Three Mountaineers Earn Individual Championships

MORGANTOWN, W.Va., (March 6, 2000) West Virginia University's wrestling team finished second at the EWL tournament for the third consecutive year behind Edinboro at the 2000 EWL tournament at Pittsburgh, Pa., this past weekend.

West Virginia led the tournament with 113 points to Edinboro's 112.5 going into the last finals match of the evening. If Cleveland State's Russ Davie defeated Edinboro's Josh Pearce at heavyweight then the Mountaineers would have won the tournament by .5 points. Pearce defeated Davie with 2-2 ride-out victory to give the Fighting Scots 116.5 team points and the team championships.

A total of six Mountaineers qualified for the NCAA tournament, while three of those won individual championships.

Senior Vertus Jones (Slickville, Pa.), ranked second in the nation, became West Virginia's first four-time EWL champion with his6-4, overtime victory over Edinboro's No. 6 Kevin Welsh in the 184-lb. weight class final. He is only the third EWL wrestler in the history of the conference to be a four-time champion. With his victory over Welsh, Jones moves to 26-1 on the season, with his only loss coming against Welsh two weeks ago. He has 11 career EWL tournament wins, most-ever by a Mountaineer. For his efforts, he was named the tournament's "Outstanding Wrestler." He has amassed a career mark of 91-20, seventh on WVU's all-time wins list. Jones is a two-time All-American and will be making his fourth appearance at the NCAA tournament.

Senior Bob Patnesky (Canonsburg, Pa.), ranked 12th in the nation, earned his first EWL tournament title with his 6-4 overtime victory over Edinboro's Chad Caros, at 133. He is now 8-3 lifetime in the EWL tournament and is in fourth place on WVU's 126/133 pound win list with his seasonal record of 23-3. He will be making his third straight NCAA tournament appearance.

Sophomore Joe Carr (Lexington, Ky.) also won his first EWL tournament title with his victory over Bloomsburg's No. 5 Ed Hockenberry 9-7, at 157. Carr will be making his second straight NCAA tournament appearance. He is now tied for fourth on WVU's all-time sophomore wins list with a 27-8 record. He has amassed a 5-2 EWL tournament career mark. Carr avenged his loss to Hockenberry from earlier in the season.

Senior Angelo Zegarelli (Deer Park, N.Y.) placed second in the EWL tournament at 125, losing to No.18 Trap McCormack of Lock Haven, 9-8. Zegarelli will be making his fourth straight NCAA appearance. He is tied for third on WVU's all-time EWL wins list with a 9-4 mark. He is tied for fifth on WVU's all-time 118/125 wins list with a 21-7 season this year.

Fresman Billy Smith (Greensburg, Pa.), placed third in the tournament at 149, earning his first NCAA tournament berth. His 25-10 record this season places him 3rd on WVU's all-time freshman wins list. He went 3-1 in the tournament.

Senior Sean Hage (Powder Springs, Ga.) went 1-1 in the tournament before medical forfeiting out of the heavyweight bracket. He did, however, qualify for the NCAA tournament with one of the EWL's nine wild card spots. He will be competing in his third straight NCAA tournament.

Senior Richard Taylor (Milesburg, Pa.) posted a 2-2 mark at 165 to finish fourth in the tournament. He is the first alternate to go to the NCAA tournament should someone higher than he be injured.

Senior Martius Harding (Baltimore, Md.) also posted a 2-2 mark to finish fourth at 197. He is also the first alternate at that weight class. Senior Akil Coad (Long Beach, N.Y.) finished sixth with a 1-3 mark.

The Mountaineers head to the NCAA tournament in St. Louis, Mo., March 16-19.

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