Pennesi Set for Third NCAA Championships

  • By Brian Kuppelweiser
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  • March 20, 2013 12:33 PM
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Session Schedule | Individual Mat Live Stream

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University wrestling junior Nathan Pennesi is set to compete at the NCAA Championships for the third time in his career, as action gets underway on Thursday, March 21, at 12 p.m., at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa.

“I am excited to get back out to nationals,” Pennesi says. “You only get to wrestle in an arena this big a couple of times during the year.”

Pennesi (141), who missed the final three weeks of the regular season after suffering a broken left third metacarpal, will be wrestling in his first live match since Feb. 10, when he defeated Ohio’s Kagan Squire, 1-0.

“Nathan told us – right before he suffered his injury – that he was a little bit stale,” says coach Craig Turnbull. “He wasn’t wrestling as well as he wanted to be. The season is a long grind, and we had a very tough schedule, probably the toughest in the nation. He was able to get three weeks away from the season, and there is a chance that he feels sharper than he ever has.”

Pennesi, a native of Latrobe, Pa., owns 74 victories during the course of career, but he is 0-4 at the NCAA Championships, including two one-point losses.

“It is misleading to say that he hasn’t won a match at the NCAA Championships yet, because he was right there with every one of his opponents,” Turnbull says. “I could put Nathan out there with any of the seeded wrestlers and feel that he has a good opportunity to earn a victory. This tournament is very, very tough. You can wrestle two matches that are as good as you have wrestled all year, and you can come up a point or two short.”

“This year, I feel even more comfortable and confident heading into this because of the level of competition that I have faced during the course of the season and my familiarity with this tournament,” Pennesi says. “I felt a little more comfortable last season than I did two years ago, but the level of competition is just so good at this tournament. You really just have to wrestle your best.”

In his first round match, Pennesi will take on Hofstra’s Luke Vaith. Vaith sports a 21-12 overall ledger and took third in the Colonial Athletic Association Championships. At the 2012 NCAA Championships, Vaith finished with a 1-2 record, with his victory coming against Duke’s Tanner Hough.

“That is the first that I have heard who my opponent is going to be,” Pennesi says. “I have really just focused on getting myself prepared for the tournament. I haven’t put much thought into what is going on with the brackets or who I am going to face. It is still just a wrestling match against an opponent.”

A live stream of each match will be available on trackwrestling.com. In addition, fans can also follow along live on ESPN3.com.

Live updates of Pennesi’s matches, along with recaps of each session, can be found on WVUsports.com, the official WVU Wrestling Facebook page, the official WVU Sports Twitter page and the official WVU Wrestling Twitter page.


WVU Wrestling, NCAA Championships, Big 12 Wrestling