Cowboy Wrestling Team Takes Fourth at West Regional

March 8, 2003

Laramie, Wyo. -

The University of Wyoming wrestling teambattled their way to a fourth place finish at the 2003 West RegionalSaturday in Charleston, Illinois. The Cowboys finished the day with 51 teampoints in the five team field finishing behind Fresno State (53.5 pts), AirForce (59.5 pts) and tournament champion Northern Iowa (122 pts).

For the third consecutive season UW junior Levi Prevost has qualified tocompete at the 2003 NCAA Wrestling Championships. Prevost, from Sidney,Mont., took the tournament title in the 165 pound weight class. Prevost,ranked 11th in the nation, defeated Matt Veach of Eastern Illinois in hisfirst match with a 7-2 decision. He then went on to defeat Drew Kelley ofNorthern Iowa, ranked 14th in the nation, by a 3-2 decision to capture hisfirst West Regional crown and earn his third trip to the NCAA Championships.

Junior Kevin Kessner earned a wild card nomination to the NCAAChampionships by taking second place in the 197 pound weight class for thePokes. Kessner defeated Marcio Rothellio of Fresno State by a 4-3 decisionto advance to the finals. Kessner came up short to Sean Stender of NorthernIowa 5-4 in the championship bout.

Senior heavyweight Brad Steele also earned a wild card nomination to theNCAA Championships with his second place finish on Saturday. Steele droppedhis first match to Kevin Hoy of Air Force, ranked 3rd in the nation, 7-2 butthen bounced back and eliminated Clint Walresk of Fresno State with a 3-1decision. In the consolation championship Steele put down Pete Ziminiski ofEastern Illinois 7-4 to force a true second place bout with Paul Hynek ofNorthern Iowa. Steele would take second place due to a medical forfeit.

Junior Andrew Shuler took home third place honors and a wild cardnomination to the NCAA Championships for the Cowboys. Shuler fell victim toJim Medeiros of Fresno State in his first match 3-2, but then came back inhis next match defeating Justin Gabbard of Air Force 8-2. In the consolationchampionship Shuler wasted no time claiming third place pinning FrankDeFliippis of Eastern Illinois in 2:15.

125 pounder Bryce Leonhardt recovered from a first round loss to ChrisHelgeson of Northern Iowa and battled his way to a third place finish. Inthe wrestle backs Leonhardt defeated Dexter Wright of Eastern Illinois 2-1and then went on to beat Sal Gonzalez of Fresno State 8-6 in overtime to winthe consolation championship.

Freshman Tyson Shatto won his first match in the 133 pound division with a4-3 decision over Joe Stewart of Fresno State. Shatto was defeated in hisnext match by Pat Garcia of Northern Iowa 11-4, and suffered an injury thatforced him to sit out his bout for third place against Matt Benza of AirForce.

At 141 pounds junior Blake Gunter won his first match pinning BrianSbertoli of Eastern Illinois in 5:33. Gunter then came up short in his nexttwo matches taking a disappointing fourth place finish. At 149 poundsfreshman Patrick Shuler also took fourth place by going 1-2 in thetournament.

Prevost, Kessner, Steele and Shuler will next compete at the NCAA NationalChampionships Thursday-Saturday, March 20-22 at Kansas City's Kemper Arena.