WVU Wins EWL Opener

Just call him "Louisville Larry."

Sophomore Larry Hall, substituting for an injured Eric Mullen at 165 pounds, led the WVU wrestlers to a decisive 22-14 victory over the Bloomsburg Huskies to open the Eastern Wrestling League season.

One minute into his match with BU's Frank Beasley, Hall scored a rather dramatic takedown in front of the scorer's table, then followed immediately with a near fall to take a 5-1 lead. But Beasley hung in, gradually creeping up on Hall until the score stood at 6-6 at the end of regulation. The Mountaineer grappler seemed to slow down, to lose his edge as the match progressed, only to get the wind back in his sails for the last minute or so of the third round, drawing the Coliseum crowd's vocal attention and bringing his teammates to their feet. With Beasley draped about him like a shell on a turtle, Hall pulled to a standing position; the giant awakened.

As a certain football team that wears the blue and gold did against the Louisville Cardinals a few short months ago, Hall took Beasley to a triple overtime rideout before getting an 8-6 victory that gave the Mountaineers the morale boost they needed to take control of tonight's meet.

Head Coach Craig Turnbull was thrilled with Hall's victory. "Larry Hall had a great win. He gave us tremendous momentum. We badly needed to start making a run after the loss at 141. Those middle matches were crucial and Larry's most of all."

"It was a hard fought match, definitely," Hall smiled. "I kept my head, stayed in, pushed through. I credit the training. I knew I was down. I could ride him and get the tie or risk it and go for the win. I had to get it done and get it done fast."

Hall's effort was followed up by a tremendous performance by Jared Villers at 197 to seal the deal. The sophomore from Akron, Ohio handed Bloomsburg's Chris Swan a quick 2-point takedown, followed by a reverse, then snap, snap, snap, the score was 15-0 with 1:12 left in the first period. The 5 point technical fall drove the score to 22-11, making it impossible for the Huskies to triumph. "Villers just took control," said Turnbull. "He made sure we had a big win."

Stalwart Matt Lebe (157), ranked 2nd in the nation ("I try not to think about the rankings"), took a major decision over freshman Aric Fuhrman, 12-4. Lebe opened with a quick score, then dominated the hapless Husky thereafter. WVU's 2 20th-ranked competitors, Seth Lisa and David Jauregui, were victorious at 133 and 149, respectively. Freshman Kurt Brenner at 174 finished out the Mountaineer win column with a 12-3 major decision over Bloomsburg sophomore Andrew Jordan.

The Blue and Gold did not run the table, however. A badly overmatched Scott Stuart lost a major decision to Justin Thomas at 125, 12-4. Junior Teddy Adams, despite a fast-paced third round, dropped the 141 category to Brad Forbes, 10-0. Parkersburg native Chance Litton lost a close match to Nate Shirk, 3-2, at 184, and heavyweight Matt Holsopple, despite a valiant effort, could not overcome the substantially chunkier Mike Spaid.

Going into tonight's contest, the 2-4 Mountaineers had suffered several disappointing injuries. Overachieving freshman Kyle Turnbull (125) has been out of commission since the Las Vegas Invitational December 3 with a bulging disc in his neck. "I started practicing again this week," the Morgantown WV native stated. "I gotta get back in shape. It's been tough, but I can't control it. But I'll be ready for Pitt."

The younger Turnbull was joined on the bench by Brandon Rader (141), who injured his shoulder at last week's Virginia Duals, and heavyweight Dustin Rogers.

"The injuries make it tough with three starters out," commented Matt Lebe, "but these guys are competing hard, working hard, doing a nice job."

The Mountaineers next opponent will be EWL rival Clarion, which they host this Sunday, January 22, at 1:00 p.m. at the Coliseum. "It's always better to go in [to the next meet] with a win," Coach Turnbull grinned. Lebe agreed.

"Even with two meets in a weekend, in the grind of the season, it's always nice to be home, with the great home crowd."

Rifle Reports

  • It has become increasingly clear that there's a "Turnbull Style" wrestler: long, lean, with a high center of gravity, powerful focus, good peripheral vision, and not an extra ounce of weight. Turnbull's charges are always considerably more flexible than their opponents, denoting a strong emphasis on stretching as well as strength.

  • There is nothing like an evening with another coach to help one fully appreciate what a class act Craig Turnbull is. Bloomsburg's young leader, John Stutzman, made quite the spectacle of himself tonight, with an exceedingly loud and irritating running commentary. Turnbull's moderation, grace, and dignity were never more appreciated.

  • All-American Matt Lebe has had himself a bit of a haircut. "Yeah, it's shaved, all right," he grinned. "Larry Hall, my roommate, cut my hair. It's all his fault. I thought I felt him put a blade on my head, and next thing I knew, he'd cut a strip, so I had no choice. It'll grow back."

    125: Justin Thomas (BU) MAJOR Scott Stuart (WVU), 13-4
    133: Seth Lisa (WVU) DEC Ricky Donald (BU), 9-4
    141: Brad Forbes (BU) MAJOR Teddy Adams (WVU), 11-0
    149: David Jauregui (WVU) DEC George Hickman (BU), 8-4
    157: Matt Lebe (WVU) MAJOR Aric Furhman (BU), 12-4
    165: Larry Hall (WVU) DEC Frank Beasley (BU), 8-7
    174: Kurt Brenner (WVU) MAJOR Andrew Jordan (BU), 12-3
    184: Nate Shirk (BU) DEC Chance Litton (WVU), 3-2
    197: Jared Villers (WVU) TECH Chris Swan (BU), 1:48 15-0
    HWT: Mike Spaid (BU) DEC Matt Holsopple (WVU), 9-2

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