BALTIMORE, MD – Under the guidance of 13th-year head coach Keith Norris, the Johns Hopkins wrestling team will open the 2017-18 season at the Messiah Invitational on November 4. The Blue Jays return 12 individuals from last season and welcome six newcomers as they begin their quest for a Centennial Conference title.
Notes of interest as the team enters its final week of preparation before its season-opening appearance at the Messiah Invitational:
Blue Jays Picked Seventh in Centennial Preseason Poll
Johns Hopkins has been picked to finish seventh in the 2017-18 Centennial Conference Preseason Poll of head coaches. The Blue Jays earned 15 points in the poll, which was topped by defending conference champion Stevens. The Ducks grabbed seven of eight first-place votes and totaled 49 points to claim the top spot.
Johns Hopkins has placed in the top four at the Centennial Conference championships six times in the last eight years and 11 times in the last 16 years.
2017-18 Centennial Conference Preseason Wrestling Poll
Rk. School (1st Place Votes) – Pts.
1. Stevens (7) - 49
2. Ursinus (1) – 40
3. Gettysburg – 34
4. Merchant Marine - 33
5. Washington & Lee – 28
6. McDaniel – 18
7. Johns Hopkins – 15
8. Muhlenberg – 7
The Blue Jays will compete in five regular season tournaments, including the season-opening Messiah Invitational on November 4. Johns Hopkins will also participate in the Ursinus Fall Brawl (November 11), the Doug Parker Invitational at Springfield College (November 18) and York’s prestigious New Standard Corp Invitational (December 2) before the holiday break. Hopkins will round out is tournament action on January 6, 2018 at the Waynesburg Invitational.
Grapple at the Garden
Johns Hopkins will once again participate in the Grapple at the Garden as the Blue Jays will take on NYU in the world’s most famous arena, Madison Square Garden. The JHU-NYU match on December 10 is part of a day-long wrestling event that includes teams from NCAA Division I, II and III as well as a high school all-star match.
Johns Hopkins has five home matches scheduled with the five slated to take place between January 14 and January 20 on three separate dates. Three of the five are Centennial Conference matches against Washington & Lee, Ursinus and Muhlenberg, while Penn College and national power York will also visit Goldfarb Gym.
A mix of veterans and newcomers will dot the Blue Jay lineup this season. Six returning wrestlers have competed in at least 50 matches in their careers with Joyce (27 career wins), Vallis (27), Escobar (22), Dane Morgan (26), Isaac Morales (21) leading the way. Vallis is slotted to wrestle at 125, while Escobar (141), Joyce (149), Morgan (165) and Morales (184) fill most of the middle of the lineup.
A healthy Ricky Cavallo at 133 would significantly bolster the Blue Jay lineup. Cavallo wrestled just 13 times last season, but posted a 9-4 record with five bonus-point victories among his nine wins.
Several newcomers could also find their way into the lineup early in the season, with freshmen Dominick Reyes (157) and Henri Behaeghel (197/285) the most likely candidates. Reyes, a local product who prepped at nearby Loyola High School, was the 152-pound champion in the rugged MIAA last season, while Behaeghel was a state champion in Massachusetts as a senior.
By the Numbers
3.56 – Members of the Johns Hopkins wrestling team combined to post a 3.56 GPA in the spring. Eleven members of the team posted at least a 3.5 in the spring and one returnee – Miles Gilliam – posted a perfect 4.00.
7 – Johns Hopkins has produced seven all-time All-Americans. All seven have wrestled under the direction of current head coach Keith Norris.
8 – Johns Hopkins has produced at least one Centennial Conference individual champion every year since 2010. That is the longest active streak in the league.
19 – Since 2000, Johns Hopkins has had 19 individuals qualify for the NCAA Wrestling Championships; 17 of those have come since 2006.
22 – Johns Hopkins wrestlers have earned 22 individual Centennial Conference titles, including 19 since 2006.
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