Monarch Grapplers Take To The Mat At NCAA's

March 15, 2000
By ODU Athletics
ST. LOUIS, MO (March 15) - Old Dominion wrestlers, Dennis Whitby (Lanoka Harbor, NJ) and Jeff Rusak (Reading, PA), will take to the mat at the 2000 NCAA Wrestling Championships at the Kiel Center in St. Louis, MO, March 16-18. Whitby will carry a 21-9 record at 149 pounds into the tournament, while Rusak will enter the tourney 32-3 at 165.

Whitby, a freshman, earned the bid to go to the NCAA's after winning the 2000 CAA Championship at 149. During the season, he wrestled three matches in the CAA, recording pins in all of them, but tore cartilage in his knee during the third match and was doubtful for even finishing the season.

However, Whitby returned after two weeks of rehab and captured the title, beating George Mason's Adrian Austin, 6-4, in overtime. He enters the NCAA's having won seven matches in a row, dating back to January 21.

Rusak, ranked #13 in the country at 165 pounds, earned one of the CAA's three wildcard bids to the NCAA Tournament after getting upset in the conference finals by 20th-ranked Denis Alampiev of American. Last season, Rusak earned a wildcard berth in the 157 pound division and won two matches at the NCAA's.

Rusak enters the tourney having faced eight of a possible 34 opponents already this season. In fact, he is a combined 8-2 on the year against opponents in the NCAA Tournament, falling only to Virginia Tech's Chirs Martin (ranked #11) and American's Alampiev (ranked #20).

Action begins at 11 am on Thursday with "pigtail" matches, followed by first and second round action.

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