Pennsylvania Wrestling Announces Class of 2005

By Vanessa Kreckel | May 25, 2001, 12 a.m. (ET)
The University of Pennsylvania and Head Coach Roger Reina are pleased to announce the 2000-01 Penn Wrestling recruiting class. Pennsylvania natives Matt Feast and Paul Velekei head this talented class of 13 student athletes. Feast comes to Penn after completing an undefeated senior season at Blue Mountain H.S. Feast, where he captured the 285lbs. Pennsylvania State Championship, and the National High School title at 215lbs. Feast, who is expected to compete at either 197 or 285 lbs., was the first state champion from his high school and is also a Junior National Greco-Roman All-American. A native of Orfield, PA, Velekei is a National Prep Champion from Blair Academy at 189lbs and a Junior National Greco-Roman Champion. Velekei completed his high school career at Parkland H.S., where he was a state runner-up in his senior season. Velekei, who recently added an All American 3rd place finish at the FILA Junior World Greco Team Trials along with a Top-12 finish in Freestyle at 187 lbs., is expected to compete at either 184 or 197 lbs. Michael Crooks will compete at 125lbs after winning the 103-pound 4-A Nevada State Championship for Galena H.S in Reno, NV. Crooks, rated by Intermat as one of the top 103-pound wrestlers in the country, was a state runner-up as a junior. Penn also landed a pair of multiple state place finishers from Ohio in Shawn Protz of West Geauga H.S. and Thomas Smith of Cardington-Lincoln H.S. Protz, rated as one of the top seniors in Ohio after finishing 6th, 3rd and 4th over the past three years at the state tournament, is expected to compete at 125 or 133 lbs. while Smith is projected at 141-149 lbs. Smith, who had to petition the state of Ohio to compete in wrestling since his high school doesn't offer the sport, finished 4th in state as a senior after winning the title his junior year. National Prep stars Rolando Mathias and Richard Ferguson come to Penn after having strong finishes in the National Prep tournament. Mathias, competing for Polytech Prep in Brooklyn, NY finished third at 125 pounds while Ferguson was a runner-up at 160lbs for Blair Academy. They are expected to compete at 141 and 165 pounds respectively. Along with Ferguson, Penn was able to bring in five other wrestlers from the state of New Jersey. Part of this contingent includes the duo of Chris and Craig Wright. Competing for Passaic Valley H.S., the twins were District 12 Champions and Region IV runner-ups at 140 and 145 lbs. Craig went on to finish sixth in the New Jersey State Championship. Another New Jersey recruit, Matt Smith, was a state qualifier from Pequannock HS in Pompton Plains, NJ after finishing third in the Region I tournament. Rounding out the Penn recruiting class are New Jersey's Jeff Campbell of Bishop Eustace H.S. and Chad Stouffer of Lenape H.S who were District 27 place finishers, and Pennsylvania's Greg Benz of Penn Valley H.S., a regional qualifier. Penn returns NCAA All-Americans Yoshi Nakamura (Elyria, Ohio) and Rick Springman (Norristown, Pa.) after winning their sixth straight Ivy League title, while posting a second place finish at the EIWA Championship and a third straight top 20 NCAA finish.