Though Penn State ran away with the NCAA wrestling title last season, coach Cael Sanderson and co. may never have reached their goal without the help of Andrew Long.
Long has left the team after receiving attempted rape, aggravated indecent assault and indecent assault charges from a a sexual assault incident that occurred on Aug. 12.
After joining the Nittany Lions on Dec. 27 last year, the former national runner-up at Iowa State cruised to a 20-2 record with Penn State, taking third in the country at 133 pounds.
Now, as they look to repeat in 2011, the Lions will need to find someone to fill Long's shoes.
Let's take a look at a few of the top candidates:
- Frank Martellotti - Martellotti burst onto the scene as a true freshman in 2010, finishing 18-3 wrestling at both 125- and 133-pounds. With two-time national qualifier Brad Pataky nursing a knee injury for much of the season, Martellotti gave the Lions a much needed boost, going 7-0 in dual matches. Academic issues kept him out of competition for much of the second half of the season. But if Martellotti keeps everything in order, he could be a major factor in 2011.
- Sam Sherlock - After redshirting in 2010, the former PIAA 125-pound state champion should be ready to take the mat in the blue and white singlet. Sherlock wrestled to an 18-5 record last season, wrestling unattached at 133 pounds. He had six majors, two technical falls and three pins in 2010, and was the No. 2 ranked 130-pounder in the country as a high school senior.
- Michael Waters - In a 2011 recruiting class highlighted by top-notch recruits, Waters has more wins than anyone else in the class. He finished his career at Davie in North Carolina with a 203-21 record.