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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. Virginia wrestling coach Steve Garland has announced the signing of six student-athletes to National Letters of Intent for the 2008-09 school year. After bringing in one of the Top 10 national recruiting classes last year, Garland and assistant coaches Scott Moore and Matt Pell have followed it up with another impressive crop of student-athletes.

The class is comprised of Joe Trause (Carlstadt, N.J./Bergen Catholic), Jedd Moore (Mount Vernon, Ohio/Marion), Adam Cogar (Hillsboro, Ohio/Barberton), Mike Salopek (North Huntingdon, Pa./Norwin), Derek Valenti (Newton, N.J./Kittatinny) and Dan Clarke (Ramsey, N.J./Ramsey).

The group features four wrestlers ranked among the nation’s top 10 high schoolers at their respective weight classes. Trause headlines the class as the 28th-ranked overall recruit and the third-ranked wrestler at 125 pounds according to Intermat, while Moore is ranked fourth nationally at 152 pounds by Amateur Wrestling News.

Cogar is ranked fifth nationally at 215 pounds by three national publications, while Salopek is ranked 10th in the nation at 189 pounds by InterMat. Valenti, ranked 21st at 130 pounds by Wrestling USA, and Clarke each are up-and-comers who Garland feels are just starting to scratch the surface of their potential talents.

Here is a complete breakdown of the 2008-09 signing class:

Joe Trause (Carlstadt, N.J.)
Attends Bergen Catholic High School
Ranked fourth in the nation at 125 pounds by Wrestling USA, third by InterMat, and eighth by Amateur Wrestling News
28thranked overall recruit by InterMat
Two-time New Jersey state champion and three-time placewinner
North Jersey Wrestler of the Year
Junior National Freestyle All-American
Career high school record is 92-12

Garland on Trause:
“Joe is one of the most talented wrestlers in the country at any weight class. I watched him wrestle once and knew we needed to have him here. He has natural gifts that most guys would kill to possess. He will be going for his third state title this March and we fully expect him to make an immediate impact here next fall at either 125 or 133 pounds.”

Jedd Moore (Mount Vernon, Ohio)
Attends Marion High School
Ranked fourth in the nation at 152 pounds by AWN, fifth by Wrestling USA and seventh by W.I.N. Magazine
Ohio State Champion as a junior with a 43-1 record
State runner-up as a sophomore
NHSCA Sophomore National Champion
Took fourth place in Junior National Freestyle
Cadet National runner-up
Multi-time All-American

Garland on Moore:
“Scott Moore and I watched Jedd wrestle up close a couple times this past spring and summer and really thought he was a tough kid. Once we got to know Jedd and his family, it really was a no brainer. We are so thrilled to have a young man with Jedd’s character and work ethic joining our program.”

Adam Cogar (Hillsboro, Ohio)
Attends Barberton High School
Ranked fifth in the nation by Wrestling USA, W.I.N. Magazine, and InterMat at 215 pounds
Ohio State runner-up as a junior with a 50-2 record
Took sixth at state championships as a sophomore
Boasts a career high school record of 128-19

Garland on Cogar:
“Adam is one of the top-ranked upper weights in the country for many reasons. He is incredibly strong and powerful. You can tell just by looking at him that he is a great athlete. But more than his physical tools, my staff and I fell in love with the type of person Adam is on his recruiting trip here. We really hit it off quickly and UVa felt like the right spot for him. We are very lucky to have him.”

Mike Salopek (North Huntingdon, Pa.)
Attends Norwin High School
Ranked 10th in the nation at 189 pounds by InterMat and 20th by Wrestling USA
Placed third in the AAA state championships as a junior and qualified for state as a sophomore
Holds career high school record of 90-15

Garland on Salopek:
“Mike is one of those guys that I don’t think enough coaches across the country went after. He lost a very close match in the last seconds in the Pennsylvania state semi-finals last year, and I think some coaches backed off him. I was there and saw a lot of ability in him. There was no way I was backing off. We went after Mike very hard and when he came on his visit here, he loved the place. Mike is an upper weight, but he wrestles like a lightweight. He and Cogar are the future for us up top.”

Derek Valenti (Newton, N.J.)
Attends Kittatinny High School
Ranked 21st in the nation at 130 pounds by Wrestling USA
Two-time New Jersey state placewinner, earning fourth place as a sophomore and junior
101-21 high school record, including 41-4 record last year
Two-time region finalist, with one region championship to his credit
Three-time Caldwell Tournament champion

Garland on Valenti:
“I have known the Valenti family for years. I recruited Derek’s oldest brother Matt (two-time NCAA Champ for Penn) when I was at Cornell and was fortunate to forge a relationship with Derek’s parents. Derek is a very hard worker and a guy that has only begun to scratch the surface of his ability. I am excited to see his progress at the next level.”

Dan Clarke (Ramsey, N.J.)
Attends Ramsey High School
Took third place at 140 pounds at NHSCA Junior Nationals
New Jersey state qualifier as a junior
Holds New Jersey state record for most technical falls in a single season (21)
Also holds New Jersey state record for most falls in a single season
Ranked in Top 3 in New Jersey

Garland on Clarke:
“Dan is another guy that I don’t think enough people know about. I first saw him compete at the NHSCA Junior National Championships, where he did very well and took third place and defeated many top wrestlers along the way. We knew then that he was the type of guy we wanted in our program. He started wrestling very late, and like Valenti, the best is yet to come for Dan.”

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