MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University wrestling coach Craig Turnbull announced today the addition of four wrestlers to the team’s 2012-13 recruiting class.
Dink Purnell (Wilmington, Del./A.I. DuPont), Bubba Scheffel (Oakland, Md./Southern Garrett), Mike Hess (Jensen Beach, Fla./Jensen Beach) and Zach Cullison (Fallston, Md./Fallston) each have signed letters of intent.
The quartet rounds out the recruiting class with eight additions, as Jason Luster (Pittsburgh, Pa./Pittsburgh Central Catholic), A.J. Vizcarrondo (Kingston, Pa./Wyoming Seminary), Jared Browning (Jensen Beach, Fla./Jensen Beach) and Cory Stainbrook (Akron, Ohio/Walsh Jesuit) each signed a national letter of intent in November.
“We feel very good about this recruiting class,” said Turnbull. “We feel that it is balanced all the way through from top to bottom in terms of weight classes. The quality of the wrestlers that we are welcoming into our program are not only wrestlers of high skill level, but also of very high character. These new additions will have the opportunity to make a significant impact immediately. Each of them has demonstrated the desire to be national champions, as well as All-Americans.”
Purnell comes to the Mountaineers as WRESTLING USA MAGAZINE’s second-best heavyweight, InterMat’s ninth-best heavyweight and is rated as the No. 15 heavyweight by The Open Mat.
“Dink is the type of heavyweight that as a wrestling coach you dream that you can go out and get,” Turnbull said. “Normally, a kid with his athleticism and size is torn between football and wrestling, but that is not the case with Dink – he is fully committed to wrestling. He also comes from a family that is very supportive. As we know from the success of last season, getting this type of heavyweight is critical to the success of a season.”
In his prep wrestling career, Purnell compiled a 110-10 career record, was a two-time Delaware state champion, placed third at the 2010 Super 32 Challenge and was a two-time placer at the renowned Beast of the East tournament.
At the 2012 FloNationals, Purnell was the champion of the 285-pound weight class, as he collected four pins and defeated Ohio State signee and three-time state of Ohio champion Nick Tavanello, 5-3, on the way to the title.
Purnell is the cousin of former WVU football player Lovett Purnell. Lovett, who was drafted in the seventh round of the NFL Draft by the New England Patriots, was a tight end on the Mountaineer football team from 1993-95.
Scheffel, who is the brother current WVU grappler Brutus Scheffel
, joins the Mountaineers after spending his freshman season at Virginia Tech. Scheffel will have four years of eligibility remaining with WVU.
During his prep wrestling career, Scheffel was named the 2010 Maryland Wrestler of the Year, was a three-time Maryland state champion and recorded the most wins in Maryland history, including an 83-0 mark during his sophomore and junior seasons. In addition, Scheffel was a three-time Mount Mat Madness champ, won the 160-pound class at the NHSCA Junior Nationals and was rated No. 56 nationally by InterMat.
“Bubba comes to us with a year of experience at Virginia Tech,” Turnbull said. “We recruited him very intensely during his high school career along with his brother, Brutus. We are excited that he is now teaming up with Brutus again because the two of them are more like twins than they are brothers. Bubba’s high school success, along with his national success, gives us the indication that he knows how to win at this level.”
Hess, who was a high school teammate of Browning, comes as a four-time placewinner (third, second, third, second) at the state level in Florida, as well as being a four-time regional champion. Hess sports a 172-9 career record with 106 of his wins coming by fall. In 2011, Hess placed sixth in the nationally renowned Super 32 tournament.
“Mike had an outstanding high school career,” Turnbull said. “He was coached by former WVU wrestler Tom McMath, so we know that he will be greatly attuned to what we are looking for in terms of technique. I was able to watch him in the Super 32 tournament, as he upset the No. 1 wrestler in his weight class, and we feel that he has the chance to be very successful at this level.”
Cullison joins the Mountaineers as a two-time Maryland state champion at 132 pounds as well as placing third during his sophomore season. Cullison had a 138-8 record during his prep career.
“Zach was very successful at the high school level,” Turnbull said. “We are very pleased that he will be joining us as he pursues the dream of a collegiate wrestling career. We look forward to shaping his future and guiding him to the type of success that WVU wrestlers are accustomed to.”
Luster, who competed at 160 pounds, is ranked as the 41st-best wrestler overall, 14th-best wrestler in the country in his weight class and the third-best wrestler in the state of Pennsylvania at that weight.
During his junior year, Luster compiled a 37-2 overall record and placed second in the PIAA state wrestling tournament. Luster placed first at the 2010 Best of the East tournament and the 2010 Ironman tournament. Luster also was a contributor on the Central Catholic football team.
“Jason is really one of the best wrestlers in Pennsylvania, and we are looking forward to having him here,” says Turnbull. “He has wrestled under the tutelage of Sonny Abe over the last few years, which means he will come into our room well-coached and having great technique.”
Vizcarrondo competed in the 220-pound weight class last season and is ranked as the 89th-best wrestler overall and fifth-best wrestler in the country in his weight class by WRESTLING USA MAGAZINE. Vizcarrondo placed second in consecutive years at the national preps, was the NHSCA national champion as a sophomore, finished third at the 2010 Beast of the East tournament and sixth and the 2010 ASICS Junior Nationals.
“A.J. Vizcarrondo is one of the better heavyweight wrestlers in the nation,” says Turnbull. “We believe he will step into our room and show that he can contribute immediately to our 197-pound heavyweight class. He will come into our program with refined technique that he was taught by his high school coach, Scott Green.”
Browning, who won a state title at 119-pounds, has also placed third and second twice during his prep career. At the Super 32 tournament, Browning finished eighth out of 182 wrestlers. Browning was named the Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers Wrestler of the Year as a junior.
“We have known about Jared for some time, due to the fact that he is also coached by Tom McMath,” says Turnbull. “He has been exceptionally productive in the state of Florida, and we believe he has to the tools and intangibles to be a great collegiate wrestler. It is also a great story that he and Mike will be able to continue their careers with us.”
At the OHSAA state wrestling tournament while wrestling at 102 pounds, Stainbrook finished sixth in his freshman year and third in his sophomore year. In his junior year while wrestling at 112 pounds, Stainbrook placed second. In his senior year, Stainbrook placed second in the 120-pound weight class.
He has also finished third at the 2010 Ironman tournament, third at the Powerade Christmas Wrestling tournament, second at FloNationals and participated in the Disney Duals.
“Cory comes from one of the more prominent wrestling programs in the state of Ohio,” says Turnbull. “He has been exposed to some of the best wrestling within Ohio as well as throughout the country. We feel he has tremendous potential to be a contributor to this program.”