MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (Sept. 20, 2012) – West Virginia University Director of Athletics Oliver Luck has announced the 2012-13 wrestling team’s schedule for its inaugural Big 12 season.
“Coach Craig Turnbull has continually put together one of the top schedules in the country, and this upcoming season's schedule may be the most difficult in the program’s history,” said Luck. “With our entrance into the Big 12 Conference, we will square off against some of the most storied programs in collegiate wrestling, while also maintaining regional rivalries and a national presence.”
The schedule, which features four tournaments and 16 total dual meets, sees the Mountaineers taking on teams that finished the 2011-12 season in the NWCA/USA Today Top 25 a total of seven times, along with the return of the “Beauty and the Beast” promotion in early February.
Also included will be a home match against two-time defending national champion, Penn State, on Nov. 18.
“This is probably the most challenging, ambitious schedule we have ever put together in the history of this program,” said Turnbull. “The schedule that you put together in the spring is a lot different when you have to start living it in the fall. We often say that you should schedule in thirds. In your very best year, you should have a top third that pushes your team’s boundaries, a middle third that you are able to compete against and win and a bottom third that you should win against nearly every time. This year, I don’t think that we have that bottom third.”
WVU will begins its season on Nov. 4 this year – the earliest start in program history – with a trip to College Park, Md., for the University of Maryland Duals. While there, the Mountaineers will take on Kutztown, Johns Hopkins and two-time defending ACC champion, Maryland.
“This just goes to show the ambitiousness of our schedule,” Turnbull said. “In our first match of the year, we will be taking on a very high-caliber opponent in Maryland, along with Kutztown and Johns Hopkins.”
On the following weekends, WVU will get its first tastes of tournament action, as it heads to Raleigh, N.C., for the Wolfpack Open proceeded by the Navy Classic in Annapolis, Md.
On Nov. 18, the Mountaineers will welcome the Nittany Lions to Morgantown for the first time since 2010.
“It is a tremendous opportunity for us to have them coming to our arena,” Turnbull said. “Penn State will probably bring in the most talented team that has ever wrestled in the Coliseum. It may be the most complete and talented team that we have ever wrestled against in my 35 years here. They will feature three NCAA champions and seven All-Americans – that is an amazingly balanced and talented lineup. That match should bring a lot of energy to our home arena.”
After the dual meet with Penn State, WVU will close out the first half of its season with consecutive trips to Nevada for the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational and the Reno Tournament of Champions.
“Las Vegas and Reno feature two of the premier wrestling tournaments in the country,” Turnbull said. “We will see some of the top talent that the nation has to offer at each of those stops. It will be a challenge for our team.”
Following two weeks of rest for winter break, the Mountaineers will take to the road against former league foe Lock Haven.
After an off week, WVU will take part in its first Big 12 match in program history, as it wrestles at Oklahoma State on Jan. 18. That match will be followed by a tilt at Oklahoma two days later.
The back-to-back matches against the Cowboys and the Sooners precede another back-to-back weekend against Rutgers and Iowa State.
“We will feature the No. 1 and No. 2 dual meet teams, if not tournament teams, in the country with Penn State and Oklahoma State,” Turnbull said. “The two-week stretch with Oklahoma and Oklahoma State back-to-back, along with Rutgers and Iowa State back-to-back, will be two weekends that will be very good for us, yet also very challenging.”
With the first half of its conference schedule completed, the Mountaineers will take on former conference rivals Pitt on Feb. 2, Edinboro on Feb. 23 and Clarion on Feb. 24.
“Although we are now a Big 12 school, it is nice to have the ability to maintain regional rivalries such as these,” Turnbull said. “Pitt is the defending EWL champion, and Edinboro finished last season in the top 10 as a dual meet team.”
On Feb. 10, between matches against the Panthers and the Fighting Scots, WVU will welcome back the “Beauty and the Beast” promotion, as wrestling will square off against Ohio and gymnastics will take on Iowa State.
“We are very happy that we were able to set this promotion up with the gymnastics team.” Turnbull said. “The event was highly successful the first time that we had it, and it is a date that we will all be looking forward to on the schedule.”
The Mountaineers will close out their regular season March 9, as they will travel to Stillwater, Okla., for the Big 12 duals. Each Big 12 conference team will compete in a dual meet against each other on the day prior to the Big 12 Championships.
“The final weekend of the season will be a very physical and emotional challenge for each of our guys,” Turnbull said. “We will have to be very resilient. Each of our dual meets is going to stretch our boundaries. Within our sport, you have 10 contests inside of a contest. Hopefully, we prepare and respond in all the right ways.”
After the Big 12 Championships, WVU will close out its season at the NCAA Championships in Des Moines from March 21-23.2012-13 WVU Wrestling Schedule