The evening's most dramatic event was in the 141-pound class. Mountaineer Drew Joseph defeated Josh Holsinger 6-5, with the winning point coming in the final second of the match. The second round was stopped three times for injuries: a finger stinger for Holsinger, a knee sprain for Joseph, and a knockout to Holsinger in the round's final minute. It appeared that Holsinger lost consciousness for a few seconds; he was certainly dazed and confused for several minutes while three trainers - two from Lock Haven and one from WVU - attended him.
Spectators noted that Holsinger was having trouble counting the number of fingers the trainers held up. Amazingly, he recovered to complete the final round. Joseph's knee clearly bothered him throughout the contest, but he persevered in a real barn burner of a match.
The evening's most impressive victory came from Mike Torriero, who defeated two-time All-American Mike Maney at 149 pounds. Torriero dominated the conflict, just absolutely manhandled his 10th-ranked opponent. At the end of the first round, he led 8-1 and finished Maney off at 14-4.
The evening's most surprising match was Ryan Wilman's 3-1 defeat of Lock Haven senior Steve Itterly. Wilman, in only his second action of the season, weighed in at 197 but wrestled in the heavyweight class due to Lanfer Simpson's sore neck. Although Itterly outweighed Wilman by at least 30 pounds, the determined Mountaineer overpowered his bigger competitor. Wilman delighted the crowd; when he flung the hefty Itterly to the mat in the early second round, the Coliseum faithful erupted. Spectators continued to hoot and holler through the end of the match. It appeared that a star might be born. The junior history major from Atlanta grasped his opportunity to wrestle, even at the higher weight. "Coach gave me the option and I took it," he grinned. "I will take as many opportunities as I can."
Wilman connected with WVU through his high school coach, the father of former Mountaineer grappler Sean Hage.
The Mountaineers scored two pins tonight. Senior Casey Brewster at 125, in his final home appearance, took Jim Collins with 1:11 remaining in the second round, and #1-ranked Greg Jones (184) toppled Mike Greenberg at 1:30 of the first round. The Coliseum sound system played the theme from "Jaws" during Jones's match. Greenberg doubtless agreed he'd been thrown to the Shark.
Matt Lebe (157)'s 6-3 victory over the curly-haired Charlie Brenneman was marred by questionable officiating. If the home crowd had their way, the 8th-ranked Lebe would have scored a pin early in the second round. The superior conditioning and impressive lunge of #14 Matt Daddino prevailed over Carlos Ponce 14-3.
Seth Lisa at 133 lost a heartbreaking and controversial 4-3 decision to Dave Predko, with the winning points coming in the last 11 seconds of the match. True freshman Zac Fryling (165) succumbed to the wily, experienced senior Jason Gilligan, whose height and wingspan advantage were noticeable. We looked for the Skipper and Mary Ann, but apparently they're still on the island. Doug Studenic (174) wrestled Ryan Summers very evenly until late in the second round before losing 8-1.
The Mountaineers travel to Ohio for a 2 p.m. match this Sunday, February 15.
The enthusiastic and knowledgeable home crowd took exception to tonight's officiating. Unfortunately, the season's generally impressive refereeing was marred by a number of questionable calls this evening, including one that probably cost Seth Lisa his match. It looked like the EWL brought in a ringer from the Big East.
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Nominee for best-dressed WVU coach, any sport: assistant wrestling coach Zeke Jones.
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Note to broker: See if we can buy some shares of Ben-Gay.
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Joe Clarke (141) continues to nurse the high ankle sprain he sustained against Clarion.
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As if it weren't enough that Greg Jones is the nation's top wrestler in his weight class, it turns out he also has quite the pitching arm. His celebratory T-shirt toss following his victory went from the Coliseum floor to the upper deck. Matt Daddino has a pretty good arm, too. Wonder if Greg Van Zant attends these meets?
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The quiet, dignified confidence of this team is impressive. There is no nonsense, no horseplay, no showing off in warmups, during the matches, or at the end of the meet, just some matter of fact guys with a job to do.
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Folks, if you haven't yet been to a WVU wrestling match, you need to go. The 2004 home campaign is over, but we have a number of outstanding athletes coming back next year, including Greg Jones, Matt Daddino, and Matt Lebe. Mark your calendar, make a new year's resolution, put it in your palm pilot. The Blue and Gold compete at the very highest levels of this college sport, and deserve your attention.
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125: Casey Brewster pin Jim Collins
133: Seth Lisa def by Dave Predko, 3-4
141: Drew Joseph def. Josh Holsinger 6-5
149: Mike Torriero def. #10 Mike Maney 14-4
157: #8 Matt Lebe def. Charlie Brenneman 6-3
165: Zac Fryling def by Jason Gilligan, 2-11
174: Doug Studenic def by Ryan Summers, 1-8
184: #1 Greg Jones pinned Mike Greenberg 1:30 of the 1st round
197: #14 Matt Daddino maj dec Carlos Ponce 14-3
HWT: Ryan Wilman def Steve Itterly 3-1