Turnbull Inks Seven to 2013-14 Roster

  • By Brian Kuppelweiser
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  • May 28, 2013 12:04 PM
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University wrestling coach Craig Turnbull has announced the signing of seven wrestlers to the 2013-14 roster.

“We feel very good about the recruiting class that we have put together,” said coach Craig Turnbull. “We believe we have achieved the goals that we established prior to the recruiting season. We knew that we needed to add depth in the lower weight classes, as well as at 184 and 197 pounds. We achieved exactly that with these young men, while also competing very successfully against our rivals schools across the country.”

Leonardo Trindade (Billerica, Mass./Billerica), Ryder Newman (Las Vegas, Nev./Green Valley), John Pellegrino (Levittown, N.Y./Nassau CC/Division Avenue), James Stodart (Houtzdale, Pa./Moshannon Valley), Ethan Kenney (Connellsville, Pa./Connellsville), Christian Stone (Clearfield, Pa./Clearfield) and Gunnar Van Curen (Portville, N.Y./Portville Central) will each join the Mountaineers for the 2013-14 season.

Trindade, who competed at 195 pounds during the senior year of his prep career, compiled 134 wins, including an impressive 99-1 ledger in his final two seasons, earned two state titles and was Massachusetts’ recipient of the Dave Schultz Award given to student-athletes that display excellence in wrestling, scholastic achievement, character, citizenship and community service.

At the finals of the National High School Coaches Association Wrestling Championship held in Virginia Beach, Va., from April 3-7, Trindade placed second, with his lone loss coming to Stanford commit Garet Krohn. Trindade, who wrestled under the tutelage of coach Bob Belanger, was selected as the Lowell Sun’s Wrestlers of the Year and chose WVU over Oklahoma.

“Leo is somewhat of an unusual recruit for us, because he is from the New England area and because he didn’t begin wrestling until ninth grade,” Turnbull said. “He was a very good athlete in high school, as he was one of the better soccer players and was a competitive boxer. He has really taken to the sport of wrestling. He comes with the highest recommendations, and he is hungry to achieve at the highest levels.”

Newman joins the Mountaineers after competing at Green Valley High in Las Vegas, where he recorded 172 victories and two state titles under coach John Ferry. Newman chose WVU over Missouri.

Along with his accomplishments at Green Valley, Newman also placed first at the Reno Tournament of Champions, second at Fargo Greco-Roman Nationals, fifth at Cadet Freestyle World Team Trials and sixth at Fargo Freestyle Nationals. Newman’s strong prep résumé garnered him a ranking of No. 18 at 182 pounds by Amateur Wrestling News.

“Ryder comes in from Nevada as one of the top-ranked 184-pounders,” Turnbull said. “He has a tremendous amount of experience – international, freestyle and Greco-Roman. He has spent time out at the Olympic Training Center, and we think he has demonstrated his ability to compete at the highest levels in his age group.”

Pellegrino joins WVU after two seasons at Nassau Community College – the same program that produced highly-successful heavyweight Brandon Williamson for the Mountaineers from 2010-2012. The Levittown, N.Y., will have three years of eligibility, after he redshirted during the 2011-12 season with the Lions.

Last season, Pellegrino was part of a Nassau team that won its second consecutive national championship at the NJCAA Wrestling Championships. Individually, Pellegrino notched 19 victories and placed second the NJCAA Wrestling Championships under coach Paul Schmidt.

During his high school career, Pellegrino collected 149 victories, placed three times at the state tournament (sixth, third and fifth) and was named all-county three times.

“John has been very successful at the junior college level,” Turnbull said. “We felt that we needed an individual with a little more experience at 125 pounds than a freshman coming directly from high school. John has competed at the highest level at the junior college level, and he will help us tremendously.”

Stodart, who placed fourth at 195 pounds at the 2013 Pennsylvania state tournament, comes to the Mountaineers with a school-record 121 wins. In addition to his placement at the state tournament, Stodart is a two-time district champ and two-time placewinner at regionals under coach Justin Fye.

Stodart, who also participated in football and baseball, chose WVU over offers from Lock Haven, Clarion, Lycoming and Pitt-Johnstown.

“James will be a nice addition for our program,” Turnbull said. “By placing fourth at his state tournament, he shows the ability to compete with some of the top prep wrestlers in the country. His talents will be a welcomed addition at our upper weight classes.”

Kenney, who placed third at 132 pounds at the 2013 Pennsylvania state tournament and seventh at the 2012 state tournament, accumulated 154 wins during his prep career under coach Tom Dolde.

“He is a young man that is from 30 to 40 minutes up the road that placed third in the Pennsylvania state tournament and won his WPIAL regional,” Turnbull said. “Some of the very best wrestlers in the country come out of his area. We think he will be very helpful in the middleweights for our program.”

Stone is set to join the Mountaineers as a four-time state qualifier, including last season at 132 pounds, with an impressive 128 wins under coach Jeff Aveni. In addition, Stone accumulated outstanding wrestler honors three times at the Top Hat Championship and twice at the Tool City Championship. During his prep career, Stone also placed third at the Escape the Rock Tournament, was a four-time district champion and notched one regional championship.

“Christian comes to us very highly recommended,” Turnbull said. “He wrestled at the same high school as our first national champion Scott Collins, so that is something that is interesting for our program. Christian has posted a very successful record during his prep career, and we believe he will be a significant contributor within our program.”

During his prep career, Van Curen amassed 121 victories and placed sixth at 160 pounds at the 2013 state tournament. In addition, Van Curen, who wrestled under the tutelage of Mike DeBarbieri, placed first at the state qualifier and in the Class D Tournament, while also being named the Most Outstanding Wrestler of the Portville Tournament, Expressway Conference and Class D Tournament.

“Gunnar has posted over 100 victories during his career, and he has collected impressive placements at multiple tournaments,” Turnbull said. “Gunnar has showed that he is very committed to the sport of wrestling, and he will have the chance to contribute significantly at 157 and 165 pounds for our program.”


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