Mountaineer Wrestlers Rally For Win

Although the predicted snowstorm held off, the 17th-ranked Mountaineer wrestlers did not, storming back from a 5-point deficit to defeat the scrappy Clarion Golden Eagles 25-15 at the West Virginia Coliseum Sunday afternoon.

WVU's comeback win came in spite of the unexpected injury loss of Joe Clarke (20-7), who entered the meet rated #10 in the country.

Clarke sustained a high ankle sprain and was forced to concede with 1:18 remaining in the first round. The 141-pounder took an early 2-0 lead until an acrobatic take down by Clarion's Frank Edgar (23-4) led to the injury. The gutsy Clarke, in obvious pain, had the ankle taped and attempted to continue, but it soon became clear that he would be unable to complete the match. WVU's Sports Information office announced his status as "day to day."

Sophomore Doug Studenic also wrestled with injury, barely losing the 174-pound weight class to Aaron Wright. Studenic was in obvious pain for much of the unusually intense match, although his shoulder injury is not thought to be serious.

Greg Jones once again absolutely dominated his opponent, Marcus Surin, at 184 pounds. The nation's top-ranked wrestler, Jones's superior energy, conditioning, speed, and strength won the day. When he took the mat, West Virginia trailed Clarion by a score of 10-15. Jones is such a force of nature that near the match's end, his coaches could be heard calling out, "We need two more take downs, Greg," in order to even the team score at 15-all. In a stunning display, Jones complied, wheelbarrowing his opponent to a technical fall and a 19-4 victory.

Mountaineer football's gift to the wrestling team, heavyweight Lanfer Simpson,added an exclamation point, pinning Charlie Cilinski 56 seconds into the first round.

Resilient sophomore Troy Forte, substituting for Casey Brewster in the 125-lb class, wrestled Clarion's Peter Derstine evenly through the first round before the opportunistic Eagle took charge for the win. At 133, West Virginia's Seth Lisa made excellent tactical use of the mat boundaries in a matchup reminiscent of a particularly intense game of Twister, defeating Doug Surra 12-3 with a takedown at the buzzer.

Mike Torriero, a crowd favorite, held Clarion's T. J. McCance to a 6-6 tie until the final minute of his match, before falling 6-11. Golden Eagle Chris Horning gave 7th-ranked Mountaineer Matt Lebe (157 lbs.) more trouble than expected before losing 5-3. In the course of the match, Lebe's knees were twisted into positions more consistent with the flexibility of Gumby and Pokey than with human joints.

Scrappy true freshman Zac Fryling at 165 used his superior leg strength to persistently pursue Jeremy Reitz in a 3-1 decision, and #18 Matt Daddino (197) defeated an overmatched Kyle Cathcart 12-3.


  • Due to a turf toe injury to Clarion's starting heavyweight, Matt Wilcox, two members of the team wrestled at a higher weight class than usual. Marcus Surrin, normally the backup at 174 pounds, wrestled at 184. Kyle Cathcart went from his usual 184 to 197, and Charlie Cilinski substituted for Wilcox at the top class.

  • Despite an unfortunate resemblance to West Virginia's least favorite Big East football referee, today's Eastern Wrestling League judge continued the excellent officiating that this season's Coliseum matches have featured. One wished, however, that wrestling rules offered him the opportunity to call a technical foul on the Clarion bench.

  • For those who followed the distinguished high school wrestling career of Fairmont's Jeff Courtney, head coach Craig Turnbull reports that Courtney is "a good kid who works hard and is looking for the opportunity to get in the starting lineup." Although he is not yet starting, Turnbull is pleased with his progress and expects to see Courtney on the mat for the Mountaineers in the future.

  • WVU wrestling draws a small but fiercely loyal crowd, which includes Mountaineer Trey Hinrichs. Note to file: Musket fire echoes awesomely in a lightly-populated Coliseum.

  • Clarion University is the alma mater of Brett Wiley, older brother of WVU All-American football player Grant Wiley. Mama Wiley's first-born was an honorable mention All-American linebacker at Clarion.

    125: Troy Forte lost to Peter Derstine, 1-7

    133: Seth Lisa def. Doug Surra, 4-3

    149: Mike Torriero lost to T. J. McCance, 4-12

    157: Matt Lebe (#7) def. Chris Horning, 5-3

    165: Zac Fryling def. Jeremy Reitz, 3-1

    174: Doug Studenic lost to Aaron Wright, 4-6

    184: Greg Jones (#1) def. Marcus Surin, 19-4

    197: Matt Daddino (#18) def. Kyle Cathcart, 12-3

    Hwt: Lanfer Simpson def. Charlie Cilinski, pin at 56 sec of the 1st round.

    Final score: West Virginia 25, Clarion 15

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