May 5, 2011
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EDWARDSVILLE, ILL. - Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Head Coach David Ray said he has raised the level of his up-and-coming wrestling program with the signing of two Illinois standouts.
Chris Johnson (Wheeling) and Derek Nagel (Lemont) have signed National Letters of Intent to compete for SIUE.
"They're helping us take that step from where we are at to that Division I level of competition. I see these student-athletes being Division I All-Americans," said Ray.
Johnson was the 3A Scholastic Wrestler of the Year in Illinois for Wheeling High School. He placed sixth as a junior and second as a senior at the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Championships.
He is an Illinois State Scholar and will be coming to SIUE after graduating with highest honors. A Most Valuable Player in both wrestling and football, Johnson expects to major in civil engineering at SIUE.
"He is a very good defensive wrestler and is strong. He'll probably be a 184 pounder, or he could be a 197 pounder," said Ray. "I feel he has so much to add to the program."
Nagel was a highly-recruited wrestler from Lemont High School. He was a three-time state qualifier and the 160-pound state runner-up as a senior. He completed his prep career with a 142-31 record, including 91 pins. He set school records for single-season and career pins.
"He's very talented. I watched him wrestle. He's explosive on bottom and has great counters. On top, he's a pinner," said Ray. -siue cougars-