Wrestlers Solidify EWL Lead

The action and controversy were hot and heavy at the WVU Coliseum as the Mountaineers defeated visiting Edinboro by the score of 19-14 to wrape up a share of the Eastern Wrestling League title.

West Virginia opened the match with a pair of wins at heavyweight and 125, as Brent Miller defeated Joe Hennis by a 7-3 count and Seth Lisa edged Jacob Gray 2-1 in an action filled match.

Edinboro bounced back to close the gap to 6-4 on the strength of Shawn Bunch's 12-3 majority decision over Brandon Lauer, which set the stage for some of the brightest fireworks of the night.

At 141 pounds, WVU's Shane Cunanan and Cory Ace locked up in a battle of top twenty wrestlers, and after regulation and a scoreless overtime the score was tied 4-4. In the sudden death period, a stalemate was called, followed by a stalling call on Cunanan, which resulted in a point awarded to Ace for the 5-4 decision.

WVU coaches Craig Turnbull and Zeke Jones immediately rushed to the mat to protest the decision, and a fifteen minute delay ensued as the coaches attempted to make their point that Cunanan should not have been penalized a point, as the onus for the stalemate was on Ace, not Cunanan. Despite searching the rulebook and keeping Cunanan on the mat, the coaches were unable to convince the referee of their position, and the result stood.

The win gave Edinboro a 7-6 lead in the match, but served to fire up WVU's Billy Smith, who dominated Eric Ring at 157 pounds for a 17-7 major decision. The big win gave WVU the overall lead back at 10-7.

"I just wanted to get my team and the crowd back into the match," Smith said of his momentum turning win. "I was able to get after him early."

"I think the crowd really got into it. It didn't seem like there were a lot of people here, but man, they were intense."

Smith's win was followed by another big win by West Virginia's Matt Lebe, who downed fellow freshman Eric Ring by a 5-3 count to push the WVU lead to 13-7. Edinboro's Matt King piled up almost three minutes of riding time to decision Tom McMath 6-1 and close the gap to 13-10, but then number one Greg Jones pounded out a hard fought 10-5 decision over Nate Yetzer to push the lead to 16-10.

With only two matches to go, WVU appeared to be in good shape, but Edinboro held a distinct advantage at 197, with number five ranked David Shunamon a heavy favorite over unranked Mountaineer Adrian Thompson. Thus, West Virginia needed to get a win at 184 in order to sew up the match before Shunamon took the mat.

In yet another exciting and intense battle, WVU's Ryan Wilman earned a tiebreaker win after wrestling to a 1-1 tie through three periods and overtime. Wilman prevented Edinboro's Nate Clemson from escaping in the tiebreaker to grab the emotional win for the Mountaineers.

Shunamon wound up the match with a 12-4 majority decision, but it was too little, too late as WVU came away with the 19-4 win to remain atop the EWL with a perfect 6-0 record.

"Edinboro really came to create a war tonight, and they did a fine job of that," assistant coach Zeke Jones said after the contest. "We may not have had that same intensity, but we still did a great job of battling and fighting hard, and we were able to come out on top."

WVU has now clinched at least a share of the regular season title, and wresltes Cleveland State on Sunday for the outright championship.


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