May 20, 2010
EDWARDSVILLE, ILL. - Southern Illinois University Edwardsville wrestling Coach David Ray continues to strengthen the depth on his team with the addition of three new student-athletes to the lineup.
The Cougars have added Cole Brandt (Avon, Ind.), John Petrov (Cedar Lake, Ind.) and Tyler Rice (Pinckneyville) to next season's roster. Brandt and Petrov signed National Letters of Intent while Rice has accepted an offer of admission.
Brandt is a projected 174- or 184-pounder for the Cougars. A two-time IHSAA state qualifier for Avon High School, he posted a 33-4 record his senior season and won the sectional, regional, and county tournaments while being ranked as high as No. 2 in the state of Indiana.
He also won the county, conference and sectional titles as a junior. A gold medalist at the 2009 Disney Duals, Brandt placed fourth at 189 pounds at the 2010 Asics Folkstyle Nationals.
"Cole is a very strong and talented student-athlete," said Ray. "He will add a solid foundation to the wrestling program. Cole has Division I All-American capabilities if he stays focused in the classroom and concentrates on improving every year. I expect to see great things from Cole in the future."
Petrov completed his prep career at Hanover Central High School with a 153-22 record. A three-time IHSAA state qualifier and three-time sectional tournament champion, Petrov placed sixth during the 2010 state tournament.
A projected 125-pounder for the Cougars, he was named honorable mention Academic All-State. He also was named the team's Most Valuable Wrestler and team captain as a senior.
"John not only has a lot of wrestling experience but comes from a high school and family rich with tradition and success," Ray said. "John's dad is the high school coach at Hanover Central and NCAA champion Andrew Howe, of the University of Wisconsin, graduated from there. John knows what it takes to be successful at the Division I level. It all comes down to making the commitment and sacrifice to reach his goals. John will be a positive influence at 125. I definitely see John making a big contribution to the team's success in the next 4-5 years."
Rice is coming off his most successful prep season with a 35-6 record as a senior at Pinckneyville High School. A projected 184-pounder, Rice posted a career record of 96-34. He placed sixth at 171 pounds at the 2010 IHSA state championships.
As a junior, he finished 30-7 with all seven losses coming against state-ranked wrestlers. Rice earned letters in wrestling for four seasons, in football for three seasons, and in track and field for two seasons.
"Tyler is a hard worker. He is very disciplined and wants to be successful whenever he steps on the wrestling mat to compete," Ray said. "His track record shows he wants to get better, to make the commitment, and to be the best he can be. Every year in high school his record improved. Tyler will add needed depth in the upper weights. His goal is clear: to be the best wrestler on the team at his weight class."