|Senior Nathan Pennesi (133) comes into this weekend 14-4 on the season. Pennesi earned fourth-place honors at the Reno Tournament of Champions on Dec. 22.
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University wrestling team opens its 2014 home schedule against Lock Haven on Saturday, Jan. 4, at 7 p.m., at the WVU Coliseum.
Saturday is a “Dollar Night,” with all tickets, Coca-Colas, hot dogs and popcorn available for $1 each. Admission is free for WVU students with a valid student ID.
“I will be repeating myself a lot this season, but our most important match is the one in front of us,” says coach Craig Turnbull. “Looking at Lock Haven’s lineup, they are very balanced and have had good success. We will have to get our best wrestling out, and it will be a good challenge for us. We are excited to wrestle at home for the next several matches.”
The Mountaineers (8-2, 0-1 Big 12) are off to their best start since 2002, when WVU finished the season on a 10-match win streak and 13th at the NCAA Championships. In their last time out, the Mountaineers took fifth place at the Reno Tournament of Champions on Dec. 22. Six WVU grapplers placed, with senior Nathan Pennesi
(133) and sophomore A.J. Vizcarrondo
(HWT) earning fourth-place finishes.
In their last dual meet, the Mountaineers downed Northern Colorado, 35-4, at the Hoosier Duals on Dec. 8. WVU went 5-0 on the weekend, defeating Drexel, VMI, SIUE and then-No. 25 Indiana.
Sophomore Bubba Scheffel
(174) leads the way for the Mountaineers with 23 wins this season and 14 pins, a program single-season record. Scheffel is 8-2 in dual matches this year, with his two losses coming to No. 10 Steven Doty of Virginia and No. 14 Tanner Weatherman of Iowa State. With two more wins, Scheffel will move into the top 10 in program history for most wins by a sophomore.
Pennesi's finish at the RTOC was the fourth time in his career placing at the event. Pennesi is 14-4 on the season and currently ranked as high as No. 19 by the Wrestling Report. He is 6-1 in dual matches this season.
Senior Colin Johnston
leads the Mountaineers with nine wins in dual meets this year. Johnston's lone loss came at the UVA Duals in early November against No. 19 Joe Spisak of Virginia. With seven wins by fall to date, Johnston is one pin away from breaking into the top 10 in program history for single-season falls.
Lock Haven comes into the match 2-4 on the year, with wins over Shippensburg and Bucknell. The Bald Eagles are currently on a four-match losing streak, all against ranked opponents. In its last dual outing, Lock Haven fell victim to then-No. 22 Bloomsburg, 19-16.
Two Bald Eagles find themselves ranked by several polls. Sophomore Dan Neff (141) is ranked as high as No. 20 by Amateur Wrestling News, and junior Fred Garcia (184) is ranked No. 15.
Last season, WVU fell to Lock Haven on the road, 19-15. It was the Bald Eagles' first victory over the Mountaineers in eight years. WVU leads the all-time series 20-14, dating back to 1979.