The 25th tournament will be the 23rd for the Mountaineers. West Virginia finished second in last years tournament to Edinboro and qualified eight wrestlers to travel to the NCAA tournament.
After posting a 6-4-1, 4-2-1 regular season record, the Mountaineers enter the tournament with a lot of promise.
"We go into the two tournament with two goals," says coach Craig Turnbull. "One, is to win the conference championship and more importantly to qualify as many of our guys for the NCAA tournament as possible. "The league has such parity now that it's a whole new season to get excited about. How well you perform determines if you go to the NCAA tournament. It will be exciting drama. All of our guys will have challenging matches."
Leading the way for the Old Gold and Blue will be two-time All-American and three-time EWL champion Vertus Jones (Slickville, Pa.). The senior posted a 23-1 record for the Mountaineers at 184-pounds and has amassed a career mark of 88-20 , which ties him for seventh on the all-time wins list with Jeff Spinetti. This season, Jones broke the WVU all-time consecutive win streak of 23 set by Scott Collins in 1991. Jones recorded 24 straight dating back to the NCAA tournament last season. He has the chance to become West Virginia's first four-time EWL champion. He is undefeated in his three previous EWL tournament, posting an 8-0 record. He needs just two wins in the tournament to tie Collins for most tournament wins by a Mountaineer. Jones won the West Virginia Open, the Navy Classic and Las Vegas Invitational
Heavyweight senior Sean Hage (Powder Springs, Ga.) looks to improve upon his 18-2 regular season record. This year Hage was a pinning machine, subduing eight opponents, which ties him fourth in WVU's seasonal pins. He also has 22 career pins, tying him for second on the all-time career pins list. This will be his third EWL tournament. He won the West Virginia Open, the Navy Classic and finished fifth at the Las Vegas Invitational.
Senior 133-pounder Bob Patnesky (Canonsburg, Pa.) posted a 20-3 record this year and will be making his third trip to the EWL tournament. His 20 wins ties him for fifth on the all-time 133 pound wins list. He holds the first and third spots on that list already. Two of his three losses this season were to opponents who were ranked higher than he. He defeated four ranked opponents. He finished first at the Navy Classic, third at the West Virginia Open and sixth at the Great Plains Invitational.
Sophomore Joe Carr (Lexington, Ky.) led the Mountaineers in most wins this season, posting a 24-8 record. The 157-pounder posted a 4-5 record against ranked opponents. For the second straight year he has left his mark on his respective class ranking list. His 24 wins ties him for ninth on the all-time sophomore wins list. He posted a 17-7 record as a freshman which currently ties him for fourth on that list. He won the West Virginia Open, finished second at the Navy Classic and Great Plains Invitational and fourth at the Las Vegas Invitational.
Senior Angelo Zegarelli (Deer Park, N.Y.) posted a 19-6 record in the regular season. Zegarelli is a three-time NCAA qualifier and is making his fourth trip to the . This season, Zegarelli finished first at the Navy Classic, third at the Great Plains Invitational and fifth at Las Vegas Invitational. Three of his five losses were to competition ranked higher than him. He is fourth on the team in victories and second on the team with eight dual meet victories.
Freshman Billy Smith (Greensburg, Pa.) is making his first trip to the EWL tournament after posting one of the best freshman seasons in WVU history. His 22-9 regular season record puts him in sole possession of third place on WVU's all-time freshman wins list. He was first at the Navy Classic, second at the WVU Open, fifth at the Las Vegas Invitational and sixth at the Great Plains Invitational. He is third on the team in wins and second on the team with 15 tournament wins.
Senior Richard Taylor (Milesburg, Pa.) will be making his third trip to the EWL tournament where he placed third last season. This year Taylor finished with a 17-8 mark and finished third at the West Virginia Open and fifth at the Great Plains Invitational. He was 0-2 versus ranked opponents on the year.
Senior Martius Harding (Baltimore, Md.) will also be making his first trip to the EWL tournament. Despite being injured for most of the season, Harding posted a 3-6 record. He is a two-time NCAA qualifier.
Freshman Micah Khan (Voorhees, N.J.) is making his first trip to the EWL tournament after a 13-14 season. He placed first at the West Virginia Open and fourth at the Navy Classic.
Freshman Erik Warg (Churchville, Pa.) is also making his first trip to the tournament. He went 5-18 on the year for the Mountaineers.