MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Despite rallying to earn a 9-8 lead after an early deficit of 8-0 against Ohio, the West Virginia University wrestling team was beaten, 29-9, at the second-ever “Beauty & the Beast” in front of 2,522 fans at the WVU Coliseum.
“This was a really nice setup this afternoon, and the crowd was fantastic,” said coach Craig Turnbull. “We made it a little more entertaining in the first “Beauty & the Beast”, but we did not do that this afternoon. It wasn’t the match that we expected. That match was painful, and there were a lot of long faces following that match. Our guys care, and that hurt. We are hoping that there is some learning going on, but it is getting late in the season.”
The Bobcats (7-3), who were coming off of a win against Clarion on Friday evening, jumped out to an early lead with back-to-back major decision at 197 pounds and heavyweight.
Senior Shane Young
(125) was able to slow OU’s momentum, though, as he earned an 11-5 major decision against Kevon Powell. Young worked two takedowns in the first period, two takedowns in the second period and earned the riding time point to build large advantages after the first and second period.
Juniors Colin Johnston
(133) and Nathan Pennesi
(141) also contributed to the rally that gave the Mountaineers a 9-8 lead.
Johnston, who returned to the lineup after missing last week’s dual match against Pitt, earned a 3-2 decision win against the Bobcat’s Joe Munos. Johnston converted a takedown with less than 1:30 left in the match to take a 3-1 lead. Johnston staved off multiple takedown attempts by Munos in the waning seconds.
“Colin needed to be out there,” Turnbull said. “He obviously isn’t where he needs to be, but he needed to be out there. We don’t have much of a season left, so it is crucial to try and get him matches.”
As for Pennesi, he earned a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Kagan Squire. Pennesi, who rode Squire for the length of the second period, was able to earn an escape point in the third to take the 1-0 win.
“It was a pretty disappointing result for us,” Pennesi said. “This was a match that we could have won. They were able to get bonus points at certain matches, while we weren’t able to counter with bonus points in our matches – things just didn’t go our way. I didn’t think that I wrestled particularly well, but it was enough for the win.”
With a lead in hand, WVU looked to further its advantage, as Brutus Scheffel
returned to the mat for the first time since Dec. 16. Scheffel, however, was unable to get the win, as he was defeated by OU’s Andrew Romanchik, 2-0.
“Getting Colin and Brutus back today was nice, but you could tell that they weren’t quite there – they have been out for a while,” Turnbull said. “We would have liked to take bonus points at 125, 133 and 141 pounds, but we just couldn’t get over the hump.”
Following their win at 149 pounds, the Bobcats were able to string together four more victories that locked up the match in their favor. Out of the five consecutive wins, two wins came by fall for OU.
“I thought we were prepared coming into this,” Pennesi said. “We knew the crowd and the energy was going to be here, but things didn’t work out for us.
“I’ve really enjoyed the Beauty & the Beast both times that we have done it. This event brings a diverse group of people together. I don’t know anyone that isn’t blown away by what the gymnastics girls do.”
WVU (1-9), which is idle this coming weekend, returns to the mat on Saturday, Feb. 23, at 7 p.m., as it hosts No. 16 Edinboro at the WVU Coliseum in its final home dual meet of the season.Results (Match began at 197)
197: Phil Wellington (OU) maj. dec. A.J. Vizcarrondo
HWT: No. 15 Jeremy Johnson (OU) maj. dec. Phil Mandzik
125: No. 24 Shane Young
(WVU) dec. Kevon Powell (OU), 11-5
133: Colin Johnston
(WVU) dec. Joe Munos (OU), 3-2
141: No. 12 Nathan Pennesi
(WVU) dec. Kagan Squire (OU), 1-0
149: Andrew Romanchik (OU) dec. Brutus Scheffel
157: Spartak Chino (OU) dec. Dominic Prezzia
165: Harrison Hightower (OU) win by fall Ross Renzi
174: No. 16 Cody Walter (OU) dec. No. 27 Bubba Scheffel
184: Michael Duckworth (OU) win by fall Lance Bryson
Team Score: 29-9 Ohio