On Saturday evening, four West Virginia University wrestlers will take to the Coliseum mat for the final time in their Mountaineer careers.Shane Young
, Michael Bolash
, Phil Mandzik
and Jeffrey Yeatman
will see a chapter of their wrestling careers come to a close, as they will be honored as part of “Senior Night” prior to Saturday’s match against No. 16 Edinboro.
“Each of the guys who are graduating have contributed something very unique to this program,” said coach Craig Turnbull. “Each of them has left his impression on this program in his own special way. We are nothing but appreciative and thankful for the time that they have put in during their careers. We hope that the experiences and lessons they have learned within this program stick with them and are of assistance in their everyday life.”
Young, a senior from Jeannette, Pa., majoring in multidisciplinary studies, quickly became a fixture in the starting lineup after joining the program for the 2009-10 season. This season, he is looking to become the program’s 15th grappler to qualify for the NCAA Championships four times. Young has tallied 78 victories during his career. His 28 wins during the 2010-11 season, which was a team high, is tied for the sixth-most in program history by a sophomore and is tied for the second-most at the 125-pound weight class. Young has placed second three times at the Eastern Wrestling League Championships and was recognized as a team captain last season.
“It has been a great time,” Young said. “I don’t think I would trade my experience here for any other place. I’ve had great teammates throughout this experience, and it has been pretty cool to watch guys come and go. Now, it is my turn. Coach Turnbull, Greg (Jones) and Danny (Felix) have been fantastic to work with.”
“Shane will go down as one of our finest lightweights of all time,” Turnbull said. “He is one of our more tenacious competitors, and he is very determined in his approach. He is capable of working his way to the finals this year or standing on the All-American podium at this year’s national tournament.”
Mandzik, a redshirt senior from Bradenton, Fla., majoring in history, joined the Mountaineer wrestling program during the 2010-11 season and quickly became a starter. In his first season with WVU, Mandzik earned 10 victories and started all but one dual meet. This season, Mandzik has started each dual meet for WVU and has earned eight victories.
“I have definitely learned a lot in my time here,” Mandzik said. “Greg is such a competitor, and it has been very beneficial to wrestle with him on a daily basis. Danny has been great to work with too. Morgantown has been a very special place to me. I met my wife here. I hope to pursue a master’s degree, and I hope to keep competing in wrestling.”
“Phil is a very unique man,” Turnbull said. “He is one of our more determined and enthusiastic competitors. He brings a lot of emotion and dedication to our team. The edge that he brings to the mat is something that will continue to help him in the future.”
Bolash, a senior from Warrington, Pa., majoring in history, joined the program in 2009. One of the Mountaineers most reliable in-room contributors, Bolash gained valuable during his time on the roster. Bolash competed at the Washington & Jefferson Open and the Navy Classic twice. This season, Bolash traveled with the Mountaineers to the NC State Open and has been an important leader.
“Wrestling has been a very good experience for me since I’ve been here,” Bolash said. “It has kept me on track with my academics and kept me level-headed. Being in the room every day with these guys has been pretty cool. We have all developed a pretty tight bond, and it is a lot like being in a family. Coach Turnbull, coach Greg and coach Danny are people that will help me along the way for the rest of my life.”
“Michael is a very dedicated member of this team,” Turnbull said. “He hardly ever misses practice, and he participates with full intensity on a daily basis. He displayed great leadership on the mat and in the classroom.”
Yeatman, a senior from Annapolis, Md., majoring in English, joined the wrestling program in 2009. During the 2009 season, Yeatman contributed at practice and gained valuable experience in the room. Over the course of the next two seasons, Yeatman competed at the Navy Classic and the Washington & Jefferson Open twice.
“It has been a great experience to wrestle and be a part of this program,” Yeatman said. “I loved being able to wrestle here for someone that has had the opportunity to be around it as long as coach Turnbull has. It’s also been great to be around guys that have wrestling at such a high level like Greg and Danny have.”
“Jeff is really a great soldier,” Turnbull said. “He just puts together the best practice that he can on a daily basis. Jeff has goals of being a teacher and a coach, and he is going to be outstanding at both of those, as we have seen with his dedication to hard work while in this program.”
The Mountaineers final home match of the season will begin on Saturday at 7:00 p.m.