2x NCAA Qualifier Mickey O'Malley (Photo/Sam Janicki;SJanickiPhoto.com)
â€œI think we can be ranked as a top-25 team this year. Individually, we have experience in our line-up. We have numerous returning national qualifiers (many of whom qualified more than once), who are ready to take the next step, and finish on the podium at NCAA's â€“ Head Coach Matt Azevedo
The Dragons have six returning national qualifiers returning to their line-up from previous seasons. Half of them have been to the â€œBig Danceâ€ on more than one occasion.
Evan Barczak (2020-21)
Parker Kropman (3X national qualifier)
Bryan McLaughlin (2X national qualifier)
Antonio Mininno (2019-20)
Luke Nichter (2020-21)
Mickey O'Malley (2X national qualifier)
The lone key starter leaving the team is Julian Flores. Flores was a national qualifier last season at the 141 lb. weight class. He graduated this past spring and has moved onto life after collegiate wrestling.
Coach Azevedo mentioned two new faces for the starting line-up. First, Jaxon Maroney is a potential starter at 133 lb. Jaxon had a strong eighth place finish at the Junior World Team Trials. He will battle it out with previous starter, Chase Shields.
Secondly, Eli Anthony will most likely man the heavyweight spot. Being a freshman from Blair Academy, he is ready to compete right away even with some growing to do. Azevedo likes his hard work ethic and believes Eli will improve as the year progresses once he gets some matches under that big belt of his.
WRESTLER TO WATCH
The Dragon's brightest spot in the line-up is Mickey O'Malley at the 174lb weight class. Last year, he finished top 16 at the NCAA Tournament, two weeks after being an EIWA finalist. He placed at every freestyle event he competed in. He earned 4th at the Men's US Open, U-23 World team Trials Alternate, and placed top 8 at Senior World Team Trials. Pennsylvania RTC athlete, and new volunteer assistant at Drexel, David McFadden will help O'Malley continue to jump levels.
True Sophomore, and returning national qualifier, Luke Nichter is another name Azevedo was excited to see compete this year. During last year's COVID-shortened season, Nichter made progressions as a true freshman. With a full season upcoming, expect to see more improvements from him.
125: Antonio Minnino (Sr)/ Kyle Waterman (So)
133: Jaxon Maroney (So)/Chase Shields (Jr)
141: Tyler Williams (Jr)
149: Luke Nichter (So)
157: Parker Kropman (Sr)
165: Evan Barczak (Sr)
174: Mickey O'Malley (Jr)
184: Bryan McLaughlin (Sr)
197: Sean O'Malley (Sr)
285: Eli Anthony (Fr)