Headlining the squad is returning NCAA champion Greg Jones, who will attempt to defend his crown at 174 pounds. Jones, who is a unanimous number one preseason pick, is the third wrestler in WVU history to earn that distinction.
Here's a quick look at the wrestlers and their preseason rankings from Amateur Wrestling News, IntermatWrestle.com and The WrestlingMall.com:
The AWN Intermat Wrestling Wrestle Mall AWN .com .com --- -------- ----- WVU Team 9th 13th 11th Brandon Lauer (133) 18th NR 18th Shane Cunanan (141) 5th 9th 5th Billy Smith (149) 11th 11th 12th Tom McMath (165) 6th 7th 11th Greg Jones (174) 1st 1st 1st Ryan Wilman (184) 19th NR HM Adrian Thompson* (197) 19th 15th NR Brent Miller** (HWT) 9th 5th 7th
"(The preseason rankings are) a compliment to the people in our program and the work they did last year," head coach Craig Turnbull said. "We have a team that is very similar to our team last year that was very successful.
"I'm not so much concerned with our ranking but with our schedule. We could realistically see 15 or 16 of the top teams in the nation throughout the season. Our goal is to be prepared at the end of the season."
WVU schedule includes home dates with two of the top programs in the nation as well as the Eastern Wrestling League (EWL) tournament.
Iowa State, who finished second at the NCAA championships last season, will travel to Morgantown on January 4 to open the home dual schedule for WVU. The Mountaineers host Ohio State, who finished runner-up at the National Duals last season, on January 9. Perennial EWL power Edinboro pays a visit to the Coliseum on February 21.
The WVU Coliseum will also be the site for the 2003 EWL tournament. The two-day event will take place March 8 and 9.
The Mountaineers are slated to participate in the National Duals for the seventh time in the program's history on January 18 and 19, in Columbus, Ohio.
The Mountaineers will play host to the annual WVU Open on November 16, and will take part in the Navy Classic, the Las Vegas Invitational and the Midlands Tournament before beginning their dual slate.
Other home dates include matches with Virginia Tech and Cleveland State.