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Ringgold grad Garcia succeeds on college mats

| Sunday, Nov. 20, 2011

With four years of eligibility remaining, former Ringgold High School wrestling standout Fred Garcia looks to begin a promising collegiate career at Lock Haven University.

Wrestling only in open tournaments in 2010-2011, Garcia compiled a 13-8 overall record while finishing fourth at the Clarion open, third at the Nittany Lion open, and second at Lock Haven's annual Mat-Town open.

A 184-pound projected starter, Garcia and the Bald Eagles will compete in the Body Bar Invitational in Ithaca, N.Y., this Saturday, Nov. 19. This year's Mat Town Tournament will be Nov. 26 and then the Bald Eagles will host Michigan State University in a dual meet Dec. 3 beginning at noon.

Lock Haven's third-year head wrestling coach is Robbie Waller.

A graduate of Mt. Pleasant Area High School Waller finished his scholastic career with a remarkable 128-3 record and won the 1998 PIAA Class AAA title. He was also a two-time state runner-up, and a FILA Junior Freestyle Champion.

Prior to Lock Haven, Waller was the top assistant coach for the University of Oklahoma from 2005-2009. Working under head coach Jack Spates, Waller assisted in all facets of the program, including recruiting some of the nation's top scholastic wrestlers. In 2006, Waller helped Oklahoma to a third-place finish at the NCAA National Championship. He is a 2003 graduate of Oklahoma and believes Garcia will be a solid contributor this season.

"Fred Garcia is one to watch this season," Waller said. "He will be pushed by improving freshman Zach Heffner, but Fred handled himself very well against some very tough competition in open meets last year and making the needed commitment to be very successful."

Ringgold's all-time leader in career wrestling wins with 124, Garcia was ranked first in the WPIAL Class AAA in 2010 at 189 pounds with a perfect 34-0 overall record. His 2010 post-season came to a cruel end after an ankle injury with just 80 seconds elapsed forced him to forfeit a quarterfinal round match in the WPIAL Class AAA championships to Hampton's Jacob Hart. After a bye Garcia opened the tourney with a pin of Hopewell's Josh Trillow in 1:39.

The injury also forced Garcia to forgo the baseball season, but he enjoyed a highly successful summer of wrestling before attending Lock Haven. He took first place at the Ohio Tournament of Champions, won a state freestyle title and went undefeated at the Disney Duels.

Garcia defeated Heffner 5-2 at the second annual Crimson and White Dual Meet held at Lock Haven's Thomas Fieldhouse on Nov. 5. Garcia and the Bald Eagles opened the regular season at the Wrestle for a Cure Duals on Nov. 12 at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex & Expo Center in Harrisburg.

Fowler honored

Ringgold High School graduate Jordan Fowler continues to make the most of his only season as a starting collegiate quarterback.

A 6-foot, 178-pound senior at Allegheny College, Fowler received North Coast Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Week honors on consecutive weeks last month.

Fowler earned the weekly honors after leading the Gators to a 31-28 home win over Denison (OH) College on Oct. 15 and a 31-17 road victory at Kenyon College on Oct. 8.

Against Denison, Fowler tossed a three-yard, game-wining touchdown pass to senior Sean Griffin with 11 seconds left which handed the Big Red their first conference setback. He helped Allegheny convert eight of its final 12 third-down attempts, including two key third downs on the game-winning drive.

On the day he completed 29 of 39 passes for 312 yards and three touchdowns, he became just the seventh Allegheny signal caller in team history to pass for over 300 yards in a game.

His completion and touchdown totals were single-game career highs for Fowler while the 39 attempts tied his career high set in the Kenyon game the previous week.

In that game Fowler passed for 271 yards with 25 completions and a pair of touchdowns.

Through nine games this season Fowler has completed 177 of 269 passes for 1,746 yards, 13 touchdowns and five interceptions.

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