LAS VEGAS, Nev. – The West Virginia wrestling team completed action in the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational on Saturday afternoon and brought to a close their first of two West Coast road trips this season.
“Overall, I would term this as a very good trip,” says coach Craig Turnbull. “(Associate head coach) Greg (Jones) and I spoke last night, and we both agreed that the guys are getting better. They attacked their matches very well and wrestled hard. This will be a very valuable experience for us going forward.”
After advancing to the championship quarterfinals yesterday afternoon, redshirt senior Matt Ryan (184) continued action in the consolation round of his bracket.
The Eighty-Four, Pa., native squared off against Kevin Radford of Arizona State and dictated the pace of the match while taking a 10-3 decision victory.
Ryan, who has missed the Mountaineers previous two tournaments due to injury, had his tournament come to an end after being pulled due to precautionary medical reasons.
“We had mixed emotions about pulling him from the rest of the tournament because he was wrestling so well, but we had to be safe,” Turnbull says. “Matt came into this tournament with very little preparation, but still wrestled in a very tactical manner. It was a positive experience for him.”
Redshirt sophomore Nathan Pennesi (141), who made a strong run for placement at last year’s Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational, had his tournament come to an end after losing a consolation match to last year’s 141-pound national champion, Kellen Russell of Michigan.
“You want your wrestlers to have experiences against guys such as Kellen Russell that are national champions,” Turnbull says. “It was very valuable to him, and it was a tremendous test of skill for him.”
After losing his first match yesterday morning, redshirt senior Kyle Eason (165) rallied with three-straight victories to close out his Friday action. On Saturday morning, Eason fell by way of a 3-1 decision to No. 10-seeded Tyler Wilps of Pitt.
Completed brackets from today’s action at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational can be found at http://postedresults.escapesports.com.
The Mountaineers will now switch gears and have their first dual meet since Nov. 6, as they will go head-to-head against defending national champions, Penn State.
“We are very fortunate to have them on our schedule because they are one of the elite programs in the country,” says Turnbull. “Our guys will wrestle in front of a sold-out gym that holds 6,500 people. The atmosphere will provide a unique opportunity for our team.”
The dual meet against the Nittany Lions is set for Dec. 11 at 2 p.m.