WVU's Greg Jones Wins Hardman Award

WHEELING, W.Va. (January 30) West Virginia University's national champion wrestler Greg Jones has been voted winner of the Hardman Award as the 2004 state Amateur Athlete of the Year.

The Mountaineer senior will be recognized May 1 by the W. Va. Sports Writers Association at the 59th annual Victory Awards Dinner in Fairmont. Jones is the only two-time NCAA national champion in WVU history and will be seeking his third title in March.

Jones became the first Mountaineer wrestler to finish with an unbeaten season record (26-0) in 2004 while winning the 184-pound NCAA title. In 2002, he became only the 10th freshman to win a national crown when he captured the 174-pound title..

"Based on his accomplishments," 27-year WVU coach Craig Turnbull says, "Greg would have to be on the short list among the greatest athletes in school history."

Jones won the award in balloting with four other finalists including runnerup Pat Carter of Huntington, the 2000 honoree who extended his W.Va. Amateur Golf Tournament title run to a national record 10 in a row.

Other finalists were WVU football quarterback Rasheed Marshall, the Big East Conference offensive player of the year; Mountain State's Zach Moss, the NAIA national basketball player of the year; and Marshall U. football lineman Johnathan Goddard, the Mid-America Conference defensive player of the year and All-America honoree.

Jones, who enters this weekend with a career record of 112-4 including one default, is "one of the greatest wrestlers in the U.S., not only WVU," Turnbull says. "He has competed with, and fared very well, in USA Wrestling competition against the best in the land. Greg has been to the Olympic and World training camps and has his sights set on the 2008 Olympic Games."

Jones, a Hodge Trophy candidate awarded to the nation's top collegiate wrestler, was a finalist for the 2004 honor. In the 2004 NCAA national tournament, Jones didn't allow an offensive point while winning all five matches. His record in three NCAA nationals is 12-2 entering this season.

The two-time Mountaineer team captain is seeking his third Eastern Wrestling League Wrestler of the Year honor and team MVP awards. He also won the 2004 Red Brown Cup given to WVU's most outstanding all-around student-athlete. He has a 3.5 grade point average and majors in sports behavior.

The native of Slickville, Pa., and former state champion at Greensburg-Salem High School comes from a 'wrestling family' including older brother Vertus Jones, a three-time WVU All-American.

The honoree is the 29th Mountaineer athlete to win the award. Last year's honoree was WVU All-America football linebacker Grant Wiley. Jones is the first wrestler to win the state's oldest annual award which was originated in 1934 and is named for the late Charleston Gazette sports editor A. L.(Shorty) Hardman, a co-founder of the Victory Awards Dinner.

Hardman Award/Amateur Athlete of Year Winners

2004--Greg Jones, West Virginia U., wrestling.
2003--Grant Wiley, West Virginia U., football.
2002--Byron Leftwich, Marshall U., football.
2001--Byron Leftwich, Marshall U., football.
2000--Pat Carter, Huntington, golf.
1999--Chad Pennington, Marshall U., football.
1998--J. R. House, Nitro High, football.
1997--Randy Moss, Marshall U., football.
1996--Randy Barnes, South Charleston, track.
1995--Chris Parker, Marshall U., football.
1994--Chris George, Glenville State, football.
1993--Jed Drenning, Glenville State, football.
1992--Michael Payton, Marshall U., football.
1991--Michael Payton, Marshall U., football.
1990--John Taft, Marshall U., basketball.
1989--Major Harris, West Virginia U., football.
1988--Major Harris, West Virginia U., football.
1987--Tony Petersen, Marshall U., football.
1986--Thomas McLean, W. Va. Wesleyan, soccer.
1985--Carl Fodor, Marshall U., football.
1984--Mary Lou Retton, Fairmont, gymnastics.
1983--Jeff Hostetler, West Virginia U., football.
1982--Darryl Talley, West Virginia U., football.
1981--Oliver Luck, West Virginia U., football.
1980--Lowes Moore, West Virginia U., basketball.
1979--Mary Ostrowski, Parkersburg Catholic, basketball.
1978--Curt Warner, Pineville High, all sports.
1977--Tom Pridemore, West Virginia U., football.
1976--John Filliez, Marshall U., football.
1975--Jack Deloplaine, Salem College, football.
1974--Jay Feltz, Monongah High, all sports.
1973--Danny Buggs, West Virginia U., football.
1972--Russell Lee, Marshall U., basketball.
1971--Dave Cooper, Fairmont State, basketball.
1970--Jim Braxton, West Virginia U., football.
1969--Carl Crennell, West Virginia U., football.
1968--Mike Barrett, W. Va. Tech., basketball.
1967--Larry Blackstone, Fairmont State, football.
1966--Garrett Ford, West Virginia U., football.
1965--Dick Leftridge, West Virginia U., football.
1964--Bill Campbell, Huntington, golf.
1963--Rod Thorn, West Virginia U., basketball.
1962--Dave Tork, Fairmont, track.
1961--tie; Lee Patrone, West Virginia U., basketball;
and Bruce Meredith, West Virginia U., rifle.
1960--Jerry West, West Virginia U., basketball.
1959--Jerry West, West Virginia U., basketball.
1958--Ed Tutwiler, Charleston, golf.
1957--Chuck Howley, West Virginia, all sports.
1956--Rod Hundley, West Virginia U., basketball.
1955--Bill Campbell, Huntington, golf.
1954--Dwayne Wingler, Woodrow Wilson High, all sports.
1953--Bob Orders, West Virginia U., football.
1952--Paul Bischoff, West Virginia U., football.
1951--Mark Workman, West Virginia U., basketball.
1950--George King, Morris Harvey, basketball.
1949--George King, Morris Harvey, basketball.
1948--Mark Workman, Charleston High, basketball.
1947--Leland Byrd, West Virginia U., basketball.
1946--Bill Leskovar, Fairmont Senior High, all sports.
1945--Harold Daugherty, Weir High, all sports.
1944--Jimmy Walthall, West Virginia U., all sports.
1943--Jimmy Walthall, West Virginia U., all sports.
1942--John Abramovic, Salem College, basketball.
1941--Kenny Griffith, Alderson-Broaddus, basketball.
1940--Anna Lou Ballew, Mannington, rifle.
1939--Delos Parsons, Huntington, tennis.
1938--Delos Parsons, Huntington, tennis.
1937--Ed Blickle, Huntington, tennis.
1936--Tom Brand, Kingwood, golf.
1935--Joe Stydahar, West Virginia U., all sports.
1934--Fritzie Stifel Quarrier, Wheeling, golf.

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