ST. LOUIS – The West Virginia University wrestling team had its season come to an end on Friday afternoon after junior Lance Bryson and redshirt senior Brandon Williamson were bounced from the NCAA Championships field in St. Louis.
“It was great for Brandon and Lance to have the opportunity to compete in the tournament today,” said coach Craig Turnbull. “My impressions of the tournament in general is that it was pretty frustrating because we felt that we came into it well prepared. It was not the results that we thought we were capable of achieving. The rest of our guys competed very hard, and they were a couple matches short of building a great tournament.”
Bryson (174) had WVU’s first match of the day, as he took on The Citadel’s Turtogtokh Luvsandorj in the second-round of wrestle backs. The Shoaf, Pa., native battled, but he came up on the losing end of a 7-3 decision to Luvsandorj.
Bryson finished his 2011-12 season with 25-16 mark.
“Getting Lance into the tournament in the first place was great for his career development,” Turnbull said. “Although it wasn’t the experience that we had hoped for, he will be able to return next year with an idea of what it will take to be standing on the podium at next year’s national tournament.”
As for Williamson, he advanced the furthest of any Mountaineer grappler, as he made it to the third-round of wrestle backs. In his first match of the day, Williamson was able to earn a win by fall over Wisconsin’s Cole Tobin at the 4:22 mark of the match. In his final match, Williamson was defeated by Binghamton’s Nick Gwiazdowski by a 10-2 margin.
With his 2-2 record at the NCAA Championships, Williamson finished the 2011-12 campaign with a 28-8 overall record.
“In some ways, we were unlucky with Brandon because he tore a ligament in his toe last week, and then, he twisted his ankle in the first match, so he could barely put any pressure on either foot” Turnbull said. “It was heartbreaking to see him not get a good swing at some of the best guys in his weight class.”
The Mountaineers finished their season with a 9-4 dual meet record and had a total of six wrestlers qualify for the NCAA tournament, which was their most since 2008.
“It was painful, as a coach, to see the season end like that because you want to watch these guys come in and chase their hopes and dreams on that mat,” Turnbull said. “The four guys returning next year will have the chance to do it all over again next season, and for now, they know that the journey back to the national tournament is something that they will build towards in the next year.”
Junior Shane Young (125), redshirt sophomore Nathan Pennesi (133), sophomore Michael Morales (141) and Bryson will return to WVU’s lineup next season.DAY 2 RESULTS174
Turtogtokh Luvsandorj (The Citadel) dec. Lance Bryson (WVU), 7-3HWT
Brandon Williamson (WVU) win by fall Cole Tobin (Wisconsin), 4:22
Nick Gwiazdowski (Binghamton) dec. Brandon Williamson (WVU), 10-2