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Third State Champ Set to Join LU Next Year

May 1, 2008
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Joe Pantaleo is the third state champion to sign with the Flames this year.

Joe Pantaleo is the third state champion to sign with the Flames this year.

Liberty University Head Wrestling Coach Jesse Castro has announced his third signee of the recent signing period, inking two-time Virginia state champion Joe Pantaleo to a national letter of intent for the 2008-09 academic year.

All three of Castro's signees this year have been state champions in their respective weight classes. Pantaleo is a two-time Virginia State AAA champion at 130 pounds, posting a combined 56-2 record as a junior and senior against in-state opponents.

Pantaleo will be joining Sam Rakes, a three-time Virginia state champion at 152 pounds, and Andrew Wilson, an AAAA Alaska state champion at 215 pounds as a senior, on the Flames roster next year.

"What a blessing to have Joe come and join us here at Liberty," remarked Castro about his newest signee. "We have been looking at him for a couple of years, hoping that he would be wrestling for us. The Pantaleo name is associated with a rich tradition in the world of wrestling. Joe's father and uncle are former All-American wrestlers. We look forward to having Joe be a part of the Liberty squad."

Pantaleo, who will be graduating in June from Colonial Forge High School in Stafford, Va., posted a 171-37 record during his time with the Eagles (82.2 winning percentage). The two-time team captain helped Colonial Forge garner a No. 11 national ranking this past season and its second-consecutive state team championship.

A three-time Virginia freestyle state champion, Pantaleo finished his senior year with the Eagles individually ranked No. 7 nationally by WUSA Magazine, No. 11 by WIN Magazine and No. 14 by Intermat.

This past year, Pantaleo, who is slated to wrestle at 125 or 133 pounds for Liberty, finished fourth at both the prestigious Beast of the East (Del.) and Powerade (Pa.) tournaments. As a senior, the grappler was undefeated against Virginia opponents and posted a 55-6 record overall.