Branch Inks Four Wrestlers for 2009-10 Season

Nov. 26, 2008

LARAMIE, Wyo. -

University of Wyoming head wrestling coach Mark Branch announced today that four student-athletes have signed national letters of intent to wrestle for the Cowboys beginning in the 2009-10 season. Jimmy Belleville of Tumwater, Wash., Tyler Cox from Gillette, Wyo., Jake Eitzen of Estes Park, Colo., and Patrick Martinez from Hemet, Calif. will join the UW squad next fall.

"These guys believe in what we are doing here and are committed to the direction of this program," said Branch as he described his first recruiting class. "They all had other offers, but chose to attend Wyoming based on what was in their best interest and what was in the best interest of the program. All four of these guys are excited to come here and are fired up to be on board. That is the type of wrestler we try to recruit. Their credentials speak for themselves, but their commitment is what has me excited about this class.

"I know first-hand how difficult five years of college wrestling can be, so it is very important that they are excited to be at Wyoming. The buzz about Wyoming Wrestling caught their attention and they want to be a part of it."

Jimmy Belleville comes to Wyoming from Black Hills High School in Tumwater, Wash., where he is a three-time state champion. He enters his final high school season with a record of 126-6. As a freshman his state title was at 103 pounds, 125 as a sophomore and his junior year he won at 145 pounds. Belleville was the Freestyle Junior National runner-up earlier this year. He could factor into the Cowboy line-up at 149 or 157 pounds.

Tyler Cox hails from Gillette, Wyo. A three-time Wyoming state champion, Cox is expected to wrestle at 125 pounds for the Cowboys. Entering his senior year at Campbell County High School, he has a career high school record of 117-1, with his only loss coming during his freshman season. Cox won the 4A state title at 112 pounds the past two years and earned the top spot at 103 pounds as a freshman. He is a two-time FILA World Team member and wrestled in the Junior World Championships in Beijing in 2007. Cox won the 110-pound division at the High School National Wrestling Championships this past March.

Jake Eitzen, 5' 6", is a Colorado state champion from Estes Park High School. Including his state title as a junior, he has placed three times at the state tournament, runner-up as a freshman and sixth as a sophomore. Eitzen was the 2008 Colorado State Freestyle and Greco-Roman champion. He hopes to wrestle at the 133 pound level collegiately. A good student, he was named Academic All-State as a junior, as well as an NHSGA Academic All-American. Eitzen was also a three-year letterwinner on the football team for Estes Park H.S.

Patrick Martinez is a 5' 10" product of Hemet, Calif. He is a two-time Freestyle and Greco Roman State Champion, as well as a place-winner at the Reno Tournament of Champions. Martinez is a California State Tournament place-winner in arguably one of the most difficult state high school events in the nation. His high school team, Temecula Valley, won the CIF championship three straight years and the Southern Section Masters championship those same years. Martinez was a California Triple Crown winner in 2007 and the California FILA Greco Roman state champion. He is projected to compete at 165 or 174 pounds for the Cowboys.