Hoffer has stellar year

Marc Hoffer took off last season to train and wrestle internationally. This season red-shirt junior has returned with a vengeance by amassing a 20-1 record two months into the season.

His performance this year makes him a top-contender to become AU's first national wrestling All-American, according to wrestling head coach Rob Puzio.

"I feel really strong about Hoffer being an All-American; he seems to have his goals set by coming into the practice room and weight room and working hard for that goal," Puzio said.

Hoffer finished the 1998-1999 season with a 35-10 record and advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament in the 149-lbs. weight-class. The Colonial Athletic Association named Hoffer the CAA Wrestler of the Year that season for his 12-1 record in dual meets throughout the year.

Hoffer continued his dominance over the weekend with a 3-1 decision at the 149-lb. weight class to improve his record to 20-1. The win allowed Hoffer to regain the rank of 14th among wrestlers nationally. Hoffer's three points helped the Eagles (3-3) as a team slide by the Duquense University Dukes with a 22-18 victory.

"After two straight losses, we were ready to go at Duquesne, and our result just proved how focused we were and can get," Puzio said.

The Eagles were also boosted by wins from freshman Aviv Bercovicz, at the 157 lb. weight class, and senior Denis Alampiev, at the 165-lb. weight class. After taking the 11-5 lead, the Eagles were forced to forfeit points, bringing them to a 15-11 deficit.

Following wins by senior Ryan Pallinger, 197-lb. weight class; junior Willie Harris, 125-lb. weight class; and freshman Jared Hyman, heavyweight, the Eagles secured their victory.

During this year Hoffer earned the highest ranking ever achieved by any wrestler at AU, when on Dec. 12, he was ranked seventh by the Amateur Wrestling Association.

Hoffer received an invitation to one of the most prestigious events among college wrestlers after achieving such a high mark.

The All-Star Classic, which is sponsored by the National Wrestling Coaches Association, will be held at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa., on Jan. 29, according to Puzio. The tournament will be a trip home for Hoffer, who attended high school in Lancaster, Pa. at Manheim Central High School.

"By making to the All-Star Classic, Hoffer is well on the road to becoming an All-American," Puzio said.

During the tournament Hoffer will face sixth ranked Eric Schmeising, of Hofstra University. The tournament will feature the top wrestlers from each weight class and will include matches between the No. 1 and 2 wrestlers in five weight classes.

Earlier this year Hoffer was named the "Most Outstanding Wrestler" at the Keystone Classic at the University of Pennsylvania. His wins have propelled him to the fourth position on the all time wins list with a 79-25 career record, pulling him just behind assistant coach Bret Ruth, who previously held the highest ranking at 12th.

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