MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University wrestling team opens its 2013-14 season at the Virginia Duals on Saturday, Nov. 2, in Charlottesville, Va.
“This season is a little bit different for us. We usually start with a bunch of tournaments to get some matches under our belt, but we wanted to try something different this year,” says coach Craig Turnbull. “At tournaments, you can get eight matches in a day. If we start with this dual meet setup, we know that even guys with less experience will get three matches. It is a much more controlled environment than a tournament.”
The Mountaineers face Gardner-Webb at 10 a.m., Anderson at noon and Virginia at 2 p.m.
WVU has a combined all-time record of 13-1 against this weekend's opponents. In the only meeting between the two programs, the Mountaineers defeated the Trojans of Anderson in 1976. WVU is 12-1 all-time against the Cavaliers, most recently defeating Virginia in 2002. The Mountaineers and the Runnin' Bulldogs of Gardner-Webb have never met.
WVU returns its top wrestler from year ago, senior Nathan Pennesi
. In the 141 pound weight class, Pennesi tallied 22 wins and an 8-2 record in dual meets. He was the lone Mountaineer to earn a bid to the 2013 NCAA Championships, recording his first career win at the NCAA Championships.
Pennesi is tabbed as high as No. 13 entering the season by Wrestling Insider Newsmagazine. Junior Mike Morales is the other WVU wrestler starting the year ranked. Morales, who took a redshirt year last season, comes into this weekend at No. 23 in D1CollegeWrestling.net's poll.
Joining Pennesi from last season's starters is junior Brutus Scheffel
and sophomore Bubba Scheffel
. Both brothers tallied double-digit wins on the season. Bubba is one of two returning starters that finished the season with a winning record.
Freshman Leonardo Trindade
comes to Morgantown after wrestling to two Massachusetts state titles and 134 career wins in high school, including a 99-1 record over his final two seasons. Joining Trindade in the freshman class is Ryder Newman
. Newman won two Nevada state titles and finished his high school career with 172 wins.
“Every year is a little bit different. The lineup changes and how that all comes together is exciting for the coaches,” Turnbull says. “How the veterans that have experience pull the freshmen along and develop throughout the season is always fun to watch.”
Action from Memorial Gymnasium in Charlottesville, Va., will begin at 10 a.m., with the Mountaineers taking on the Runnin’ Bulldogs, and the Cavaliers battling Anderson.