MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – With the second half of the season set to begin, the West Virginia University wrestling team will return to the mat on Sunday, Jan. 6, as it will take on Lock Haven in Lock Haven, Pa., at 2 p.m. at Thomas Fieldhouse.
Both teams will enter Sunday’s dual with 1-2 records, as the Mountaineers will compete in the dual meet format for the first time since a loss.
“Lock Haven presents a very nice challenge to us for this time of the year,” says coach Craig Turnbull. “Our team, as a whole, is set to face what is unquestionably the toughest schedule they have ever faced. They are in a bit of a grind right now. It makes it difficult to read the energy and excitement of the team at the current moment. We will get to evaluate that level of excitement with Lock Haven on Sunday.”
In last season’s meeting against the Bald Eagles, WVU scored four bonus point victories, including a win by fall by Shane Young
(125) that enabled it to open up an early 19-0 lead.
After splitting contests at 157 and 165 pounds, the Mountaineers won three of the final four matches that capped a 28-12 victory.
The win was WVU’s seventh-straight win over Lock Haven, which has the series record at 20-14 in favor of the Old Gold and Blue.
“For us to be successful in a dual meet setting, we will absolutely need to get out of the gates strong,” Turnbull says. “It is a priority, and perhaps even more critical that we try to build early leads this year. We have some youth and inexperience spread through the middle and upper weights of our lineup. We would like to take some of the dual meet stress off of the middle and upper weights, so they can just go out and wrestle.”
In its last live action at the Reno Tournament of Champions prior to the holiday break, the Mountaineers had three grapplers place – Nathan Pennesi
(141) took third, Brutus Scheffel
(149) took fifth and Bubba Scheffel
(174) took sixth.
Along with giving WVU an opportunity to evaluate its first half, the break also gave the Mountaineers an opportunity to get healthy, as at least five starters have missed time due to injury.
“The big thing is that we got three or four guys that are very important to our program healthy,” Turnbull says. “Shane (Young) has been coming back from a sprained ankle and has been getting better and better. Colin (Johnston) and Bubba (Scheffel) are back to full strength after their hamstring injuries. Lance (Bryson) is moving towards 100 percent with his knee.
“Overall, we are going in a good direction. Colin is healthy, Bubba is healthy and Lance is healthy - each of them got very good practices in over the past couple of weeks.”
The match will be WVU’s first of four matches against former Eastern Wrestling League foes, after it joined the Big 12 for the 2012-13 season. The Mountaineers were members of the EWL from 1978-2012.
A live video stream of Sunday’s dual will be available here.
Live audio streams of Sunday’s dual match from AM 1230 WBPZ and AM 1600 ESPN Jersey Shore/Lock Haven will be available here
and here.Projected LineupsWVU (1-2, 0-0 Big 12)
125: No. 24 Shane Young
133: No. 26 Colin Johnston
141: No. 16 Nathan Pennesi
149: Brutus Scheffel
157: Jason Luster
165: Dominic Prezzia
(5-7) OR Ross Renzi
174: Bubba Scheffel
184: No. 22 Lance Bryson
197: A.J. Vizcarrondo
HWT: Phil Mandzik
(8-8)Lock Haven (1-2, 0-0 EWL)
125: Bobby Rehm (15-6)
133: Matt Bryer (17-15)
141: No. 24 Dan Neff (17-5)
149: Mac Maldarelli (12-7)
157: Aaron Fry (9-12)
165: Aaron McKinney (20-16)
174: Tyler Wood (8-8)
184: Fred Garcia (15-8)
197: Phil Sprenkle (10-11)
285: Harry Turner (15-9)