Spartans Set to Host Metropolitan Conference Championships

   YORK, PA-The York College wrestling team will serve host to the 2009 Metropolitan Wrestling Conference Championship tournament on Sunday at the Grumbacher Sport and Fitness Center. The tournament serves as a regional qualifier to the 2009 NCAA Division III National Championship Tournament on March 6 & 7, 2009 at the U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The Metropolitan Championships will send 16 wrestlers to the national championships as ten weight class winners will be joined by six wild card selections which will be picked by the coaches at the conclusion of the tournament on Sunday night.
    The action kicks off in Charles Wolf Gymnasium on Sunday at 9:30 am with the preliminaries and the quarterfinals. The semifinals and first round consolation round starts at approximately 11:30 am. The consolation semifinals are scheduled to begin at 2:00 pm followed by the finals and consolation finals are set for two mats at 4:00 pm.
    The doors will open for spectators at 9:00 am with admission prices set at $5.00 for adults, $2.00 for seniors aged 60 and up, and $2.00 for students with ID.
    The nine-team tournament features three nationally ranked teams including defending team champion College of New Jersey. The Lions enter the weekend ranked 18th in the country. They are followed by 20th ranked Wilkes University and the 29th ranked host Spartans. Joining that threesome will be Centenary College, Elizabethtown College, Hunter College, King’s College, New York University, and the University of Scranton.
    The tournament has four nationally ranked wrestlers including a pair in the 125 pound weight class. Elizabethtown freshman Tyler Erdman is ranked seventh at 125 while Wilkes senior Shaun Farnham is tenth in the same weight class. The defending 125 pound champion, York’s Kyle Flickinger, has moved up to 133 pounds for 2009. College of New Jersey’s Justin Bonitatis is the defending champion at 165 pounds and is currently ranked sixth in the nation. York’s Brian Thomason is the fourth nationally ranked grappler as he sits at 10th in the nation at 174 pounds.
    The tournament has three returning champions in Flickinger, Bonitatis and King’s 174-pounder Michael Reilly. The tournament features four wrestlers that earned at-large berths in 2008. Wilkes’ Erik Smith at 149, York’s John Niedrich at 157, Wilkes’ Frank Heffernan at 165, and TCNJ’s Greg Osgoodby at 174 pounds were all national qualifiers last year.
    It is the fourth time that York College has served as host for the Metropolitan Championships but the first time in the new Grumbacher Sport and Fitness Center. The Spartans last hosted the tournament in 2006 when they won the team title.


Photo: York's Kyle Flickinger - Last year's 125 Pound Metro Conference Champion