The Big Red wrestling team will add ten members to its roster as the class of 2014. The class has been recognized as one of the best in the country (third by WIN magazine, fourth by TheOpenMat.com and D1CollegeWrestling.com and eighth by Intermat). The group represents eight different weight classes and six states.
Meet the Class of 2014
Michael Alexander (174 pounds, Findlay, OH/Findlay) – Alexander took second place at 171 pounds at the Ironman tournament in his senior year. He was a two-time Ohio state placewinner, finishing seventh and fifth. During his high school career, he broke or tied at least 5 team records, including most takedowns in a season and career, most pins in a season and career and most wins in a season. Alexander also played football at Findlay, earning second team All-League honors in his last campaign.
Jace Bennett (174/184 pounds, Amarillo, TX/Canyon Randall) – Bennett was a Texas state champion and three-time state medalist, also finishing second and fourth. Bennett also reached the podium twice at NHSCA Nationals, taking sixth at 160 as a junior and eighth at 189 as a senior. He also was the 2009 189 pound champion at the Toshiba Midwest Classic.
Matthew Cunningham (174 pounds, Pittsburgh, PA/Shady Side Academy) – Cunningham is a three-time Pennsylvania state medalist, winning the 171 pound state championship as a senior after second and fifth place finishes in previous years. The four-time WPIAL champion was selected to represent Pennsylvania at the Dapper Dan Wrestling Classic in 2010. Cunningham was a two-time Powerade finalist, winning the event in 2008, and a two-time Ironman placewinner.
Ryan Dunphy (141/149 pounds, Little Falls, NJ/Passaic Valley) – Dunphy was the NHSCA Junior Nationals runner up in 2009 and a third-place medalist at the New Jersey state championships at 140 pounds. He won four district titles and two regional championships and his 156 victories are the most ever for a Passaic County wrestler.
Billy George (197 pounds, Long Branch, NJ/Long Branch) – George was a two-time NHSCA Nationals champion, earning the title as both a junior and a senior at 189 pounds. One of Intermat’s top 100 recruits, George took fourth at Beast of the East and twice placed third at the New Jersey state tournament. He was also a starter at linebacker and running back in football, earning division Co-Defensive Player of the Year honors in his final season.
Josh Kennedy (125 pounds, Norman, OK/Norman North) – Kennedy won an Oklahoma state title in his final high school season at 125 pounds, after finishing third at 103 as a sophomore. He was the first-ever state champion from Norman North High School. Kennedy placed fifth at the Toshiba Midwest Classic at 119 pounds as a senior.
Evan Knight (184 pounds, Urbandale, IA/Urbandale) – Knight was a three-time Iowa state finalist, winning two championships, at 160 and 189 pounds. He also placed second as a freshman at 152 pounds and third in his final season at 189. Knight was also a NHSCA Senior Nationals All-American, earning fourth in 2010.
Marshall Peppelman (165 pounds, Harrisburg, PA/Central Dauphin) – Peppelman, a three-time Pennsylvania state champion (and four time finalist), was ranked as one of the top 4 recruits in the country. He was a three-time champion at the Beast of the East tournament, one of two wrestlers to ever win the Powerade four times and a two-time Super 32 winner. Peppelman was chosen as a member of the Wrestling USA/Cliff Keen 2010 High School Dream Team and to the Dapper Dan Wrestling Classic. He was undefeated for the final two years of his high school career and had an overall 173-7 record. His brother, Walter, wrestles at Harvard.
Jesse Shanaman (157/165 pounds, Blairstown, NJ/Blair Academy) – Shanaman, a three-time National Preps medalist, was one of Intermat’s top 100 recruits. He was a finalist at several top events his senior year, winning the Beast of East title while taking runner up at Ironman and NHSCA Senior Nationals at 152 pounds. He also won the Bethlehem Holiday Classic. His brother, Zack, wrestled at Penn.
Chris Villalonga (149/157 pounds, Totowa, NJ/Blair Academy) – Villalonga, ranked as one of the top 4 recruits in the nation, was one of the most decorated wrestlers in the history of the Blair program. He won the National Preps tournament four times and was a three-time winner (and four-time finalist) at the Beast of the East and Ironman events. Villalonga was selected to the Wrestling USA/Cliff Keen 2010 High School Dream Team as well as the Dapper Dan Wrestling Classic, where he was named Most Outstanding Wrestler. He capped off his 145-3 career by winning the NHSCA Senior Nationals at 140 pounds. He did not lose a match in his last three years of high school competition.
11/19/10 fri Central Michigan 7:00
11/20/10 sat Body Bar Systems Invitational (Army, Binghamton, Buffalo, Clarion, Cornell, Drexel, Ithaca, Kent State, Sacred Heart, Central Michigan, Lock Haven)
12/3-4/10 @ Las Vegas, NV (Fri, Sat)
12/29-30/10 @ Southern Scuffle, Greensboro, NC (Tues, Wed.)
1/8-9/11 @ National Duals, Cedar Falls, IA (Sat, Sun)
1/20/11 Thur @ Lehigh 7:00
1/28/11 Fri Binghamton TBA
1/30/11 sun Iowa State 1:00
2/5/11 sat Columbia TBA, Hofstra TBA
2/11/11 Penn 6:00
2/12/11 Princeton 1:00
2/18/11 fri Brown 7:00
2/19/11 sat Harvard 3:00
3/5-6/11 sat/sun @ EIWA Championships, Philadelphia (Sat. & Sun.)
3/17-19/11 @ NCAA Championships, Philadelphia, PA (Thur-Sat.)