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Sophomore Flannery one pin away from tying record

By Jim Berdysz

February. 2, 2012

Last year, Viking wrestler Nick Flannery was just a rookie, hoping for a chance at another great chapter in his already successful wrestling career. Sure he made an immediate impact, ending his freshman season third on the team with 12 wins, but being only a freshman there was no doubt more to come from him.

Enter this season, and Flannery now a sophomore has taken off to become not only a valuable asset to the team, but his name could also be hitting the CSU record books fairly soon.

Flannery a native of Framingham, Massachusetts (about 30 minutes west of Boston) currently leads the team with 19 wins and eight pins, which is just one pin away from tying the CSU pin record held by Tim Payne and Tony DiGiovanni.

“[The record] doesn’t affect me,” Flannery said. “I can’t do anything right now except perform the way I have been all season and whatever happens, happens. It certainly would be nice to do, but there’s still a long way to go in the season so I am not focusing on it right now.”

With only four matches left before the Eastern Wrestling League Tournament at the end of the season, Flannery may be called upon to again lead his teammates.

“Different guys lead in different aspects,” said head coach Ben Stehura. “There are physical leaders and emotional leaders our guys can look up to. It’s a leadership by committee where there really isn’t that one player, so it’s different for each person.” Flannery being the humble person he is had a different take:

“I really don’t look at myself as a leader even when I am winning. There are a lot of other good players on this team that I look up to myself each match.”

After a tough loss to nationally ranked No. 20 Edinboro this past Saturday, Stehura noted of what it’s going to take for his team and Flannery to finish out the year strong.

“Sure it’s always better going into your next match coming off a win, but sometimes that’s just not case,” Stehura said. “All the teams we face are strong so all our guys have to come out and be ready to perform at a high level.”

The Vikings now will have to rely on some road luck as they close out the season. Having three of their last four matches on the road all against EWL teams, CSU will need to end strong if they want to seed higher in the conference.

“How you get seeded is important,” Stehura said. “The better Nick and everyone does determines the path they make themselves for nationals.”

It certainly won’t be easy though as the Vikings are a very young team all around. Thirteen of the team’s 26 players are freshman while another seven are sophomores. Even with a 6-10 record overall, Stehura still has seen progress throughout the season.

“There has been progress all around the team,” Stehura said. “This season I’ve seen guys step up from last year, we’re placing in tournaments as a team, and we have lost some close matches where essentially one move could have changed the entire outcome.”

The Vikings will now look to get back on track when they travel to Lock Haven tomorrow night at 7 p.m.