Tornado Wrestling Set To Open 2011-12 Slate This Weekend

Tornado Wrestling Set To Open 2011-12 Slate This Weekend
BRISTOL, Tenn. – Men's wrestling has been biting at the chomps for the chance to take to the mats for the first time in the 2011-12 season. The time has finally arrived for the Tornado's season to begin with the Hokie Open taking place in Salem, Va. signaling the start of the campaign for a team determined and destined for a successful season.

Spotlighting Tornado wrestling is nationally-ranked senior, Frank Morgan. Competing in the 197-pound division, the Maynardville, Tenn. native is primed for a strong season after coming within one point from a NCAA semifinal appearance and an All-American selection. History dictates that Morgan is on a path of success after a national NAIA runner-up finish as a sophomore and winning the regional championship in 2010-11. Head Coach Nate Moorman describes Morgan as "inhumanly strong" and a wrestler that will simply wear out opponents if they take the match the distance. He has been tabbed sixth in the nation at 197 pounds and second regionally in his weight class.

Brandon Tressler (Orlando, Fla.) is ready to make a splash for the team competing at the 184-pound weight class this season. Last season, Tressler pinned the eventual national champion at his weight class and is expected to be at the top of the regional rankings by season's end. Currently, the junior is ranked seventh nationally at 184 pounds and second in the region.

"They are both grinders," said Moorman. "They train incredibly hard and have high expectations of themselves. We all expect them to be representing King at nationals this season."

Between some new faces to the program and those student-athletes who have trained their way into consideration for a starting spot, there are multiple team members that are on the fast track to contribute to Tornado wrestling.

Heavyweight Garrett Fosdyck (Mathews, Va.) has bulked up and will compete with senior Dondricus Anderson for a starting position. Fosdyck will get some mat time early this season to get some reps behind Anderson but it is likely the redshirt-freshman will be pushing for a starting spot or serve as a very viable backup.

Patrick Spano (Tampa, Fla.) in his second year with King after transferring from Newberry College in 2010, one of the top Division II programs in the country, and will drop to the 157-pound weight class to make way for Dyvon Passmore at 165 pounds. At Newberry, Spano was first in technical falls and went 21-6 at 165 pounds. Moorman said of the junior, "He is just a winner, flat out. There is no stop in this kid and I am very excited to see him compete for us."

Dyvon Passmore (Miami, Fla.) is exciting the staff with the anticipation the redshirt-junior's speed will deliver him great success. He has been described as explosive and fast with his style with a no-holds-bar attitude that will be seen this season.

D'Marcus Spencer (Indianapolis, Ind.) comes to king as a junior college transfer where he was an All-American at Lincoln Community College. A seasoned wrestler, Spencer uses his superior technical skill to overwhelm opponents and will continue to do so for King this season at the 125-pound level.

King participates in Super Region II, home of Conference Carolinas schools Limestone College, Belmont Abbey College and St. Andrews Presbyterian College. Of all the Conference Carolinas members in Super Region II, King ranks second only behind Limestone, who was ranked 17th nationally in the NCAA preseason polls. In the region as a whole, King was ranked fifth out of 12 teams. Central Oklahoma and Ohio schools Ashland University and Findlay University join Limestone as those schools ranked ahead of King.

Despite being ranked fifth in the region, King received national recognition by receiving votes in the NCAA Division II National poll. Though they missed the top-20 ranking, the Tornado were among the additional nine schools that are on the national radar before the start of the year. All four teams ranked ahead of King in the region are nationally ranked.

King's season opens up this Saturday, Nov. 6, at the Hokie Open (Salem, Va.). Much of the team will see action in the open tournament, which begins at 9:00 a.m. The Tornado will host their own open the following Saturday, Nov. 13, in the Student Center Complex.

On the offseason – "Our big focus this offseason was getting stronger in the weight room and conditioning ourselves for the grueling road ahead. The guys have been working exceptionally hard to either improve their strength and fitness levels or to maintain their previous conditioning."

On the team's preseason ranking – "Receiving the attention and the rankings we did was great but I feel we are still flying under a lot of people's radars. The great thing for us is that we feel we can only go up from here, even as high as we have been ranked. We just have to prove it to everybody, including ourselves, that we are better than what the polls say."
*note: King was ranked fifth regionally and received votes in the national poll

On the family atmosphere – "We are really committed to creating a sense of family among me, the staff and the boys. We train and work hard together. We compete together. We win together."

On the program – "The program is all about the guys. They are King College Wrestling. They make up the program with their collective experiences, work ethic and commitment in and out of the classroom as well as the community. The way they compete speaks for itself with the attention we are getting both regionally and nationally which just adds to the greatness of this program."

Click here for previous release on King in the regional and national preseason rankings.