WLSC drops dual meet to Mercyhurst

By BRIAN COOK, Times Leader Sports Writer

November 29, 2007

The West Liberty State College wrestling program shot out to a quick 9-0 lead Thursday night at the Academic, Sports and Recreation Complex, but wasn't able to build on its good fortune as Mercyhurst won seven consectuive matches to hand the Hilltoppers a 9-31 dual setback.

"The three matches we won we were counting on, but I was expecting a few more bonus points in those wins," first year coach Brian Davis offered.

The Hilltoppers' opening wins came from former River High standout Lucas Huffman (125), No. 6 nationally ranked Matt Mossor (133) of Groveport and No. 3 nationally ranked Doug Surra (141) of Kersey, Pa.

"We've wrestled Mercyhurst before and they are a rival. Individually, it feels good to get that win, but we as a team, need to keep working hard in the room and things will happen," Huffman said.

In the seven match downfall, the Hilltoppers showcased its youth and inexperience at the collegeiate level along with one national talent.

"We were not expecting to lose at 174-pounds and hoping to sneak in one or two wins in and not get pinned," Davis commented on his stratgey to come out on top against the Lakers.

Davis' biggest surprise of the night came in the 174-pound match as his highest nationally ranked wrestler, No. 2 Chris Gibbs of Huntington, W.Va., was stunned with a 4-3 decision.

After one period, Gibbs led Lakers' freshman Josh Shields 3-1. After being deferred to, Gibbs went down in the second and never got up as Shields' riding time continued to tick away. Entering the last frame, Shields recorded a tough escape evening the score, 3-3, but his riding time proved to be enough for the victory over the national ranked grappler.

Adding pins to the scorecards for Mercyhurst were Mercellus, N.Y. native Don Commings as he defeated St. John Central graduate Kayne Melko, Lakewood St. Edwards graduate Brian Wolff as he dismantled the Hilltoppers J.D. Ramsey and Beloit, Ohio native Nathan Sharp as he tossed Wheeling Park standout Kevin Staub to the mat.

"We have had a couple guys out nursing injuries and it showed on the mat tonight, but that is still no excuse," Davis said.

The Hilltoppers will be back in action Saturday as they travel to Seton Hill.

Match Results:
125 - Lucas Huffman (WL) dec. Payne Lint (M), 3-0.
133 - Matt Mossor (WL) dec. Lance Pitcel (M), 5-4.
141 - Doug Surra (WL) dec. Braxton Scaletta (M), 4-2.
149 - Don Cummins (M) pinned Kayne Melko (WL), 2:37.
157 - Andy Lamancusa (M) major dec. Brian Leggett (WL), 15-6.
165 - Hudson Harrison (M) dec. Brandon Neifeld (WL), 6-1.
174 - Josh Shields (M) dec. Chris Gibbs (WL), 4-3.
184 - Brian Wolkk (M) pinned JD Ramsey (WL), 6:45.
197 - Trevor Gallo (M) dec. Mitch Knapp (WL), 6-5.
HWT - Nathan Sharp (M) pinned Kevin Staub (WL), 4:18.

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