Cowboys Wrestle to Third Place Finish at 2002 West Regional

March 10, 2002

LARAMIE, Wyo. -

For the second consecutive seasonUniversity of Wyoming sophomore Levi Prevost has qualified to compete atthe 2002 NCAA Wrestling Championships after his second place finish onSaturday at the 2002 West Regional in Fresno, Calif.

Prevost, from Sidney, Mont., wrestled his way into the championshipsmatch of the 157 pound class before falling to eventual champion FrankDeFillippis of Eastern Illinois, 4-3 in two overtimes. Prevost facedFresno State's Ben Baca in the true second place match defeating him10-9, to take second and earn a wild-card invitation to the NCAAChampionships.

All ten of Wyoming's wrestlers placed helping the Pokes place third inthe five team field with 62.5 points. Northern Iowa won the WestRegional team title with 107.5 points followed by Fresno State in secondwith 67.5. Air Force placed fourth with 56.5 points followed by EasternIllinois in fifth with 27. The Cowboys also placed third last season atthe West Regional.

"We competed better than we have competed all year long," said Wyominghead coach Steven Suder. "I couldn't have been more proud to have beensitting in each guy's corner. Every guy placed and they had to win atleast one match to have that happen. They all went above and beyond thecall of duty. The way things shook out they just got beat by betterguys each time. We didn't lost a match that we shouldn't have lost."

At 125 pounds UW sophomore Reynold Candelaria won his first match 11-4over Dexter Wright of Eastern Illinios 11-4 before dropping his next twomatches to take fourth place.

Senior Kelly McConville also won his first match in the 133 pounddivision putting him in the championship match against Northern Iowa'sMark Manchio. McConville fell to Manchio 2-1 to take second.

UW's Mark Hamrick, a senior from Wheatland, Wyo., dropped his firstmatch before going on to win his next two to claim third at 141.

Junior Thad Trujillo won his first match at 149 before dropping hisnext two to take fourth. Redshirt freshman Justin Salas won his firstmatch making his way into the 165 pound championship bout before fallingto UNI's Nate Lawrenz 3-2 to take second.

At 174, redshirt freshman E.K. Waldhaus went 1-2 at the tourney takingfourth. Waldhaus lost a close 4-3 match to eventual champ Terry Perhamof Air Force in his second match.

Sophomore Kevin Kessner battled his way to a third place showing aftertaking out AFA's Josh McCrary in the wrestle-back bracket 10-2. Kessnerfinished the tournament with a 2-1 record.

True freshman Malcolm Havens turned some heads with his third placeshowing in the 197 pound match. Havens went 2-2 and defeated EasternIllinios' Jim Kassner by fall to take third. Fresno State's MarcioBotelho defeated Havens in the true second match. Poke heavyweight BradSteele also placed third, going 2-1 giving him a team leading 29 wins.

Unfortunately for the Cowboys only Prevost was selected as a wild-cardfor the NCAA Championships. The winners in each weight class earned anautomatic berth to the NCAA Championships. The next best nine wrestlersqualified based on a vote by the coaches of the five participatingteams.

"It was very disappointing that we only qualified one of our guys forthe national championships. We have three guys with 20 wins who'll besitting at home who really deserved to be picked to go the the NCAAmeet." Suder said.