Boiling Springs, N.C. - The Gardner-Webb Athletics Department, along with wrestling head coach Richard Wince, is pleased to announce that Matthew Beebe, Darius Wass, Travis Chesla, Lucas Dutch, Robert Golde, Jacob Mitchell, and Erin O’Dell have all signed to continue both their academic and athletic careers at Gardner-Webb University beginning in the fall of 2010.

The seven signees is one of the largest classes that the Gardner-Webb wrestling program has brought in over the last few years and along with the new wrestling building set to open up sometime this fall, the Bulldog Wrestling program is continuing to make strides of improvement and a resurgence onto the intercollegiate wrestling national scene.

Matthew Beebe, who comes to Gardner-Webb by way of Swan Valley High School in Saginaw, Michigan, posted an overall high school record of 207-48, picking up 54 wins or more three different years.  Beebe, who was a high school teammate of fellow signee Darius Wass, was a two-time Saginaw County Champion and a three-time Tri-Valley Conference Central Champion.  Beebe was also a three-time First-Team All-Conference selection and a two-time District Runner-up.  In his junior year, Beebe was a District Champion, a Regional Champion and finished third overall in the state in his respective weight class.  Beebe, who was a regional qualifier his freshman season, placed third at regional’s and eighth overall at the state competition his sophomore year.  This past year as a senior, Beebe placed third at the regional meet and fifth overall in the state.  Beebe finished his high school career with the third most career wins in Swan Valley High School history with 207 and ranks second in its single season history in takedowns with 187 in 2009-10.

Beebe, who also ran cross country for two years at Swan Valley High, was a three-year all-state academic member in high school and plans to major in computer science while at Gardner-Webb.

Darius Wass, a teammate of Beebe at Swan Valley High School in Saginaw, Michigan, posted a four-year record of 193-9, picking up 129 pin fall wins along the way. Wass, made an impact immediately on the mat, as his 61 wins and 44 pin fall victories were the most ever by a freshman in the history of Swan Valley. Wass was a four-time County Champion, a four-time All-State selection and a four-time District Champion. Wass, who was a team captain in both his junior and senior seasons, was also a three-time Regional Champion and was the recipient of Outstanding Wrestler Award and the Iron Back Award his senior year, as he was never pinned in his high school career. In his junior season, Wass set the state record for the fastest pin fall victory at 0:04 seconds at the 125 weight class.  As a senior, Wass would do the same thing, this time setting the record at the 130-pound weight class with a pin fall win at 0:05 seconds.  Wass, who was the Conference Champion and took first-place in every regular season tournament as a freshman, won ever tournament accept the state meet during his sophomore year.

Wass, who also played one year of baseball and one year of cross country at Swan Valley High School, was a member of the All-Academic State Team and plans to major in Physical Therapy at GWU.

Travis Chesla, who comes to GWU by way of Towanda High School in Towanda, Pennsylvania, was a multi-sport athlete that posted a record of 114-18 on the mat for the Black Knights. Chesla posted a 40-2 overall record this past year as a senior, finishing second overall at the state tournament at the 189-pound weight class. As a junior, Chesla placed fourth in the state tournament at 285. As a sophomore and a freshman, Chesla qualified for the district championships.

Chesla, who was also a four-year letterwinner in both track and football at Towanda, was a named to the All-State Academic Team this past year and plans to major in Sports Management and Communications.

Lucas Dutch, who wrestled at nearby Northwest Cabarrus High School in Charlotte, N.C. along with fellow signee Robert Golde, posted an overall record of 190-44 in his four-year high school career, setting a new school record in wins.  Dutch, who posted 52 wins or more in each of the last three years, was the South Piedmont Conference Champion and tournament most outstanding wrestler this past year as a senior. This past year, Dutch was the NCHSSA 3A Midwest Regional Champion and a 3A State Runner-up. As a junior, Dutch was the North Piedmont conference champion and the tournament most outstanding wrestler. He was also the NCHSAA 3A West Regional Champion and tournament most outstanding wrestler, took second-place at the 3A state tournament. As a sophomore, Dutch was a NCHSSA 3A West Regional Runner-up, finished fifth overall at the 3A state tournament and was named to the All-North Piedmont Conference team. He was named to the 3A All-State team three times, twice named to the All-piedmont area wrestling team, twice named to the All-Charlotte Observer wrestling team and was twice voted the team most outstanding wrestler.

Dutch, who also played football for one year and ran cross country for two seasons, was a two-time NCHSSA Scholar-Athlete and plans to major in business while attending Gardner-Webb.

Robert Golde, who was a teammate of Dutch at Northwest Cabarrus High School in Charlotte, N.C., posted an overall record of 186-40 and broke the previous school record of 170 career wins.  Golde, who was a two-time regional qualifier, a two-time All-County selection and a two-time All-Conference selection over his first two years at Northwest Cabarrus picked up his 100th career win and was the recipient of the Coach’s Award in his junior season. As a junior, Golde finished first at the regional’s and second at the state tournament and was once again named to the All-County and All-Conference teams. This past year in his senior season, Golde served as a team captain and was given the Most Dedicated Award, as he finished second at the regional meet and third at the state tournament, garnering All-County and All-Conference recognition for the fourth straight year.

Golde, who was a two-time regional team member of the cross country team, was a Wendy’s H.S. Heisman winner, a four-time Scholar-Athlete and a member of the honor roll every semester while at Northwest Cabarrus High.

Jacob Mitchell comes to Gardner-Webb by way of South Pointe High School in Charlotte, N.C.  Mitchell posted an overall high school record of 147-13, including a stellar 40-1 record last season as a senior. The two-time All-State selection finished first overall in the Upper State and first in the regional this past year as a senior.  As a junior he finished second at the state tournament, second at the Upper State event and second at the regional meet.  Mitchell, who was 40-2 overall and finished first overall at the regional event as a sophomore, was named to the All-State team as a freshman, finishing first at the regionals and first at the Upper State event.

Mitchell, who played baseball for two years while at South Pointe, was a Scholar-Athlete Award winner and plans to major in Health and Wellness while at Gardner-Webb University.

Erin O’Dell, who comes to GWU from Oviedo High School in Oviedo, Florida, posted an overall high school record of 141-21, picking up 81 pin fall victories along the way. O’Dell, who was a state qualifier as a sophomore, finished third in the state in his junior season and second overall in the state this past year as a senior.  O’Dell, who is a USA Future Olympian for 2010 nominee, is a four-time Florida National Team member that has received countless recognition over the last four years.  O’Dell placed first overall at 160 at the Zac Jarzynka Memorial Ironman VIII event and was an All-American at both the USA Wrestling Pre-season  Nationals High School meet and at the USAW Fargo Junior Greco-Roman Nationals Junior meet. O’Dell placed second overall at the 160-pound weight class at both the USAW Southeast Junior Greco-Roman tournament and at the Western Junior Greco (High School) tournament. He also finished second overall and earned All-American recognition at the Brute Adidas Nationals as an 11th-grader in April 2009.  O’Dell also took first-place overall at 160 at the Florida Folkstyle State Championships and at the Brute/Zac Jarzynka Wrestling Classic VII in 2008.  The Florida native was also a USA Fila Cadet All-American, a NHSCA Freshmen All-American and a USA Folkstyle All-American.

O’Dell, who received the 2009 Zac Jarzynka Memorial Selfless Service Scholarship, intends to major in Environmental Science at GWU.