COLLEGE CORNER: Matta leads the way for Lock Haven women’s wrestling program

Madison Matta, Lock Haven Women's Wrestling. COURTESY OF LOCK HAVEN UNIVERSITY ATHLETICS

Year by year, we’re seeing more and more girls and women on the wrestling mat. This time, however, there are enough female grapplers on the mat that they can now wrestle each other instead of the males.

Waynesboro grad Madison Matta has been a pioneer for women’s wrestling, shining brightly for Lock Haven’s newly-formed Division I program. As the Bald Eagles starter at 136 pounds, she has been close to automatic with wins in 10 of 12 bouts, including six falls.

In College Corner this week, we examine Matta’s magical season, while also taking a closer look at how other former Waynesboro athletes are performing this winter season. In the weeks to come, we are aiming to catch up with collegiate athletes from Greencastle and Chambersburg, before shifting our focus back to Waynesboro.

Who are we missing? Additions for College Corner can be sent to Andy Sandrik via email at [email protected].


Madison Matta, Junior, Lock Haven

Matta has been a leader on the mat for Lock Haven, which is off to a 6-1 start in just its second season of women’s wrestling.

Matta, a two-year starter at 136 pounds, has been a hammer for the Eagles this winter, going 10-2 with six falls.

She took her only two losses of the season at the Princeton Open on Nov. 6, where she posted a 3-2 record for fourth place. Matta opened with falls over Harvard’s Melinda Meng (0:16) and Limestone’s Fabiola Molina (2:25) before getting bounced from the championship bracket with a loss by fall in 1:57 to North Carolina’s Marisol Nugent. She rebounded in the wrestlebacks with a win by forfeit over Emmanuel’s Sam Larios, but her tournament ended in the third-place match with a loss by fall in 5:05 to Kennet/Kraken’s Haylie Jaffe.

Matta hasn’t lost since, going on a seven-bout winning streak to fuel the Bald Eagles. Lock Haven opened its dual schedule on Nov. 10 with a 28-19 win over East Stroudsburg, which saw Matta roll to a 5-0 win over Grace Kaczanowski.

She kept her momentum going on Nov. 19, pinning Kayla Zeppetelli in 3:37 to assist her team to a 27-12 win over New Jersey City. On Dec. 1 in a 37-11 victory over Elmira, she earned a win by fall in 2:40 over Gabby Bradigan.

Finally on Dec. 4, Lock Haven went 3-1 at the North East Regional Duals with wins over Western New England (40-0), New Jersey City (30-15), and Elmira (35-10), while taking a 29-18 loss to East Stroudsburg. Matta went 4-0 with two pins in those matches.

Matta is looking to build off a brilliant sophomore season, where she was a national qualifier while also shining in the classroom as a Scholar All-American.

Matta and Lock Haven return to the mat on Friday and Saturday at the National Dual Meet Championships.


Cara Toney, Freshman, California (Pa.)

With Toney — a 5-foot-5 swimmer specializing in the backstroke, butterfly, and IM — California is off to an unbeaten start.

The Vulcans (9-0, 4-0 PSAC) have steamrolled their first nine opponents, with Toney contributing every step of the way.

California began its season on Oct. 21 with a tri-meet sweep over Fairmont State (137-63) and Shippensburg (111-90). In those victories, Toney captured eighth-place finishes in both the 100 butterfly (1:10.30) and 100 backstroke (1:12.06), while leading the 200 freestyle relay squad to a fourth-place finish in 1:51.31.

One day later the Vulcans won another tri-meet, knocking off Frostburg State (125-77) and Davis & Elkins (122.5-81.5). Toney contributed by taking ninth in the 100 backstroke (1:12.48) and third in the 400 freestyle relay (4:15.69).

On Oct. 28-29, California added four more victories to the win column after twice defeating both East Stroudsburg (123-79 and 113-90) and Kutztown (104-100). Toney was busy on both days, logging a sixth-place finish in the 100 butterfly (1:09.19), an eighth-place finish in the 200 butterfly (2:44.76), and 10th-place finishes in the 200 freestyle (2:18.89) and 200 IM (2:38.56). She also guided the 200 medley relay team to a third-place finish in 2:07 and the 200 freestyle relay squad to a fourth-place finish in 1:53.18.

Toney turned on the jets on Nov. 5, logging her highest finish of the season in a 149-89 win over Lock Haven. She was the runner-up in the 50 freestyle with a time of 27.56. Toney added fourth-place finishes in the 500 freestyle (6:10.24) and 100 breaststroke (1:23.38), while also assisting the 200 medley relay team with a third-place finish in 2:04.50.

Finally, at the Liberty TYR Invitational on Nov. 18-20, Toney competed in two events, taking 14th in the 200 medley relay (2:03.20) and 27th in the 200 IM (2:28.89).

Toney and the Vulcans are currently in the midst of a long holiday break, but are set to return to the pool on Jan. 13-14 to host the California (Pa.) Vulcan Invitational.


Joel Weber, Freshman, Pitt-Johnstown

Pitt-Johnstown has competed in two early-season invitationals, and Weber has seen action in both.

Weber, a distance specialist, kicked off his collegiate indoor track career on Dec. 2 at the Youngstown State Icebreaker. Running in the 3,000, he logged a 10:47 for 26th place.

One week later, at the Susquehanna Early Season Invitational, Weber challenged himself in the mile, taking 10th in the event with a time of 5:12.

Weber is coming off a fall cross country season where he ran for an 8K PR time of 31:19.

The Mountain Cats return to competition on Jan. 15 for the Al Hall Freedom Games at Edinboro.

Cora Helman, Freshman, Shenandoah

Will we see Helman in indoor track this winter? That’s the question for the former Waynesboro distance star.

She’s coming off a good first season in cross country, where she logged PRs in both the 3K (12:03) and 6K (26:04), and qualified for postseason competition in both the ODAC Championships and the NCAA Division III South Region Championships.

Helman was inactive for Shenandoah’s indoor track opener, the VMI Team Challenge on Dec. 3. The Hornets return to action on Jan. 15, when they host the Kaye & JJ Smith Invitational.

Dillon Turner, Freshman, Wingate

Turner was inactive for Wingate’s season opener, a trip to the Grand Valley State Holiday Open on Dec. 9.

The Bulldogs return to action on Jan. 20-21 for USC Carolina Challenge.


Hope Freels, Freshman, Wilson

Freels, a 5-foot-10 forward, has appeared in eight of nine games for the Phoenix this season.

In 46 minutes of play, Freels has totaled four points and eight rebounds. She scored buckets in wins over Valley Forge (84-56) on Nov. 22 and Clarks Summit (71-54) on Dec. 3.

Wilson (5-4, 2-1 CSAC) returns to action on Thursday with a home game against Cairn.

Becca Cordell, Freshman, Wilson

Cordell, a 5-foot-6 guard, recently scored the first points of her collegiate career.

She inked her name into the scorebook with two points in a 71-54 win over Clarks Summit on Dec. 3. Cordell has appeared in three games this winter, logging two points, two rebounds, one assist, and one steal in 18 minutes of action.

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