Five Mountaineers Head West for NCAA Championships


By Ira Green
WVU Sports Information Office

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (March 17, 2009) – Five West Virginia University wrestlers, including a pair of four-time qualifiers in fifth-year seniors Kurt Brenner (174) and David Jauregui (149), earned bids to the 2009 NCAA Wrestling Championships on Thursday, March 19-21 in St. Louis, Mo. Session one on day one of the tournament begins at noon ET.

Brenner and Jauregui are just two of 13 Mountaineers in program history to qualify four times for the national tournament.

Brenner’s first match of the tournament, after a first-round bye, comes against Penn’s Scott Giffin, a redshirt sophomore. Giffin, who owns a 16-10 record, took sixth place at the EIWA Championships.

Brenner, ranked No. 10 nationally in the final InterMat rankings, earned an automatic bid after winning the 174-pound title at the Eastern Wrestling League (EWL) Championships on March 7. The 174-pound crown is the second of his career and third overall (won the 184-pound title in 2008). The Freedom, Pa., resident, who boasts an 18-4 record this season, becomes only the fifth wrestler in school history to win at least three EWL titles since the Mountaineers joined the league in 1978.

Last year, Brenner was one win away from All-America status at 184 pounds. He defeated Stanford’s Zack Giesen and Purdue’s A.J. Kissel en route to a team-best 3-2 postseason record.

Jauregui concluded the EWL Tournament with a third-place showing. He defeated Pitt’s Mark Powell, 3-2, in the opening round, but dropped a close decision to the eventual 149-pound champion, Lock Haven’s Matt Fittery. Jauregui has won seven of his last 10 matches and holds a 14-4 overall mark. At last year’s NCAA Tournament, he won two matches, including a 7-3 decision over Edinboro’s Daryl Cocozzo.

After a first-round bye, Jauregui is scheduled to face Hofstra’s Paul Gillespie. A redshirt freshman, Gillespie owns a 19-13 and won the 149-pound title in the Colonial Athletic Association Championships. If Jauregui wins, he’ll either get a rematch against Lock Haven’s Matt Fittery or a bout against No. 2 ranked Bubba Jenkins of Penn State.

Making his third appearance at the NCAA Tournament will be fifth-year senior heavyweight Dustin Rogers. Ranked No. 11 nationally, Brenner also took third place at the EWL Tournament. He earned an 18-1 tech fall over Lock Haven’s Gabe Murtorff, but fell to Cleveland State’s Rashard Goff, ranked 20th at the time. Sporting a 19-5 mark, Rogers leads the team with six wins by fall, also a career best. Against ranked opponents, the Corning, Calif., resident boasts a 6-4 mark.

Rogers, who also earned a first-round bye, received a tough draw. He will face Cornell’s Zach Hammond in the second round. Hammond, a redshirt senior, owns an 18-12 mark and finished in fifth place at the EIWA Championships. Four of his victories have come by fall. Should Rogers advance, he could face the No. 1 ranked heavyweight in Iowa State’s David Zabriskie.

Rogers won two matches at last year’s NCAA Tournament, taking a 4-2 decision against Old Dominion’s Andrew Totusek and a 7-4 victory over Minnesota’s Ben Berhow, an opponent Rogers defeated earlier this season at the Las Vegas Invitational.

Redshirt junior Donnie Jones earned his second-straight trip to the national tournament after finishing runner-up at 165 pounds at the EWL Championships. Jones defeated Cleveland State’s Rob Michaels 7-3 in the second round, but fell to Edinboro’s Jarrod King in the title match. Prior to the loss, Jones had won 10-straight matches, including five by bonus decision.

Jones’ first match of the tournament comes against No. 3 ranked Ryan Morningstar of Iowa. Morningstar, who finished runner-up at the Big Ten Championships, boasts a 27-5 mark; 22 of his wins have come by decision.

Redshirt freshman Ryan Goodman (157) will be making his first appearance at the NCAA Tournament after grabbing third place at the EWL Championships. The Latrobe, Pa., resident finished the season with an 8-9 record after registering a 3-1 mark at the league tournament. By qualifying, he continues the Mountaineers’ streak of sending a 157-pounder to the national tournament each year since 2000.

Goodman will see a familiar face in his first career NCAA Tournament match – No. 2 ranked Mike Poeta of Illinois. The two last met on Jan. 9, with Poeta earning a tech fall at the 5:17 mark. The Illinois wrestler owns a 13-0 record and won the Big Ten title on March 7.

WVU and Edinboro were the only two EWL programs to qualify at least five wrestlers for the national tournament.

Live text coverage of the 2009 NCAA Wrestling Championships can be seen by logging onto and clicking on the 2009 Championships Coverage Page.

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