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Wirzfeld signs with Mt. Vernon College

Brian Wirzfeld planned to attend Mt. Vernon Nazarene College as a student. Before ever enrolling in a class, he's picked up Basketball 101 with a varsity lab.

The Ironton Fighting Tigers senior guard/forward planned to attend Mt. Vernon, but after a tryout with the team he earned a spot on the basketball team's roster.

Wirzfeld, a 6-foot-1 senior guard, made it official Thursday as he signed a letter-of-intent to play basketball at Mt. Vernon Nazarene College.

"I was going to go to school there and I had been to a couple of games, so when the coach called me and asked me to come to a tryout, I went," Wirzfeld said. "I had a good workout and made the team."

Wirzfeld was one of the key reserves as Ironton posted its first-ever unbeaten regular season at 20-0 and finished 26-1 and Division III state runners-up.

In 20 games, Wirzfeld shot 56.5 percent from the field including 40 percent from the 3-point line.

Wirzfeld showed his capabilities against South Point. With the Fighting Tigers hampered by fouls and injuries, Wirzfeld hit 3-of-4 shots from the field as he scored 7 points.

"I was a role player and I just came in when the team needed me," Wirzfeld said. "(Head) coach (Roger) Zornes and coach (Mark) LaFon and coach (Arden) really helped me out, and playing with players like Brigham Waginger, Dennis Gagai, Joe Zornes, Marcus Williams and Cliff Howard every day only made me better."

Wirzfeld said he could play a similar role with the Cougars who return just two veteran players.

"They want me to help out at guard and with rebounding," Wirzfeld said. "I'll do whatever they want me to do. They only have two returning lettermen, so how much I play is up to me and how hard I work."

The Cougars have posted seven 20-win seasons in the past eight years as they have compiled a 191-81 record or .702 winning percentage under 15-year veteran coach Scott Flemming.

During that time, Mt. Vernon has qualified for four straight NAIA Division II national tournaments.

Also, the Cougars captured the 20002 National Christian College Athletic Association national championship and finished second in the 2004 NCCAA tournament.

Brian is the son of Loretta and Michael Wirzfeld of Ironton.