MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia wrestling team honored several student-athletes at its annual banquet on Friday, April 25, at the Erickson Alumni Center.
After earning a season-high ranking of No. 14 by InterMat and entering the Big 12 Tournament as the No. 1 seed, senior Colin Johnston
was voted the team's Outstanding Wrestler by teammates and coaches. Johnston finished the year with a 28-10 record and had a team-high 16-2 mark in dual matches. He went 1-2 in his first appearance at the NCAA Championships. Johnston's nine pins this season ranks him No. 8 in program history for wins by fall in a single season, and he became the first Mountaineer to earn Big 12 Wrestler of the Week honors, garnering the award after defeating then-No. 12 Anthony Collica of Oklahoma State on Jan.20.
“Colin looked adversity in the eye throughout his career and made himself into one of the best wrestlers in the country,” says associate head coach Greg Jones. “The program is grateful for the path and journey he is now completing.”
Freshman Cory Stainbrook
walked away with two awards, earning Rookie of the Year honors and being one of the two recipients of the Coaches Award. Stainbrook posted 24 wins this season, which is the eighth most by a freshman in program history. He qualified for the NCAA Championships after placing third at the Big 12 Championships on March 8.
“Cory epitomizes the developing student-athlete,” Jones states. “You had to respect him on the mat as the season progressed, or he would beat you.”
Receiving the Coaches Award along with Stainbrook was senior Nathan Pennesi
. Pennesi finished the year third at the Big 12 Championships after missing the first few weeks due to injury. He took second at the Navy Classic on Nov. 23 and fourth at the Reno Tournament of Champions on Dec. 22, and he concluded his career with 92 victories and three NCAA Championships appearances.
Sophomore Bubba Scheffel
and Johnston were named the team's captains for this season. Scheffel made his first appearance at the NCAA Championships after amassing 29 victories this year, including a program-record 15 by fall. He finished the season No. 5 in program history for wins by a sophomore.
Strength and conditioning coach Tanner Kolb presented this season's Iron Mountaineer award to sophomore Chris Nelson
“When picking someone for this award, I look for someone that comes into the weight room with the right attitude, character and a hard work ethic. As important as the captains are, I believe the person that comes in every day on the right page and never needs to be told is just as important,” says Kolb. “Chris made great strides this season and improved his lifts by great marks, and he just does not quit.”
The Mountaineers finished this season with their most wins since 2002, posting a record of 11-7. Five WVU grapplers qualified for the NCAA Championships, and six placed at the Big 12 Championships.