In 2018, Lock Haven’s Ronnie Perry was the first wrestler to make the NCAA finals from the 15th seed.
Perry lost to Penn State’s Zain Retherford (a two-time Hodge Trophy winner) to complete a 104-32 career mark for the Bald Eagles.
Less than two years later, Perry, a Solanco High graduate, is the head coach of Lock Haven’s brand-new women’s wrestling team.
Calling it a team might be a bit of a stretch as there are only four wrestlers on the squad.
“Given I was only named in May, I didn’t have much time to recruit,” Perry, 24, said. We used social media on campus and got some results.”
The squad hasn’t had any competition yet but will compete in some tournaments later in the season, Perry said.
Perry said there’s been good interest in the program since it was announced with inquiries from surrounding states – New Jersey, Maryland, Ohio and several others.
Perry said Pennsylvania is not exactly the gold mine for recruiting as the Keystone State has lagged behind in developing women wrestling.
That probably won’t happen until the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association sanctions women’s wrestling the state.
Two other Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference schools, Gannon and East Stroudsburg, are also starting women’s program. There are 58 other women’s college teams and more than a dozen states now sponsor state women’s wrestling high school championships.
Women’s wrestling has been an Olympic sport since 2004. In the recent World Championships, the U.S. crowned three gold medalists.
Perry, who also helps with Lock Haven’s men’s team, said he’s learning as it goes as a head coach.
“When I have a question, I go to coach Moore (Scott). Usually Scott will let me make a decision.”
Perry said he has more administrative duties as head coach than he did as an assistant with the men’s team.
At 24, Perry has a long future in coaching, whether developing men or women.
Mat burns: Two-time NCAA champion Zahid Valencia of Arizona State, who has moved up from 174 to 184, survived an early season scare from Taylor Venz of Nebraska. The final was 8-7.
Here are the latest No. 1’s according WIN Magazine: 125, Spencer Lee, Iowa; 133, Seth Gross, Wisconsin; 141, Dom Demas, Oklahoma; 149, Austin O’Connor, North Carolina; 157, Hayden Hidlay, North Carolina State; 165, Vencenzo Joseph, Penn State; 174, Mark Hall, Penn State; 184, Valencia; 197, Kollin Moore, Ohio State; and 285, Anthony Cassar, Penn State.