MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - West Virginia University wrestling has announced its incoming recruiting class for the 2014-15 season. The Mountaineers welcome James DeKrone, Zeke Moisey, Christian Monserrat, Austin Shaffer and Joseph Wheeling.
“Overall, we feel really good about this class. The quality of people and the quality of wrestlers is very good and their potential is really high,” says coach Craig Turnbull. “This year's class, combined with last year's, is putting us in a position to compete to be back in the top 15.”
DeKrone comes to Morgantown after wrestling one season at Nassau Community College in New York. NCC is currently ranked No. 6 in the national poll, and where current WVU wrestler Johnny Pellegrino wrestled before becoming a Mountaineer. DeKrone is currently coached by Paul Schmidt and claimed last year’s NJCAA national title at 141 pounds. Before wrestling for the national championship, he defeated the eventual national champion at 149 pounds. He finished last season 25-4 in the 141-pound wight class, and 11-0 in division matches.
“We are very excited to have James come to our program. He has defeated the NJCAA national champion at 149-pounds, so we feel that he can come in and make an immediate impact at that weight class for us,” Turnbull says.
“James is national champion and beat the national champion at 149 pounds two weeks prior to earning his title,” says Paul Schmidt, coach at NCC. “We have had a good rapport with WVU over the years and have sent a few wrestlers to coach Turnbull. James is probably one of the better ones we have sent.”
Moisey is currently a senior at Bethlehem Catholic High School and wrestles for coach Jeff Karam. Entering this season, Moisey is 99-10 throughout his high school career, and a two-time Class AA Southeast Regional champion. He also has placed at the Pennsylvania State finals three times. Moisey will wrestle for the Mountaineers in the 125-pound weight class.
“Zeke is one of the best lightweight wrestlers in the country,” Turnbull says. “He may be a wrestler that we put in right away to make an impact. Zeke comes from one of the finest wrestling programs in the country at Bethlehem Catholic. His coming out party was really as a sophomore when he won the national wrestling championship, defeating a senior who had committed to Pitt.”
Monserrat finished last season undefeated and as the New England Wrestling champion at 126 pounds. He is 155-2 coming into this season, and his only two career losses came as a freshman and sophomore at the New England Wrestling Championships. Monserrat is a three-time Massachusetts state champion. He enters his senior year at Methuen High School and is coached by Bill James.
“Christian comes to us with unbelievable potential,” Turnbull says. “He has had an amazing career at Methuen and we are looking for him to come and have the same success in Morgantown. He has established himself as a winner, and is a real hard-nosed kid with a great motor.”
“Christian is one of our all-time bests,” says James. “With a career record thus far of 155-2, we have high expectations for him at WVU. He has always wanted to go to a Division I program since he was a freshman, and now he has that opportunity.”
Shaffer arrives in Morgantown as a Maryland State Champion at 106 pounds and a third-place finisher in 2013 in the 113-pound weight class. Shaffer has qualified for the state tournament every year, and battled through an injury in the semifinals in 2013 before losing in overtime. The Oakland,
Md., native is a two-time student athlete of the month and a member of the honor roll and Southern Garrett High School. Shaffer is the cousin of current Mountaineer wrestlers Bubba and Brutus Scheffel. Shaffer has been wrestling with his cousins since the age of nine. He was just named team captain of the Southern Garrett wrestling team.
“Austin is one of the more dominant lightweights in Maryland and will challenge to break many of Brutus Scheffel
's records there,” Turnbull says. “He is a very strong student, and is in a local area that will encourage a lot of participation from friends and family in the program. We expect him to be a strong contributor immediately.”
Wheeling currently wrestles at General McLane High School in Edinboro, Pa. He is a 4.0 student and was named Pennsylvania Wrestling Coaches Association First Team All-Academic in 2012-13. Wheeling was a two-time Pennsylvania state qualifier and a the Northwest Region champion at 106 pounds in 2012-13. In 2012, he was the Brute Empire National Champion, and has posted a 96-19 record through his junior year. Wheeling is the younger brother of current sophomore Tim Wheeling
“Joe is one of the better lightweight wrestlers in Pennsylvania. Like his brother, Tim, he has a great work ethic and is a great student. The Wheelings are just a family that expects to succeed. He is going to be great for our program and his best wrestling is still ahead of him,” Turnbull says.
WVU will graduate three wrestlers from this season's starting lineup. Currently, the Mountaineers' lineup features two redshirt freshmen and one true freshman.