2021 NCAA All-American Zach Hartman (Photo/Sam Janicki; SJanickiPhoto.com)
â€œWe have a strong cast of battle-tested veterans and talented newcomers that are poised to have a breakout year. We have a lot of talent and are returning seven EIWA placewinners, including All-American Zach Hartman. We bring back great experience in competitive environments and we will be challenged by our schedule. Our goal is to become one of the elite teams in our conference and in the country, and I believe we have what it takes to do thatâ€ - Head coach Dan Wirnsberger
We've got to mention senior Zach Hartman, who became the first Bison wrestler to make the NCAA podium since one of his assistant coaches, Kevin LeValley, did so in 2011. Not only did Hartman get on the podium, but he also advanced to the NCAA semifinals at one of the deepest weights in the nation. Before nationals, Hartman was the first Bucknell wrestler since Joe Stolfi (2014) to capture an EIWA championship. Zach has reached the EIWA finals in all three years of competition. He starts the year ranked ninth at the 165 lb weight class and will be one of the team's leaders again.
The other returning national qualifier for Bucknell is Darren Miller, who finished third in the EIWA at 133 lbs. Miller will move up to 141 for his third year in Lewisburg. Through two years, his combined record is 30-19.
The Bucknell lineup is set to feature senior Brandon Seidman in the leadoff role at 125 lbs. One of Bucknell's captain's in 2021, Seidman is a returning sixth-place finisher at the 2021 EIWA Championships and amassed a 6-4 record, overall.
Bucknell lost a pair of their 2021 starters to graduation in the offseason, Matt Kolonia (149) and Frankie Guida (184). Kolonia finished fifth at the EIWA Championships last year, while Guida was eighth. Neither qualified for the NCAA Tournament, but they were mainstays in the Bison lineup.
The Bison staff is excited about a handful of incoming freshmen. One in particular, that may have the inside track to starting at 184 is Logan Deceatis, a two-time, undefeated Illinois state champion. Deceatis finished his high school career ranked #215 on MatScouts Big Board.
The highest-ranked member of the freshman class was three-time Pennsylvania state runner-up Dylan Chappell, who came in at #156. Chappell will not be forced into action due to the strength at 133 lbs.
Aidan Lewis (125) and Nolan Springer (174) are two more freshmen that could push for significant time in the Bucknell lineup.
WRESTLER TO WATCH
Earlier, we mentioned that Darren Miller was planning to move up to 141 lbs. Swapping with Miller will be Kurt Phipps, the 2021 starter at 141. The Bucknell staff expects a breakout year from Phipps at 133. Younger brother of Bucknell's two-time national qualifier, Drew, Kurt put together an 8-6 campaign as a true freshman and was seventh at the EIWA Championships. With another year of seasoning under his belt and at a more natural weight, Phipps could definitely improve upon his conference finish from a year ago.
125: Brandon Seidman (Sr)
133: Kurt Phipps (So)
141: Darren Miller (Jr)
149: Noah Levett (Sr)
157: Nick Delp (So)
165: Zach Hartman (Sr)
174: Vincent Andreano (Jr)
184: Logan Deceatis (Fr)
197: Mason McCready (Jr)
285: Dorian Crosby (So)