WVU Wrestling Travels to Las Vegas Invitational
By Ira Green
WVU Sports Information Office
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (December 4, 2008) – The West Virginia University will venture west to Las Vegas to compete in the 27th annual Cliff Keen Las Vegas Collegiate Wrestling Invitational. The Mountaineers will compete in the prestigious two-day event, Dec. 5-6, in the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Attracting some of the most elite programs in the nation, powerhouse programs such as Cornell, Michigan, Illinois, Ohio State and Lehigh highlight the field of competition. The 2007 champions, the Wolverines, took first place with 127.5 points, and are amongst the six returning schools that finished in the top 10 of last year’s team standings.
“Outside of the NCAA Tournament, it's one of the two or three national tournaments that you can get to that really prepare you for the rest of the season and the national tournament,” Coach Craig Turnbull said. “It's really a great opportunity for all of our guys, for guys to try and attack and be in the finals, and also the young guys to get a feel for it early in the season.”
The Mountaineers earned 55.5 points and finished in 12th place. Three WVU wrestlers placed last year, including fifth-year senior heavyweight Dustin Rogers. The Corning, Calif., native scored one major decision and a pin fall en route to the championship match. Jared Villers (197) and Zac Fryling (157) were the other two Mountaineers to place, as they did so fourth and eighth, respectively.
“We're getting out to the West Coast so we're going to see teams that we normally wouldn't see until the national tournament,” Turnbull commented. “For the guys who are nationally ranked, this gives them an opportunity to compete against some of the best early in the season.”
WVU’s participation in the tournament will be based on individual matchups in 10 different weight classes and will not feature any dual meets. The seedings for each individual in their respective weight division will be determined by the tournament committee on Thursday, Dec. 4.
After defeating Columbia and North Carolina at the “Sprawl & Brawl” dual meets on Nov. 23 in Vestal, N.Y., respectively, WVU owns a 2-0 dual meet record. Redshirt-sophomore Tyler Oravec (133) and fifth-year seniors David Jauregui (149) and Kurt Brenner (174) posted two victories apiece.
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