NAIA Preview – William Penn

We now take a look at the William Penn Statesmen program, who is coming off a top 20 finish in 2015 where they were able to send four wrestlers to the NAIA national championships, and they return one All-American from the previous season. The Statesmen are led by Eric Reed who will be entering his eighth season as a coach for William Penn.

Scottie Bonds William Penn

Scottie Bonds – William Penn Athletics

The Statesmen will be led by their two-time NAIA All-American junior Scottie Bonds. There is a good chance that we will see Bonds make a move up the lineup for the second year in a row, but that hasn’t slowed his finishes as he took third as a freshman at 133, and third as a sophomore at 141. Bonds will be the anchor in the near the middle of the WP lineup.

And that move up in weight by Bonds will allow senior Brad Watson (a 2014 NAIA national qualifier) to enter the lineup as the starter at 141 pounds. NAIA is a little different in that the team can send more than one wrestler per weight to nationals, but this move will make their dual lineup stronger. Seniors Angelo Kelly and Bryan Pittman will push Watson for this spot, and Kelly manged to go 11-9 last season.

We should see another good lineup battle at 157 where a pair of returning starters Christian Padilla and Logan Loftus will battle out for the spot and they should see competition from incoming freshman Austinn Goin of Missouri. High school fans will remember that Loftus is a former state champion for Iowa Valley, and went 11-16 two years ago for WP. Goin took third at the most recent Missouri high school state championships.

That leaves sophomore Johnny Hopper as the only other wrestler in the lineup with starting experience for the Statesmen, and he went 14-11 last year.

From there we should see a bunch of new faces entering the lineup and one of the more intriguing weights for WP might be 125 pounds where redshirt freshman John Altieri and true freshman Tommy Rios will look to cut their teeth on the NAIA scene. Altieri comes in a four-time Rhode Island high school state champion, and Rios is a two-time Arizona state medalist. Both show a lot of potential.

2015-16 Projected Line-up
125 – John Altieri RSFR or Tommy Rios FR
133 – Fabian Rodriguez FR
141 – Brad Watson SR or Angelo Kelly SR or Bryan Pittman SR
149 – Scottie Bonds JR
157 – Christian Padilla SR or Logan Loftus RSSO or Austinn Goin FR
165 – Johnny Hopper SO
174 – Tyler Foubert RSFR
184 – Cody Jones FR
197 – Andruw Goin FR
285 – Mark Gadson SR or Matthew Cuthbert RSFR or Gerardo Suarez FR

Freshman Fabian Rodriguez, a three-time state place-winner out of Virginia may be the maybe the man at 133 pounds.

A pair of former Iowa standouts could be back-to-back in the Statesmen lineup, with former Eddyville-Blakesburg state champion Tyler Foubert looking to take over 174 after redshirting his freshman year. He could be joined by incoming Oskaloosa native Cody Jones, who was a state qualifier this past season.

There could be a second Goin freshman challenging for a lineup spot with former Missouri state qualifier Andruw Goin looking to break through at 197 pounds for WP.

Heavyweight could be another three man battle as Mark Gadson will be the veteran presence as a senior, but Matt Cuthbert has already been in the room for a year as well. Both of them will be pushed by incoming Utah high school standout Gerardo Suarez.

So looking at the William Penn lineup you would notice a fair amount of youth coming into the lineup after losing most of the wrestlers responsible for last year’s top 20 finish. With that said Bonds and Watson should provide to valuable wrestlers back-to-back in the lineup with both challenging for spots on the podium.