MORGANTOWN, W. Va. – The West Virginia University wrestling team will travel to East Lansing, Mich., on Friday to square off against Michigan State at Jenison Field House at 7:30 p.m.
The Mountaineers (2-2) will be looking to rebound with a victory over the Spartans (2-3) one week after falling to No. 13 Maryland, 22-15. Michigan State, who fell 36-6 to Penn State on Sunday, will also be looking to bounce back.
“Michigan State is a strong enough program, and they are coach well enough that their loss to Penn State will have a neutral effect on the match,” says coach Craig Turnbull. “This is a very even match. They will be a similar challenge to that which Maryland presented to us.”
In last year’s matchup between the two squads, the Spartans defeated WVU 21-18 in front of 3,206 fans, which was the largest crowd in program history, at the Coliseum in the inaugural “Beauty and the Beast” event.
Michigan State will return four starters from last year’s lineup that defeated the Mountaineers. In addition, three WVU wrestlers previously wrestled their competitors from the Spartans at this year’s Reno Tournament of Champions.
Brutus Scheffel (149) lost a 12-6 decision to Dan Osterman, Lance Bryson (174) defeated Curran Jacobs in a 4-2 decision and Brandon Williamson (HWT) fell to Steve Andrus by way of a 8-1 decision.
“We saw three of their student-athletes while we were in Reno,” Turnbull says. “We had very close matches that could have gone either way. We will need to win a majority of those close matches, which is what we did not do against Maryland. “
In order to take a team victory away from Friday’s match, Turnbull pointed to the importance of winning at the middleweight classes and needing grapplers such as Scheffel, Dominic Prezzia (157) and Kyle Eason (165) to step up their performance.
“We were disappointed with the efforts we got at 149, 157 and 165 last week, but they have put together a nice week of practice this week,” Turnbull says. “Their weight management during the week wasn’t that good last week. It had been two and a half weeks since we had wrestled in a competition, so I think they got settled into practicing. Now that they have been down to their weights and have a match under their belts, some of the issues will take care of themselves, and they will be ready to wrestle their best match on Friday.”
Turnbull is also hoping to see a more favorable result at 133 pounds, where Nathan Pennesi entered the lineup in place of the injured Colin Johnston. Pennesi wrestled his way to an 18-4 record at 141 pounds in the first half of the season, but fell in his first match of the season at 133 pounds.
“It is going to be a continued adjustment for Nathan over the next couple of weeks as he tries to make the adjustment to his new weight class,” Turnbull says. “Every week that goes by, he will be more adjusted to where he is right now.”
BTN.com will be streaming the match live for free, and tickets can be purchased at the door for $5 for adults and $3 for children.
A full recap of Friday’s dual meet will be available on MSNsportsNET.com.Projected Lineups WVU vs. Michigan State
125: No. 23 Shane Young (14-3) vs. Eric Olanowski (3-3)
133: No. 26 Nathan Pennesi (18-5) vs. Brandon Fifield (9-9)
141: No. 30 Michael Morales (1-0) vs. Brian Gibbs (14-9)
149: Brutus Scheffel (14-9) vs. No. 23 Dan Osterman (17-7)
157: Dominic Prezzia (13-8) vs. No. 17 Anthony Jones (12-4)
165: Kyle Eason (13-8) vs. No. 22 David Cheza (10-3)
174: No. 18 Lance Bryson (17-7) vs. No. 22 Curran Jacobs (16-5)
184: Matt Ryan (8-3) vs. John Rizqallah (7-5)
197: Mac Mancuso (14-5) OR Nicholas Hylton (0-1) vs. Nick McDiarmid (12-6)
HWT: No. 23 Brandon Williamson vs. No. 22 Steve Andrus (14-8) OR Mike McClure (11-5)