WEST LIBERTY, W.Va. – Mitch Smith is a big believer in quality and quantity but West Liberty University's head wrestling coach may have outdone himself with the Hilltoppers' latest recruiting class.
No less than 21 new faces will be hitting the mats at Smith's impressive newly-renovated wrestling facilities when the former WLU All-American begins preparations for his third season at the helm of his alma mater.
There's plenty of quality behind those numbers. Included among the newest Hilltoppers are a national collegiate champion along with multiple high school All-Americans, state champions and multi-year state tournament placers from several states.
"Not only is this the largest recruiting class in more than a half-century of wrestling at the university, I also believe it could turn out to be the deepest," Smith said. "I've really put a lot of time and effort into adding more depth and competition to an already talented group and I'm thrilled to finally be able to announce our full class.
"We are bringing in an outstanding group of freshmen that serves as the core of our recruiting class but we've also added some veteran transfers to our program. I am really excited about the future of Hilltopper wrestling and I believe all of our fans and alumni will share that excitement when they see this group in action."
Smith and his West Liberty wrestlers open the season with a stiff test when they travel to nationally-ranked Pitt-Johnstown for a 7 p.m. dual on Nov. 9.
Following are brief capsules about the 21 newest Hilltoppers:
2017-18 WEST LIBERTY WRESTLING RECRUITS
Logan Arneson, 141, fr., Frederick, Md./Urbana
Maryland Class 3A/4A state runner-up at 138 as a senior at Urbana HS. ...Posted 110 wins during high school career. ...3-time state qualifier, 2-time state placer
Robert Bozek, 133/141, fr., Chester, W.Va./Oak Glen
3-time West Virginia state champion at Oak Glen HS. ...Went 42-8 as a senior to set school record with 152 career wins
Darius Bunch, 133, jr., Baltimore, Md./Buford (Emmanuel)
Transfer from Emmanuel (Ga.) College. ...2-time NWCA All-American and 2016 national champion at 133. ...2-time state champion and 3-time state placer at Buford (Ga.) HS. ...Posted 63-1 record as a senior at Buford
Ron D'Amico, 197, fr., Pittsburgh, Pa./Shaler Area
All-Pennsylvania Class 3A grappler placed 6th at 220 in state tournament as a senior at Shaler Area HS. ...Went 43-5 as a senior to finish with 97 career wins. ...2016 champion and 2-time placer at prestigious Flo-Xcalibur Tournament
Alex Edgell, 220, fr., Wellsburg, W.Va./Brooke
3-time state qualifier and 2-time state placer at nearby Brooke HS. ...2017 OVAC Tournament champion at 220
Dakotah Goff, 149, so., Steubenville, Ohio/Steubenville (Wheeling Jesuit)
Transfer from Wheeling Jesuit. ...2-time Flo National All-American. ...3-time finalist and 145-pound champion at OVAC Tournament. ...Placed 4th at 145 in Ohio Division II Tournament. ...No. 2 all-time at Steubenville HS with 154 career wins
Jacob Grey, 174, jr., Wheeling, W.Va./Wheeling Park
Junior transfer from West Virginia Northern. ...Wrestled at Wheeling Park HS
Brandon Keys, 184/197, fr., Sistersville, W.Va./Tyler Consolidated
Placed 4th at 195 in West Virginia Class AA/A state tournament as a senior at Tyler Consolidated HS. ...OVAC Tournament placer selected to compete in 2017 OVAC All-Star Match
Miles Mazik, 149, fr., Mingo Junction, Ohio/Indian Creek
Placed 5th at 138 in Ohio Division II state tournament as a senior at Indian Creek HS. ...2017 OVAC Tournament champion at 138. ...2016 AAU All-American
Kyle McCoy, 197, so., Huntington, W.Va./Huntington (Briar Cliff)
Transfer from Brian Cliff (Iowa) University. ...Ranked among the top 285-pounders in West Virginia as a senior at Huntington HS
Chance Morgan, 184, fr., Ripley, W.Va./Ripley
3-time state qualifier placed 3rd at 182 in West Virginia Class AAA state tournament as a senior at Ripley HS. ...Twin brother of fellow WLU recruit Chase Morgan
Chase Morgan, 174, fr., Ripley, W.Va./Ripley
3-time state qualifier and 2-time state placer at Ripley HS. ...Class AAA state runner-up at 170 as a senior. ...Twin brother of fellow WLU recruit Chance Morgan
Isaiah Myers, 197, fr., Wheeling, W.Va./Wheeling Park
2016 OVAC West Virginia Wrestler of the Year. ...2016 West Virginia Class AAA state champion and 2-time state placer at 220
Jacob Ramsey, 165, fr., Center Township, Pa./Central Valley
4-year letterman and team captain at Central Valley HS. ...Sectional champion at 170. ...Also placed 3rd in WPIAL and was runner-up in the MAC Tournament
Austin Rath, 285, fr., Charlottesville, Va./William Monroe
2017 Virginia Class 3A state champion at 285. ...3-year letterman was 33-7 as a senior and 83-33 overall at William Monroe HS
Corey Secrist, 125, fr., Petersburg, W.Va./Petersburg
4-time state placer and 2-time state runner-up at Petersburg (W.Va.) HS. ...2-time NHSCA All-American. ...4-year starter posted eye-popping 193-13 record
Dillon Shaw, 157, fr., Follansbee, W.Va./Madonna
3-time West Virginia Class AA-A and OVAC Class A placer at Weirton (W.Va.) Madonna HS. ...State runner-up at 160 as a junior. ...2016 OVAC champion at 160
Steven Slack, 125, fr., Charleston, W.Va./Riverside
3-time West Virginia Class AAA placer at Riverside HS. ...State runner-up at 126 as a senior. ...Picked up 133 career wins while maintaining a 4.0 GPA
Tanner Sutton, 149, sr., Houston, Pa./Chartiers-Houston (Lock Haven)
3-year letterman at NCAA Division I Lock Haven (Pa.). ...PIAA state qualifier and WPIAL runner-up as a senior at Chartiers-Houston HS. ...4-year starter won 143 high school matches
Joshua Talbott, 125, fr., Hurricane, W.Va./Hurricane
4-year standout won more than 100 matches at Hurricane (W.Va.) HS. ...Placed 6th at 106 in 2016 state tournament. ...First Hurricane wrestler to wrestle in college
Adam Zimmerman, so., Lewisburg, W.Va./Greenbrier East
Ranked among state's Top 10 152-pounders at Greenbrier East HS. ...2015 regional champion and state tournament qualifier
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