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Tribes' Sharpley to wrestle at Lock Haven University

   By LOU RUSNOCK

     Four years ago. Lehighton senior wrestler Matt Sharpley went to a
summer wrestling camp at Lock Haven University hoping to better his
skills. Little did he know that he would soon be calling that same
school home for four years.
     Sharpley, who competed at the 112-pound weight class, has
accepted a scholarship to wrestle at the Division I program in central
Pennsylvania, fulfilling a life-long dream in the process.
    "I love the wrestling program there and I can't wait to start," said
Sharpley; who has been involved in the sport since he was in first grade.
"I love the competition and am always striving to be the best."
     Sharpley chose Lock Haven over East Stroudsburg and Gannon
University, Located in Erie. The school's Division I status helped,
but Sharpley's familiarity with the coach, program, and other wrestlers
played an even bigger part in the decision. After attending summer
camp for the past four years, Sharpley will participate in this year's
camp as a councilor, instructing younger grapplers on techniques he
once learned during his summers.
     This summer will also be a chance for Sharpley to rehab from a
dislocated shoulder injury that cut his senior season short, a season
in which soon-to-be graduate felt he would make an impact in the
state tournament.
    "I definitely want to show that I could have beaten half the people
in states," said Sharpley, who held an impressive 18-2 mark and captured
the Mountain Valley Conference championship in his weight class: "I feel
I could have been in the top four and it's something I'll have a chance
to prove to myself over the next four years."
    Lehighton's coach, BJ Nalesnik, has seen Sharpley's improvement
over his career as an Indian, and thinks that he will be a strong asset
to the Lock Haven program.
   "Matt has a great deal of talent," said Nalesnik, who coached
Sharpley as at the junior high and high school level.
`as a freshman,
he lacked a little confidence, but as he got stronger and drilled his
technique, he gained that confidence and got better." Sharpley
plans to major in physical therapy, something he's already learned
much about due to various wrestling-related injuries. He also plans
to add some weight to move into the 125 pound division as a freshman.
Sharpley will become just the third Lehighton wrestler to move on to
a Division I program.
          "It's a great accomplishment," said Nalesnik, who credits Sharpley's
parents for putting in the time to help him rehab and encouraging his
success on the mat. "He's had problems with injuries and it speaks a
lot about the kind of kid he is. It takes hard work to battle through
injuries like that."
    With the injuries behind him, Sharpley will now have a chance to
battle with Wrestling powers such as Iowa State and Penn State, teams
on the Bald Eagles' schedule next season. Sharpley will join a
highly-touted recruiting class which received Honorable Mention on
the 2003 InterMat list of Top Recruiting Class. But Sharpley will not
be intimidated, having wrestled against perennial national powers
such as Easton and Northampton.

           "Most of the teams we wrestled are basically future collegiate
     wrestlers, " said Sharpley. "It's always been my goal to wrestle the

     best and now I have my chance."
          It's a great accomplishment," said Nalesnik, who credits Sharpley's
parents for putting in the time to help him rehab and encouraging his
success on the mat. "He's had problems with injuries and it speaks a
lot about the kind of kid he is. It takes hard work to battle through
injuries like that."
    With the injuries behind him, Sharpley will now have a chance to
battle with Wrestling powers such as Iowa State and Penn State, teams
on the Bald Eagles' schedule next season. Sharpley will join a
highly-touted recruiting class which received Honorable Mention on
the 2003 InterMat list of Top Recruiting Class. But Sharpley will not
be intimidated, having wrestled against perennial national powers
such as Easton and Northampton.

           "Most of the teams we wrestled are basically future collegiate
     wrestlers, " said Sharpley. "It's always been my goal to wrestle the

     best and now I have my chance."