Mountaineer Wrestlers Blast Pitt

Whenever West Virginia and Pitt get together, sparks are sure to fly. Those fireworks were all on the Mountaineers' side of the ledger Friday evening as they obliterated the Panther wrestling squad by the count of 32-2 at the WVU Coliseum. The win was the 200th of coach Craig Turnbull's career, and was made all the sweeter by the dominating manner in which it was obtained over a longtime rival.

A small but boisterous contingent of Pitt fans was quickly silenced as West Virginia sprinted out to a 16-0 lead after five matches. Junior Billy Smith got the flood of Mountaineer points underway with a 4-2 overtime win over Pitt's Justin Giovinco at 149. After a routine 7-2 win by Joe Carr at 157, Tom McMath faced off in a top twenty battle with Pitt's Carl Fronhofer. Despite Fronhofer's defensive nature, McMath bided his time and got a huge 3-1 win with a takedown in overtime.

"He stayed in good position, and he's not really offensive," McMath said of Fronhofer. "I just had to stay patient against him. He's looking for me to make a mistake, and in situations like that when he's backing up sometimes I get frustrated. I just didn't make a mistake tonight."

Leading 9-0, WVU then got a technical fall from Greg Jones as he bludgeoned Pitt's Matt Catullo 15-7. Jones, despite wrestling with stitches in his forehead that caused two timeouts for bleeding, pounded Catullo into submission with a series of aggressive takedowns. Freshman Ryan Wilman continued the theme with 3:12 of riding time over Greg Osbeck on the way to a 6-1 win and a 16-0 Mountaineer lead.

Pitt finally got on the board with a narrow 4-1 decision by David Sandberg over Brent Miller at 197. That match was deadlocked at 1-1 until late in the third, when Sandberg scored a takedown for the win which narrowed the gap to 16-3.

Any hope the Panthers had for a comeback were crushed by heavyweight Ryan Kehler, who set the career record for pins at WVU with a :22 fall over Jacob Lininger. Kehler took Lininger to the mat almost immediately, hooked a leg and completed the pin before celebrating his career achievement with his family, who were in attendance for the senior day festivities.

Lininger was so disgusted that he threw his headgear, resulting in an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and the deduction of one point from the Panthers' match score.

With the total score standing at 22-2, the Mountaineers completed the 32-2 rout with decisions by Nathan Kendjorksy at 125, Brandon Lauer at 133 and Shane Cunanan at 141.

Afterward, McMath summed up WVU's effort succinctly. "It was a total team effort. We just dominated them."

WVU travels to Ohio for a nonconference dual meet on Saturday.


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