse at 7 p.m. The team is also slated to host Kent State on Jan., 18 and Ohio State on Feb., 15, as a part of the National Duals.

Tyler Trumbauer is the sports editor for The Spectator. He can be reached by sports.spectator@gmail.com