HEISER: Chance Marsteller left with thousand-yard stare

Steve Heiser
  • Chance Marsteller was a four-time state champion at Kennard-Dale.
  • He finished his career with the Rams with a 166-0 record.
  • He's charged with aggravated assault, a first-degree felony, among other charges.

It's called the thousand-yard stare.

It was first coined to describe the blank, unfocused gaze of battle-weary soldiers.

Its definition was later expanded to any victim of trauma.

It's the look displayed by Chance Marsteller in his mug shot earlier this week.

In this case, however, the trauma experienced by the 21-year-old Marsteller appears self-inflicted.

Marsteller, as you almost certainly know by now, has been charged in Clinton County with six counts of aggravated assault, a first-degree felony, six more counts each of misdemeanor simple assault and reckless endangerment, two counts of misdemeanor disorderly conduct and one count of misdemeanor open lewdness, according to online court records.

Chance Marsteller

He spent just more than 24 hours in Clinton County Correctional Facility from Friday to Saturday, at which point he made his $50,000 monetary bail.

The sad details of the incident have been widely reported. If you're still reading this, you almost certainly know them. There's no point in rehashing them here. His innocence or guilt will be determined by a court of law.

Not surprisingly, Marsteller is no longer a member of the Lock Haven University wrestling team.

The Bald Eagles looked like Marsteller's last, best chance to resurrect a career that seemed destined for greatness.

Now, there's more than a little doubt about whether Marsteller will ever again wrestle competitively.

It's been a long, hard fall.

Stellar career at K-D: Marsteller's high school career at Kennard-Dale was the stuff legends are made of. Wrestling at a school with little or no wrestling tradition, Marsteller won four PIAA championships in the best scholastic wrestling state in the nation. He finished his K-D career at 166-0.

Still, Marsteller was always an enigmatic figure.

The folks from our office who dealt with Marsteller said he was always engaging, polite and humble — on the rare opportunities when you could speak with him. He was notorious for not returning calls and messages, and he certainly did not crave the spotlight.

Of course, at the time, that seemed understandable, considering the avalanche of media demands that were being made on the teenager from local, state and national outlets.

Chance Marsteller's college wrestling career at Oklahoma State never lived up to its advance billing.

Even though he ducked the limelight, he was known to be generous with his time instructing younger wrestlers.

College switch: As a senior, Marsteller was rated the top wrestling recruit in the nation by some. He verbally committed to Penn State and its renowned head coach, Cael Sanderson. The powerhouse Nittany Lions were in the middle of a run that has seen them win five NCAA Division I championships in the last six years.

There was even talk that Marsteller would try to earn a 2016 Olympic berth in Rio

Marsteller, however, eventually backed out of his verbal commitment to PSU and instead elected to sign a National Letter of Intent with Oklahoma State, which is also an elite NCAA Division I wrestling program. At the time, he said he made his commitment to PSU in haste and because it was what everyone else wanted him to do.

After due consideration, he changed his mind to the Cowboys because of their history of producing Olympians and because Oklahoma State coach John Smith seemed like the best fit for him.

Marsteller released on $50K bail

Oklahoma State years: When he arrived at Oklahoma State, however, things began to unravel.

He never lived up to his advance billing with the Cowboys. He was redshirted his freshman season, compiling a good-but-not-great 14-4 mark in open tournaments. He became OSU's primary starter at 157 pounds last season, but went a rather ordinary 6-5.

Some questioned his conditioning at OSU, while Marsteller said his problems stemmed from cutting too much weight. He won his last state title at Kennard-Dale at 170 pounds, but had to drop to 157 at OSU because the team's 165-pound slot was occupied by three-time NCAA champion Alex Dieringer.

His brief OSU career effectively ended when it was reported that Marsteller would have to sit out the rest of his redshirt freshman season for a violation of team rules. The details of the violation were not released.

After getting suspended from the team, Marsteller Tweeted: "not a quitter but im done with this sport it no longer needs me and i no longer will suffer from it (sic)."

Signing on with Lock Haven: He eventually changed his mind, however, and opted to return to Pennsylvania to wrestle at Lock Haven, a small university in the center of the state which still wrestles at the NCAA Division I level.

Marsteller seemed ready to revive his career with the Eagles.

"I feel like a new person," Marsteller told Pennlive.com just a week ago. "Not so much a new person, but I feel like the old me again. Just kind of getting back to my roots and doing what I do best and enjoying doing it again. And that's a big factor. Lock Haven brings back the enjoyment for wrestling again."

A few days later, his fabled wrestling career is in tatters, and that isn't his biggest problem. Not by a long shot.

Given his legal situation, his future, in general, is in serious doubt.

What's left, is a bewildered young man with a thousand-yard stare.

Steve Heiser is sports editor of The York Dispatch. He can be reached at sheiser@yorkdispatch.com.