CLARION, Pa. – The West Virginia University wrestling team had five wrestlers qualify for the NCAA Championships on Sunday evening after each grappler placed within the top three of their respective weight class at the Eastern Wrestling League Championships held in Clarion, Pa.
Sophomore Michael Morales (141), redshirt senior Matt Ryan (184), and redshirt senior Brandon Williamson (HWT) placed first, while junior Shane Young (125) placed second and redshirt sophomore Nathan Pennesi (133) placed third.
As a team, the Mountaineers placed third behind Edinboro and the 2012 EWL champions, Pitt.
“It was a good effort, but as a wrestling coach, you always want to get more guys through to the NCAA Championships,” said coach Craig Turnbull. “Overall, though, we wrestled well, but we would have liked to have gone four for four in our championship matches.”
Morales captured the crown of his weight class with an exciting 7-6 victory in the finals over Edinboro’s Mitchell Port. Finding himself down 6-5 with under a minute remaining, Morales converted a takedown and fended off Port’s attempts to get an escape point. Morales also earned an 8-4 decision over Clarion’s Josh Palivoda and a pin against Pitt’s Travis Shaffer earlier in the day.
“I started off the match by giving up two takedowns to Port, and that’s not the way you want to start,” Morales said about the championship match. “As far as preparation for the NCAA Championships, I am not going to try and do anything different so I can keep this run going.”
Ryan was able to earn the title of his weight class in an outstanding individual performance throughout the course of the day. Ryan scored the 22nd and 23rd pins of his career, which puts him third in program history, in the run up to the title match. In the final, Ryan converted a takedown late in the third period that gave him a 2-0 lead and the 184-pound trophy.
“I knew it was going to be a good match heading into the finals,” Ryan said. “I am excited to get out to St. Louis for the national tournament because I didn’t accomplish what I wanted to accomplish there last season.”
Williamson began his day with a near upset loss, as he found himself down 10-2 in the first period to Millersville’s Brad Ladd. Williamson was able to mount a comeback, though, as he took a 16-14 decision from Ladd. Following that win, Williamson ended the day with consecutive decision victories over Zac Walsh of Bloomsburg in the semifinals and Ernest James of Edinboro in the championship bout.
Young’s run to the championship bout consisted of two decision victories over opponents from Cleveland State and Bloomsburg. In his first match, Young took a 9-2 decision and followed that with a tight 3-2 win over the Huskies’ Sean Boylan. In the championship match, Young held a 2-1 lead heading into the third period, but Pitt’s Anthony Zanetta scored a late takedown to notch the victory.
Pennesi opened his contest with a 10-5 decision over Cleveland State’s Nick Flannery. In his semifinals match, Pennesi held a 3-2 lead with under 10 seconds over Edinboro’s A.J. Schopp, but he allowed an escape and takedown that swung the match in favor of Schopp. Pennesi rebounded from the loss with two straight decision victories that propelled him to a third place finish.
Also placing for WVU was redshirt senior Kyle Eason (165) in fourth, freshman Dominic Prezzia (157) in fifth, redshirt junior Lance Bryson (174) fifth, redshirt sophomore Mac Mancuso fifth and redshirt freshman Brutus Scheffel (149) in sixth.
With five wrestlers with tickets punched to the NCAA Championships, the remaining field will be set on Wednesday, March 7 at 6 p.m. during the annual selection show, which will include the announcement of at-large bids and the unveiling of the completed brackets.
The NCAA Championships will be held in St. Louis, Mo., on March 15-17 this season.Results125
Shane Young (WVU) dec. Ben Willeford (CSU), 9-2
Shane Young (WVU) dec. Sean Boylan (BU), 3-2
Anthony Zanetta (PITT) dec. Shane Young (WVU), 3-2133
Nathan Pennesi (WVU) dec. Nick Flannery (CSU), 10-5
A.J. Schopp (EU) dec. Nathan Pennesi (WVU), 5-3
Nathan Pennesi (WVU) dec. Joe Walko (CU), 11-5
Nathan Pennesi (WVU) dec. Nick Wilcox (BU), 7-1141
Michael Morales (WVU) dec. Josh Palivoda (CSU), 8-4
Michael Morales (WVU) win by fall Travis Shaffer (PITT), 3:59
Michael Morales (WVU) dec. Mitchell Port (EU), 7-6149
Owen Wilkinson (LHU) dec, Brutus Scheffel (WVU), 7-0
Brutus Scheffel (WVU) dev. Corey Carlo (CSU), 7-5
Bryce Busler (BU) maj. dec. Brutus Scheffel, 11-0
Cameron Moran (CU) win by medical forfeit Brutus Scheffel (WVU)157
Donnie Tasser (PITT) maj, dec. Dominic Prezzia (WVU), 10-2
Dominic Prezzia (WVU) win by fall Zac Wawrzyniak-Bush, 1:32
Casey Fuller (EU) win by fall Dominic Prezzia (WVU), 5:30
Dominic Prezzia (WVU) dec. Aaron Fry (LHU), 2-0165
Corey Carlo (CSU) dec. Kyle Eason (WVU), 5-2
Kyle Eason (WVU) win by fall Brandon Vernalli (MU), 4:54
Kyle Eason (WVU) dec. Jesse Swink (EU), 7-0
Corey Carlo (CSU) dec. Kyle Eason (WVU), 3-1174
Lance Bryson (WVU) win by fall Zach Pincus (MU), 0:40
Mike Dessino (BU) dec. Lance Bryson (WVU), 3-1 SV
Chris Hrunka (EU) dec. Lance Bryson (WVU), 5-4
Lance Bryson (WVU) dec. Aaric Thurn (CSU), 12-1184
Matt Ryan (WVU) win by fall Corbin Boone (CSU), 3:43
Matt Ryan (WVU) win by fall Steve Cressley (CU), 2:34
Matt Ryan (WVU) dec. Vic Avery (EU), 2-1197
Alex Thomas (CU) dec. Mac Mancuso (WVU), 8-2
Mac Mancuso (WVU) maj. dec. Nick Anthony (CSU), 15-6
Richard Perry (BU) dec. Mac Mancuso (WVU), 3-2
Mac Mancuso (WVU) maj. dec. Matt Parlier (LHU), 13-4HWT
Brandon Williamson (WVU) dec. Brad Ladd (MU), 16-14
Brandon Williamson (WVU) Zac Walsh (BU), 11-5
Brandon Williamson (WVU) dec. Ernest James (EU), 2-1