Kiski Area wrestler Blumer commits to Penn State
Night after night, Joey Blumer had the same conversation about college with his parents.
He grew tired enough of it that it drove him to make a decision he had dreamed about for years anyway.
Blumer, a Kiski Area senior, committed earlier this week to wrestle for Penn State, a team that claimed five of the past six NCAA team championships.
He signed his National Letter of Intent on Thursday, the final day of wrestling's early-signing period.
“It's the biggest relief I've had in months,” Blumer said. “Every night my parents would call me down and we'd talk about the ups and downs of each school. It was the same exact thing every night — it got old.
“(Making the decision) felt like a 50-pound dumbbell lifted off my chest.”
Blumer chose Penn State over his other two finalists, Pitt and Army.
He said attending Penn State had been a dream school for years because his father, Joe, went there.
“Ever since I was little, I've always wanted to go there,” Blumer said. “That was before I even started wrestling, and as I'm getting older, Penn State is the No. 1 wrestling team in the nation. How could you not want to go there?”
Former Kiski Area wrestler Matt McCutcheon, a redshirt junior at Penn State, helped facilitate the recruiting process. Penn State contacted Blumer after his junior season, in which he finished 44-10 — giving him 112 career victories — and reached the PIAA Class AAA tournament for the second consecutive season.
“(McCutcheon) was a little biased, obviously, but he helped me out with making the decision,” Blumer said. “Once he found out I was going there, he was very happy and I was happy I could be on his team.”
Penn State's roster is dotted with former star WPIAL wrestlers like Jimmy Gulibon (Derry), Vincenzo Joseph (Central Catholic), McCutcheon and Jason Nolf (Kittanning), and the Nittany Lions coach, Cael Sanderson, was a four-time undefeated NCAA champion at Iowa State and a gold medalist at the 2004 Athens Olympics.
“Everyone says that if I want to be the best wrestler I can possibly be that I've got to go to Penn State,” Blumer said. “The coaching there and the (wrestling) partners are unbeatable. Once they reached out to me and told me that they'd make me the best wrestler I could be, I couldn't really say no. It's hard to say no to Cael Sanderson.
“The best kids at every weight are going to be there, so I'm looking forward to being as good as I can possibly be. If I can compete in their room, I think I can compete in just about any stage of wrestling.”
Blumer was one of Kiski Area's best wrestlers at compiling bonus points last season, ranking among the team leaders in pins and helping the Cavaliers finish third in the WPIAL team tournament and reach the PIAA championships.
Individually, he finished third in the WPIAL to qualify for the state tournament, where he finished one victory shy of placing in the top eight.
He finished second in the WPIAL and seventh in the state as a junior and is a three-time Valley News Dispatch wrestling All-Star.
Blumer said he's considering a major in sports science in something like kinesiology or orthopedics.
With his college decision made, Blumer is focusing on his senior year of high school and joining McCutcheon as Kiski Area state champion wrestlers.
“I wanted to get this decision out of the way so it wasn't something I was worried about going into the season,” Blumer said. “Now I can only think about wrestling my best and being the best wrestler I can be my senior year.”