LAS VEGAS, Nev. (December 3, 2001) * The West Virginia University wrestling team, ranked 17th in the nation, finished with an impressive second place finish this past weekend at the Las Vegas Invitational. The two-day tournament featured nine teams ranked in the top 25. Michigan, ranked fourth nationally, won the event with 163 points, followed by WVU (127), No.13 Lehigh (120.5), No.14 Edinboro (99.5) and No.10 Arizona State (97).

Tom McMath led the Mountaineers by winning the title at 165. McMath defeated three nationally-ranked wrestlers en route to the championship, including a 7-6 win over No.4 Chris Vitale of Lehigh in the finals.

Billy Smith and Joe Carr each advanced to the finals, but lost their championship matches. Smith, who upset No.5 Mike Kulcycki of Michigan in the quarterfinals, lost to No.8 Jesse Jantzen 0-6 in the finals. Carr got by No.7 Rocky Smart of Arizona State 3-2 in overtime in the semifinals only to be pinned by No.1 Bryan Snyder in the finals.

Greg Jones added a third place finish for the Mountaineers. Jones' only loss in the tournament came at the hands of Michigan's No.2 Otto Olson in the semifinals. Brandon Lauer had two technical falls, two pins and defeated two ranked wrestlers on his way to a fourth place finish.

"This was a really good tournament for us against some very good teams," head coach Craig Turnbull said. "The guys are not only wrestling to win, but they are looking to score additional points. They are on track to accomplishing their goals this season."

The Mountaineers open the home portion of the schedule this Friday, December 7, against Clarion. The Eastern Wrestling League Match will be begin at 7:00 p.m. in the Coliseum.

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