From - The Official Athletic Site of West Liberty University

Toppers Take Down #18 Mercyhurst 20-13

WEST LIBERTY, W.Va. – (December 2, 2009 The West Liberty University wrestling team celebrated its rise to No. 14 in the national rankings by winning a Top 25 showdown on Wednesday.

Coach Brian Davis’s Hilltoppers rallied to a 20-13 victory against No. 18 Mercyhurst by sweeping the final three matches of the evening before an enthusiastic crowd on Ohio Valley Night at the ASRC.

Ranked No. 16 in the NCAA Division II coaches’ preseason poll, West Liberty had jumped to No. 16 when the first regular-season poll was released on Wednesday morning.

Brandon Neifeld put the Hilltoppers on top to stay, 14-13, with a 7-4 decision against Eric Lundgren at 184 pounds to kick off the closing rush.

Mitch Knapp then padded the lead to 17-13 with a hard-fought 4-3 decision against Chris Nocchi in the 197-pound match.

West Liberty heavyweight J.D. Ramsey clinched the victory and finished off the night with a flourish, scoring a takedown in the waning seconds of overtime to notch a 4-2 upset of Nathan Sharp – the No. 7-ranked heavyweight in the nation.

The Hilltoppers used their strength at the lighter weights to get off to a fast start in the see-saw affair.

Following a loss at 125 pounds, West Liberty’s Nick Wykoff dominated the Lakers’ Levin Smeltzer in an 11-1 major decision at 133. Wykoff entered the match ranked No. 8 nationally in his weight class.

Hilltopper veteran Kayne Melko built on that momentum with a 4-0 shutout of Tony D’Urso at 141 to give the hosts an early 7-3 lead.

West Liberty All-American Mitch Smith pushed the margin to 11-3 with an entertaining 21-9 major decision against Lance Pitzel at 149. Smith is the nation’s No. 3-ranked wrestler at 149 pounds.

The Lakers, coached by former Hilltopper mat boss Mike Wehler, won the next three weight classes to grab a 13-11 lead but that only served to set the stage for West Liberty’s strong finish.

The Hilltoppers close out their first semester schedule on Saturday when they travel to Ada, Ohio to compete in the Ohio Northern Invitational. #16 WEST LIBERTY UNIVERSITY HILLTOPPERS VS. #11 MERCYHURST COLLEGE LAKERS
FINAL SCORE: West Liberty: 20 Mercyhurst: 13
RECORDS: West Liberty University: (1-1) Mercyhurst: (0-1)

Match by Match Results

125 lbs. John Worthington (MC) Decision Sean Jordan (WLU) 10-4 0-3 MC
133 lbs. #8 Nick Wycoff (WLU) Major Decision Levi Smeltzer (MC) 11-1 4-3 WL
141 lbs. Kayne Melko (WLU) Decision Tony D’Urso (MC) 4-0 7-3 WL
149 lbs. #3 Mitch Smith (WLU) Major Decision Lance Pitzel (MC) 21-9 11-3 WL
157 lbs. Robert Blatzer (MC) Major Decision Brian Leggett (WLU) 14-6 11-7 WL
165 lbs. #2 Andy Lamancusa (MC) Decision Jarrod Shaw (WLU) 6-2 11-10 WL
174 lbs. #2 Josh Shields (MC) Decision Matt Littleton (WLU) 4-0 11-13 MC
184 lbs. Brnadon Neifeld (WLU) Decision Eric Lundgren (MC) 7-4 14-13 WL
197 lbs. #7 Mitch Knapp (WLU) Decision Chris Nocchi (MC) 4-3 17-13 WL
HWT. JD Ramsey (WLU) Decision Nathan Sharp (MC) 4-2 (OT) 20-13 WL

· West Liberty ranks #16 in NCAA II while Mercyhurst is #11
· Individual Rankings: WL – #3 Smith (149) , #7 Knapp (197), #8 Wykoff (133) MC - #2 Lamancusa(157), #2 Shields (165)
· MC – Shields (165) Defending National Champion at 165 lbs

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