WVU Outlasts Clarion
MORGANTOWN, W. Va. – In a match that saw a total of four lead changes and two ties, the West Virginia University wrestling team defeated Clarion 23-20 after a last match decision victory by heavyweight Brandon Williamson.
“Brandon handled the pressure,” said coach Craig Turnbull. “Everywhere in the lineup has a different responsibility. As a lightweight, you have to dictate the start, middleweights need to keep the momentum going and heavyweights have to win if it comes down to you. He did just that and got the win when we needed it.”
The match started out with the Mountaineers taking the first three matches of the afternoon.
Junior Shane Young (125) created early momentum for WVU, as he earned a 19-4 tech fall. Young earned the critical bonus points in the closing seconds of the match, as he rolled his opponent over and was able to score three near fall points.
Redshirt sophomore Nathan Pennesi (133) outworked his opponent to score an 8-4 decision victory and his 21st win of the season.
Sophomore Michael Morales kept the streak alive for the Mountaineers, but it wasn’t without difficulty. Morales fell behind 4-2 in the first period, but was able to rally in the second and fend off a late third period charge by opponent Tyler Bedelyon.
“Our lightweights did a nice job of getting us started again – that was so critical,” Turnbull said. “When Shane got upset last night, people just didn’t handle it well, and things started to snowball.”
With WVU up 11-0, it looked as though they had rebounded from the previous evening’s disappointing loss to Bloomsburg, but the Golden Eagles went on a run of their own.
Clarion ran off three straight victories that included a major decision and a pin that gave them a 14-11 lead.
Lance Bryson (174) changed the tides again, however, and the Mountaineers found themselves on top after he defeated Clarion’s Nick Milano. With the match tied at 1-1, Bryson was able to snatch Milano’s legs and score on a takedown with 27 seconds remaining in the third period.
“Lance’s match was a must win,” Turnbull said. “He hadn’t had that kind of pressure for two years since he sat out the last two years due to injury. He is slowly building his confidence in a dual meet setting.”
Redshirt senior Matt Ryan (184) followed Bryson’s momentum changing win with an even more crucial victory. The Eighty-Four, Pa., native pinned Steven Cressley 2:44 into the first period. The pin was Ryan’s 20th of his career. With one more pin this season, Ryan will move into a tie for fifth place all-time in program history.
“You hope to get those types of poised performances from a redshirt senior like Matt Ryan,” Turnbull said. “If you gave a game ball, you would give it to him. They were in position to take a win away from us, but Matt put himself in a position to win.”
After Alex Thomas pinned WVU’s Nicholas Hylton at 197 pounds, the match score was evened at 20.
Williamson did not wilt under the pressure, though, as he locked up the victory for the Mountaineers. The Riverside, Conn., native scored two crucial near fall points with 30 seconds remaining in the second period. The near fall points, along with 3:19 of riding time, gave Williamson a 3-1 decision victory.
“I thrive off of the pressure,” said Williamson. “I love going out there with an extra incentive to get a win. This match said a lot about our character. If we are down, we are not going to stay down.”
WVU is now 4-3 overall this season and holds a 1-1 record in Eastern Wrestling League action. The loss bumps Clarion to 1-6 overall and 0-2 in the EWL.
The Mountaineers will return to action this Friday, as they welcome Lock Haven to the Coliseum at 7:30 p.m.
125: Shane Young (WVU) def. Trey Hicks (CU), 19-4
133: Nathan Pennesi (WVU) def. Joe Waltko (CU), 8-4
141: Michael Morales (WVU) def. Tyler Bedelyon (CU), 10-7
149: Cameron Moran (CU) def. Brutus Scheffel (WVU), 14-5
157: James Fleming (CU) def. Dominic Prezzia (WVU), fall 5:27
165: Bekzod Abdurakhmonov (CU) def. Kyle Eason (WVU), 9-0
174: Lance Bryson (WVU) def. Nick Milano (CU), 3-2
184: Matt Ryan (WVU) def. Steven Cressley (CU), fall 2:44
197: Alex Thomas (CU) def. Nicholas Hylton (WVU), fall 0:23
HWT: Brandon Williamson(WVU) def. Quintas McCorkle (CU), 3-1
WVU Wrestling, WVU Mountaineers, NCAA Wrestling, Craig Turnbull
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