LAS VEGAS, NEV. – After the completion of the first day of competition at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational, redshirt senior Matt Ryan (184) advanced to the championship quarterfinals of his tournament, which was the furthest a WVU grappler advanced on the day.
“He did a good job of going out there and just wrestling after missing the last two tournaments,” said assistant head coach Greg Jones. “He started quickly, and he controlled his first two matches.”
Ryan’s return got off to a fast start in the first round, as he pinned Utah Valley’s David Prieto at the 1:40 mark of the first period.
The Eighty-Four, Pa., native followed his opening round pin with yet another pin in the second round, as he defeated Michael Gorman of Army just 1:32 into the match.
In his championship quarterfinals match, Ryan was matched against No. 2-seeded Josh Ihnen of Nebraska and lost a hard-fought decision, 3-0.
In total, eight other Mountaineer grapplers saw action in the first day of the two-day event.
“Overall, the day was very valuable to us,” said coach Craig Turnbull. “This tournament is such a benefit to us because see diverse group of wrestlers out here. We’ve battled well, but I would like to think that in a few weeks we will win some of those close matches that we saw today.”
Lance Bryson (174) was also a bright spot on the day for WVU. The redshirt junior lost his opening-round matchup against No. 2 Nick Heflin of Ohio State by a 5-1 decision, but rebounded with three straight victories to complete the day.
Bryson will have an opportunity to wrestle into a placing position tomorrow morning when wrestling resumes at 9 a.m.