Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Cody Law headed to Penn State

PHOTO COURTESY OF TKOPHOTOS.SHUTTERFLY.COM
Cody Law went 36-2 last year and has a career record of 81-26.
Who can say no to Cael Sanderson?
Not Cody Law.
So, when the coach of the two-time defending NCAA champion Penn State Nittany Lions came calling, Law gave the predictable answer: Yes.
As in, “Yes, I want to be a Nittany Lion.”
After a weekend visit to State College, Law told Sanderson that he plans to join him there next season.
“Cody, he was talking about how they really wanted him,” Forest Hills coach Jake Strayer told me on Monday night. “When a high school kid hears that from somebody like Cael, it’s pretty hard not to go there.”
Law, a PIAA Class AA runner-up at 160 pounds last season, also was considering Pitt-Johnstown.
“Cody’s been looking for awhile and debating,” Strayer said. “After visiting this weekend, he came back today and said ‘I don’t think I can go anywhere else.’ He said the coaches were just great and the other wrestlers said it was great.”
Law saw some familiar faces in State College, like Jimmy Gulibon of Derry, who is a true freshman at Penn State after winning his fourth straight PIAA title last year. Like Law, Gulibon worked out regularly at the Young Guns wrestling club run by Jody and John Strittmatter.
“The coaches ate with us,” Law said of his visit to Penn State. “I went to a football game. Jimmy Gulibon was my host. I loved it. I feel like the coaches will do a lot for me and I feel like it gives me a chance to be successful there. After this weekend, there was nowhere else I wanted to wrestle.”
That wasn’t meant as a slight to UPJ, where Jody Strittmatter is the assistant coach.
“I really like Coach (Pat) Pecora a lot, and Jody’s been my coach for years,” Law said. “UPJ’s nice. If I wasn’t going to Penn State, I would go there.”
While it was hard to say “no” to UPJ, it was impossible for him not to say “yes” to Penn State.
“I can’t feel bad about it because I’m doing what is best for me,” Law said.
Strayer was an All-American at Penn State in 2007, but Law said his coach didn’t push him toward his alma mater.
“He hasn’t tried to steer me,” Law said. “It’s more like he let it up to me. It’s my decision. His biggest advice was to go big at some point. Penn State is as big as I can go. Now that I made the decision, he thinks I made the right decision.”
Law, who plans to wrestle at 165 pounds in college, will join a loaded Nittany Lions team. Possible practice partners include national champ David Taylor, All-American Dylan Alton and Matt Brown, who went 27-2 as a backup last year and likely would have been an All-American at almost any other school. With that kind of pedigree in the Penn State wrestling room, Law was willing to forego the possible scholarship offers that could have come his way with another big high school season.
“A lot of the freshman told me they don’t get too much money,” Law said of the Penn State wrestlers he spoke with. “It’s not about the money. It’s about being the best. The money will come when I am the best.”

Otten fares well in Edinboro wrestleoffs

Go ahead, keep on doubting James Otten.
The former Shade wrestler, who went to school at Windber, faced plenty of critics who said his stats were padded by the Panthers' soft schedule.
And when Otten committed to wrestle at Edinboro, there likely were more than a few raised eyebrows.
But, a few weeks into his freshman season with the Fighting Scots, the Wolf-man doesn't look out of place at all. In fact, he had quite the showing at the Edinboro wrestleoffs last weekend.* Competing at 157 pounds, Otten made his bid to move up the depth chart. He went 3-1, with a 13-3 major decision over fellow freshman Sebastian LaRocca. He also beat Zac Baumgartner - son of four-time Olympic medalist and former Edinboro/current A.D. Bruce Baumgartner - twice.
His lone loss was 8-1 to returning starter Casey Fuller, who might redshirt this year.
Otten got word on Tuesday that the coaching staff wants to redshirt him this season. That's not at all unexpected or a bad thing in any way. It will give him - as it does with most DI  freshman - the chance to catch up to some of his older competition as well as adapting to the college lifestyle. Although, according to Otten's father, the second part doesn't seem to be a problem. He said that Otten is well on his way to a spot on the dean's list.

* -- The Edinboro results that I linked to are incorrect, according to Otten's father. I've gone with the results that his father told me.

Why I decided to continue this blog

Well, it looks like Knop's Knotes is back.
There was some real doubt about whether or not I would continue the blog.
Despite its popularity - and I've heard from so many people in the wrestling community how much they enjoy it (as well as a few things I can do better) - I really considered discontinuing it.
It had nothing to do with my willingness or desire to write it. I had a lot of fun in the blog's first season.
But, for those of you who don't know, I was promoted to editor of The Tribune-Democrat this spring. That means more responsibility and more hours than I was working as Internet editor last wrestling season.
Compound that with the fact that my wife and I had agreed to serve as a billet or host family for three of the Johnstown Tomahawks hockey players and the concept of "free time" disappeared really quickly.
But, in the end (more accurately the end of the wrestling "offseason") I couldn't stay away from the sport I love. I keep hearing from fans and wrestlers about what's going on in their world and I start thinking about how I want to share it with the rest of the wrestling community.
The draw of the sport and, more importantly, the wonderful people involved in it, is too strong.
So I will continue to do what I can to keep you updated on what's happening in the wrestling world, or at least our little corner of it.
If you have info for me, feel free to email me at eknopsnyder@tribdem.com.
Thanks for reading and finding a way to pull me back into the world's oldest and greatest sport.