MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University wrestling team will open conference action this weekend, as it takes on No. 2 Oklahoma State on Friday and No. 14 Oklahoma on Sunday in its first Big 12 dual meets in program history.
The Mountaineers (1-3, 0-0 Big 12) will face No. 2 Oklahoma State at 8 p.m., at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Okla. Following the match against the Cowboys, WVU faces a quick turnaround, as it squares off against No. 14 Oklahoma on Sunday at 2 p.m., at McCasland Field House in Norman, Okla.
The Cowboys head into Friday’s tilt with a perfect 8-0 record (1-0 Big 12) in duals this season, while the Sooners enter the weekend with a 3-2 overall record and a 1-1 Big 12 mark prior to their match against Northern Iowa on Friday evening.
“When you wrestle teams and individuals of this caliber, they are going to come out with a type of swagger and arrogance that you must match, or you will not have the type of performance you would like,” says coach Craig Turnbull. “We are going to be challenged to compete and, obviously, very challenged to get a team win. We want each of our guys to take something away that is going to make them a better wrestler.”
OSU enters Friday evening’s showdown with eight wrestlers ranked in the top 10 of multiple Division I wrestling polls, including top-ranked Jordan Oliver (149) and Chris Perry (174). Each owns an 18-0 record this season.
As for the Sooners, they enter Sunday’s match with five wrestlers, including No. 1 Kendric Maple (141), ranked in the top 15 of multiple Division wrestling polls.
“You have to look at this type of challenge in the sense that this is why you came to this program to wrestle,” Turnbull says. “The Big 12 offers three of the most-storied programs in the nation with Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and Iowa State. We enter every match with a goal to win, and if we cannot come away with the win, we really want to stretch our opposition to put out their very best to get a win.”
The Mountaineers, who have been bitten by the injury bug throughout the season this year, will head into the dual meets with all but one of their regular starters, as Brutus Scheffel
(149) continues to recover from an ankle injury sustained at the beginning of the month.
“We have some that are healthy right now, but we also have some that are not healthy,” Turnbull says. “We have to go out and focus on the match in front of us. We can’t treat either of these teams any different than how we would any other opponent on our schedule. We need to wrestle with high intensity across the board.”
WVU last faced Oklahoma State in 1999, when it was defeated 31-10, and is winless in six meetings against them.
Against Oklahoma, the Mountaineers have split their two meetings, with the most recent match coming in 2003. In 1986, WVU defeated the Sooners 30-15.Projected Starters
WVU (1-3, 0-0 Big 12)
125: No. 23 Shane Young
133: No. 25 Colin Johnston
141: No. 14 Nathan Pennesi
149: Tim Wheeling
(4-4) OR Tre Miller-Scott
157: Jason Luster
165: Dominic Prezzia
(5-7) OR Ross Renzi
174: Bubba Scheffel
184: No. 28 Lance Bryson
197: A.J. Vizcarrondo
HWT: Phil Mandzik
(8-9)Oklahoma State (8-0, 1-0 Big 12)
125: Eddie Klimara (18-10)
133: No. 5 Jon Morrison (16-3)
141: Julian Feikert (15-9)
149: No. 1 Jordan Oliver (18-0)
157: No. 9 Alex Dieringer (16-2)
165: No. 3 Tyler Caldwell (16-3)
174: No. 1 Chris Perry (18-0)
184: No. 10 Chris Chionuma (15-5)
197: No. 5 Blake Rosholt (6-1)
285: No. 3 Alan Gelogaev (11-2)Oklahoma (3-2, 1-1 Big 12)
125: Kyle Garcia (9-8)
133: No. 10 Cody Brewer (14-4)
141: No. 1 Kendric Maple (17-0)
149: No. 11 Nick Lester (11-5)
157: No. 14 Matt Lester (12-4)
165: No. 4 Patrick Graham (14-2)
174: Matt Reed (12-8)
184: Nolan McBryde (3-4)
197: Brad Johnson (8-8)
HWT: Keldrick Hall (7-10)