NO.9 WVU PLAYS HOST TO NO.13 IOWA STATE

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (January 1, 2003) The ninth-ranked West Virginia University wrestling team will play host to 13th-ranked Iowa State on Saturday, January 4, at noon in the WVU Coliseum.

The Mountaineers are 0-9 all-time against the Cyclones, including a close 24-16 loss in Ames, Iowa, last year.

Several lower-weight classes will feature ranked wrestlers from both squads. Twelfth-ranked Brandon Lauer will battle No.6 Zach Roberson at 133, No.14 Shane Cunanan will take on No.1 Aaron Holker at 141 and No.6 Billy Smith will go against No.18 Nate Gallick. Between the two teams, 15 wrestlers are ranked by either Intermatwrestle.com or Amateur Wrestling News.

After competing against Iowa State, the Mountaineers will host another ranked team on Thursday, January 9, when No.5 Ohio State visits the WVU Coliseum at 7:30 p.m.
Match Notes -- West Virginia is 0-9 all-time against Iowa State ... matches that feature ranked wrestlers from both teams will be 133, 141, 149, 165 and 184 ... if WVU wins, it will be the program's 500th victory ... the Mountaineers opened the season last year at Iowa State, a 24-16 loss ... the last time WVU lost a home-opener was in 1999 against Oklahoma State ... two No.1-ranked wrestlers will be in action on Saturday with ISU's Aaron Holker (141) and WVU's Greg Jones (174) ... between the two teams, 14 of the 20 wrestlers are ranked by one of the two major polls ... ISU's match with WVU is one of three for them on the day as they head to Pittsburgh for two duals with Pitt and Slippery Rock.

Last Time Out -- Ryan Wilman (184) finished fifth and Shane Cunanan (141) placed eighth to lead No.9 West Virginia at the 40th annual Midlands Tournament this weekend.

Wilman scored a major upset in the match for fifth place by defeating second-seeded and fifth-ranked Greg Parker of Princeton, 8-5. He advanced to the quarterfinals before losing a 3-1 tiebreaker to No.10-seed Gerald Harris of Cleveland State. He then picked up four wins in the consolation bracket before defeating Parker.

Cunanan, seeded sixth, advanced to the quarterfinals before dropping a 5-3 decision to third-seeded Dylan Long. He then defeated Iowa's Luke Moffitt, the fifth-seed, 3-0 before losing a 1-1 tiebreaker to defending national champion and top-ranked Aaron Holker of Iowa State.

Senior Tom McMath did not place but finished among the top 12 in his first appearance this season after missing the first month of competition with an injured wrist. McMath picked up two wins, including a win over sixth-seed Drew Kelly 4-3, before losing 8-0 to third-seeded Troy Letters of Lehigh and fifth-seeded Noel Thompson of Hofstra.

The Mountaineers did not take a full squad to the tournament as starters Brandon Lauer (133), Billy Smith (149), Matt Lebe (157), Greg Jones (174), and Brent Miller (HWT) rested nagging injuries.

Last Year At Iowa State -- WVU, ranked 25th in the nation, lost a 24-16 decision to No.6 Iowa State in Ames, Iowa.

Greg Jones scored the first points for the Mountaineers by earning a major decision over Nick Passolano at 174 after an Iowa State win at 165 to start the match. The Cyclones the scored a major decision and a technical fall at 184 and 197, to make the score 12-4. Senior Ryan Kehler got the Mountaineers back into the match with a last-second takedown against No.17 Mark Knauer to close the gap to 12-7. WVU lost that momentum when in the next match Ricky LaForge took an early 4-0 lead, but got reversed and pinned at 1:53 by Ty Malia at 125.

The Mountaineers' Shane Cunanan (ranked 12th at 141), recorded the day's only upset by defeating No.7 Aaron Holker 10-5. No.19 Billy Smith battled ISU's Billy Maldonado but lost 6-4 on a takedown in overtime.

Here are the complete results from last year's match: Iowa State 24, West Virginia 16
165-#1 Joe Heskett (I) dec. Tom McMath (W), 10-6
174-#10 Greg Jones (W) maj.dec. Nick Passolano (I), 12-4
184-#12 Austen Palmer (I) maj.dec. Ryan Wilman (W), 14-4
197-#1 Cael Sanderson (I) tech. fall Brent Miller (W), 20-5
HWT-#13 Ryan Kehler (W) dec. #17 Mark Knauer (I), 3-1
125-Ty Malia (I) pinned Ricky LaForge (W), F 1:53
133-#4 Zach Roberson (I) dec. Brandon Lauer (W), 11-4
141-#12 Shane Cunanan (W) dec. #7 Aaron Holker (I), 10-5
149-#6 Billy Maldonado (I) dec. #19 Billy Smith (W), 6-4 sv
157-#14 Joe Carr won by forfeit

Scouting the Cyclones -- Iowa State, the 2002 NCAA runner-up, enters today's match with a 2-3 dual record ...
ISU shows victories against Millersville and Tennessee-Chattanooga and losses against No.2 Iowa, No.8 Lehigh and EWL member Lock Haven ...
the Cyclones are extremely young listing seven underclassmen in their probable starting lineup ...
Iowa State's strength is in its lower weight classes (125-141) where those three wrestlers have double-digit victory totals ...
ISU finished seventh at The Midlands last weekend ...
the Cyclones are led by Aaron Holker (141), the returning NCAA champion and unanimous No.1-ranked wrestler in the nation ...
however, Holker dropped a match to Derek Phillips last weekend at the Midlands ...
Holker narrowly defeated Shane Cunanan in a tiebreaker in the consolation bracket (1-1) at the tournament ...
Cunanan defeated Holker 10-5 in last year's dual with Iowa State ...
Zach Roberson (133) is also a leader for the Cyclones ...
ranked sixth in the country, Roberson was an All-American last year and finished runner-up at Midlands last week ...
Nick Passolano (165) and Austen Palmer (184) lead ISU in the middle/upper weight classes with 9-4 and 12-5 records, respectively ...
ISU recently declared its two heavyweights, Wade McLeod and Joe Brewer inelgible for academic reasons

Quick Rematches -- While the WVU team is looking for a re-match from last year's contest, several individual ISU and WVU wrestlers will be taking on each other for the second consecutive weekend. At Midlands three bouts featured possible starters for today's match:
125 - Jessee Sundell (ISU) pinned Seth Lisa, 3:42
141 - Aaron Holker (ISU) dec. Shane Cunanan, 1-1 (tb)
184 - Ryan Wilman dec. Austen Palmer, 4-3

Mountaineer Milestone -- Defending national champion Greg Jones earned his 25th consecutive at the Navy Classic, setting the school record. Jones surpassed the record of 24 which was set by his brother, Vertus, in 1999-2000. Jones' current winning streak stands at 30.

Last season, Jones and senior Tom McMath each strung together 22 and 23 wins, respectively, but saw their streaks snapped short of the record. Jones lost 9-8 to then-No.1 Otto Olson in Las Vegas while McMath dropped a tough match against Mark Fee of Appalachian State in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

30 Something -- Returning NCAA champion Greg Jones has a school-record 30-match winning streak dating back to last season. Here is a closer look at Jones' streak:

Won by decision: 15
Won by major decision: 5
Won by technical Fall: 2
Won by fall: 8
Won in overtime: 3
Won in a tournament: 20
Won in a dual: 10
Won over ranked opponents: 10

McMath Returns -- Senior Tom McMath returns to the WVU starting lineup after missing the first month of the season due to a wrist injury he suffered wrestling in China over the summer. McMath began the season last weekend at Midlands, going 2-2.

Getting Offensive -- WVU prides itself on its aggressive and offensive style of wrestling and scoring bonus points whenever possible. Among the WVU starter's 104 victories this season, over a third have produced extra points for the Mountaineers (34.6%). Individually, Brandon Lauer has the highest percentage of extra-point victories with eight of his 11 wins this season coming by major decision or fall (72.7%).

Scrappy Smith -- Senior Billy Smith may not have two good knees, but he is still one of the top wrestlers in the nation at 149. Smith missed his sophomore season due to an ACL injury and competed at the end of last year with a MCL injury. He has started the season 11-1 and is ranked sixth by Intermatwrestle.com, with his only loss coming to top-ranked Jared Lawrence of Minnesota.

The Wilman Beast -- Sophomore Ryan Wilman, fresh off a strong fifth-place finish at Midlands, has already racked up 15 wins this season (six shy of his total from last year) and leads the team in victories. Wilman also recorded his biggest victory as a Mountaineer with a win over No.5 Greg Parker of Princeton at Midlands and is ranked 12th in the nation at 184, the highest ranking of his career.

500 On The Horizon -- With West Virginia's next dual victory, the Mountaineers will have 500 for the program. For the record, head coach Craig Turnbull has accounted for nearly 40 percent of those wins with his 203 career victories, followed by 155 for Steve Harrick. WVU's overall program record stands at 499-354-14.

Lisa Named EWL Wrestler Of The Week -- West Virginia University wrestler Seth Lisa was named the Eastern Wrestling League (EWL) wrestler of the week for his efforts at the Navy Classic on November 23.

Lisa, a redshirt freshman from Northampton, Pa., defeated two nationally-ranked wrestlers on his way to winning the 125 weight class. He defeated Jared Opfer of Kent State 6-4 in the semifinals and then earned a 4-1 decision over former ACC champion George Cintron in the finals. Lisa, who is 9-0 on the year, also won his bracket at the WVU Open last week.

WVU Signs Fryling -- West Virginia University wrestling coach Craig Turnbull announced the signing of Zac Fryling for the 2003-04 season.

Fryling, rated by Intermatwrestle.com as the nation's seventh-best high school recruit, owns a 111-20 career record in just three seasons at North Penn High under coach Robert Shettsline. As a junior, Fryling went 42-1 with 14 pins on his way to the sectional, regional and Pennsylvania state championship at 160-pounds.

The Lansdale, Pa., native finished third in the state as a sophomore on his way to a 39-10 record with 20 pins. Fryling is a three-time PIAA state qualifier and Intelligencer and Record all-area selection as well as a two-time The Report wrestler of the year. He also has a third- and fourth-place finish at the "Beast of the East" tournament the past two years. Fryling has excelled in the classroom as well carrying a 3.6 GPA.

The West Virginia coaches project Fryling to wrestle at 165 for the Mountaineers.

Ranked Opponents -- Three of West Virginia's opponents are ranked in the latest Intermatwrestle.com poll. Ohio State is ranked fifth, Iowa State is ranked 7th and Cleveland State is 24th. In addition, four other WVU opponents received votes in that poll. With the Mountaineers going to the NWCA National Duals in January, WVU has a chance to face six or seven ranked teams by season's end.

Last year against ranked opponents, West Virginia was 4-2.


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