From HiltopperSports.com - The Official Athletic Site of West Liberty University

November 1, 2009

BUFFALO, N.Y. – The West Liberty University wrestling team made its season debut with a solid performance at the University of Buffalo’s seventh annual UB Open on Sunday.

Coach Brian Davis’s Hilltoppers, ranked No. 16 in the NCAA Division II coaches’ preseason poll, had one individual placewinner while several other grapplers were able to post multiple wins in the challenging open tournament format.

The one-day event attracted nearly 250 wrestlers from 27 teams at the NCAA Division I, II and III, junior-college and club levels.

West Liberty was one of three nationally-ranked NCAA Division II squads in the field, which also featured three of the nation’s Top 25 NCAA Division I teams. No team scoring was kept and schools had the option of entering multiple wrestlers in the same weight class.

Brian Leggett finished fourth at 157 pounds for the Hilltoppers. The No. 4-seed at 157, Leggett dropped a 12-11 heartbreaker to Duquesne's Nate Reinhart in the championship quarterfinals but rolled through the wrestlebacks. He beat Mercyhurst's Clint Schaefer, Lehigh's Greg Hilbert and Pitt's Mark Powell before coming out on the short end of a 5-3 decision to Edinboro's Matt Laird in the 3rd-4th Place match.

Nick Wykoff advanced to the championship quarterfinals at 133 pounds before losing to eventual 4th-place finisher Joe Stanziure of Cornell. Wykoff won his first match in the wrestleback but had to default the following match that would have guaranteed a Top 6 finish.

Kayne Melko was the No. 8 seed at 149. He also advanced to the championship quarterfinals before losing to eventual champion Desmond Green of host Buffalo and failed to advance in the wrestlebacks.

No. 7 seed Seth Phalen won a couple of matches in a very crowded 165-pound field but was eliminated by eventual 6th-place finisher Phil Sorrentino of Pitt in the wrestlebacks.

Also at 165, unseeded Jarrod Shaw lost to No. 1 seed and eventual champion Josh Shields of Mercyhurst in an early match but battled through the wrestlebacks before running into Sorrentino, who eked out a 3-2 decision in the last round of consolations before the place matches.

Matt Littleton put together a nice run through the wrestlebacks in a 174-pound field that featured 33 entries. After picking up one win in the championship bracket, Littleton added two more wins in the wrestlebacks before falling to eventual 5th-place finisher Aaron Ernest of Lock Haven in the final round of consolations.

At 184 pounds, Brandon Neifeld lost his opening match to top-seeded and eventual champion Chris Honeycutt of Edinboro. Neifeld then rebounded with three straight wins in the wrestlebacks before being eliminated by eventual 5th-place finisher Kadeem Samuels of Lehigh in the last round of consolations.

Mike Carpenter advanced to the championship quarterfinals at 285 pounds but failed to place when he dropped his first wrestleback match.

The Hilltopper wrestlers are slated to return to the mats on Nov. 14 when they compete in the Washington & Jefferson (Pa.) Open.

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