No. 10 West Virginia vs. No. 7 Ohio State

Saturday, January 12, Noon
St. John Arena, Columbus, Ohio

No. 10 West Virginia Mountaineers (2-1)
125 Ricky LaForge Fr. Oakland, N.J. 8-3
133 Brandon Lauer Fr. Highland, Md. 12-5
141 (17) Shane Cunanan Jr. Spokane, Wash. 15-5
149 (19) Billy Smith Jr. New Alexandria, Pa. 14-5
157 (6) Joe Carr Sr. Lexington, Ky. 17-1
165 (7) Tom McMath Jr. Sharpsville, Pa. 16-2
174 (4) Greg Jones Fr. Slickville, Pa. 16-1
184 Ryan Wilman Fr. Powder Springs, Ga. 13-7
197 Brent Miller Fr. Unionpolis, Ohio 8-7
HWT (20) Ryan Kehler Sr. Klingerstown, Pa. 4-2
Coach: Craig Turnbull (193-139-6)
No. 7 Ohio State Buckeyes (10-0)
125 Jesse Leng So. Hinckely, Ohio 11-9
133 (7) Jeff Ratliff So. Marion, Ohio 17-4
141 (8) Robert Sessley Sr. Columbus, Ohio 10-5
149 (11) Keaton Anderson Jr. Pickerington, Ohio 15-4
157 (12) Josh Janson Sr. Loveland, Ohio 16-7
165 (10) John Clark So. Canton, N.Y. 18-4
174 (19) Ryan Hieber So. Galion, Ohio 11-5
184 (15) Anton Talamantes Jr. Ft. Wayne, Ind. 12-5
197 (4) Nick Preston Sr. Columbus, Ohio 17-2
HWT (2) Tommy Rowlands So. Hilliard, Ohio 17-2
Coach: Russ Hellickson (300-146-6)

Match Notes:
Ohio State will be the second Top 10 team the Mountaineers have faced this season ...
WVU is 1-1 against ranked teams ...
the Buckeyes hold a slight 12-8 edge in the series that dates back to 1921 ...
the Mountaineers won the last meeting 22-15 in 1997 ...
matches between ranked wrestlers will be at 141, 149, 157, 165, 174 and HWT ...
the Mountaineers were 5-0 in those classes last week against Penn State ...
Cunanan, Carr and Jones are undefeated in dual competition ...
the Buckeyes and Mountaineers each have a win against Clarion this season ...
WVU has recorded five major decisions and two technical falls in its first three dual meets.

Mountaineers In The Polls
The West Virginia University wrestling team is ranked 10th in the nation according to the poll. Several Mountaineer wrestlers earned individual rankings by both and Amateur Wrestling News.
Name (Weight)
Brandon Lauer (133) ................. HM/16th
Shane Cunanan (141) .............. 17th/18th
Billy Smith (149) ..................... 19th/17th
Joe Carr (157) ........................... 6th/10th
Tom McMath (165) ...................... 7th/6th
Greg Jones (174) ......................... 4th/4th
Ryan Kehler (HWT) ................. 20th/20th

Scouting the Buckeyes -- Ohio State enters today’s meet with nine of its 10 wrestlers ranked in the nation (including four in the Top 10), the most of any WVU opponent this season. All nine wrestlers were also NCAA qualifiers last year. The Buckeyes have rattled off 10 vic-tories to start the season, which included easy victories against East-ern Wrestling League (EWL) members Clarion (45-0) and No. 12 Lock Haven (28-11).

The Buckeyes also return three All-Americans to the lineup this season in Robert Sessley (141), Nick Preston (197) and Tommy Rowlands (HWT). OSU will counter the Mountaineer’s strength in the middle weight classes with most wrestlers ranked near the Top 10. Despite going 4-0 at last weekend’s Buckeye Duals, head coach Ron Hellickson was a bit concerned about the team’s performance heading into the match with WVU.

“We can’t come out against West Virginia like we did today,” Hellickson said last Sunday. “We are a good team but if we fall behind, it may be tough to climb back in it. I think these duals helped us get physically and mentally ready for West Virginia.”

Last Time Out -- WVU scored an impressive, 23-15 victory over No. 17 Penn State Saturday afternoon at State College, Pa.

“I have tremendous respect for Penn State,” said West Virginia coach Craig Turnbull. “I feel very fortunate to come away with a win in a tough environment.”

After dropping its first match at 133, West Virginia reeled off six straight victories to take a commanding 20-3 lead. Junior Shane Cunanan got things going with a 16-6 major decision over No. 17- ranked Scott Moore.

“We got the momentum right where we needed it,” said Turnbull of Cunanan’s major decision.

No. 19-rated Billy Smith followed with a win over Nate Wachter at 149 and No. 6-ranked Joe Carr had an 11-5 victory over freshman James Woodall at 157.

No. 7-rated Tom McMath improved his record to 16-2 with a vic-tory over Doc Vecchio at 165, and outstanding sophomore Greg Jones scored a 23-8 major decision over freshman Todd Brennan at 174. In the big upset of the day, West Virginia’s Ryan Wilman downed No. 9-ranked Mark Becks at 184. Becks came into the match with an impressive 14-1 record that included a victory over the nation’s No. 1-ranked wrestler.

Notes From Penn State -- The Mountaineers defeated the Nittany Lions for the seventh time in their last 10 tries ... Greg Jones’ major decision was his second in dual competition this year ... Ryan Wilman’s 3-2 upset over No.9 Mark Becks was his first victory over a ranked opponent ... WVU’s 20 consecutive team points were a sea-son high ... the Mountaineers lost the first match for the third con-secutive dual meet.

Top 10 -- West Virginia is ranked 10th in the latest poll. WVU was ranked eighth from December 2-January 2, its highest ranking since February 13, 1998. The Mountaineers have been ranked in the Top 25 all season.

Rocking The Ranked -- The last time the Mountaineers defeated a ranked team was last weekend, with a 23-15 win over No.17 Penn State. WVU’s only other match with a Top 10 team this year was a 24-16 loss at No.6 Iowa State.

McMath Starts Roll In Vegas -- Tom McMath, who was unranked prior to the Las Vegas Invitational, beat the odds as he rolled through the 165 bracket at the tournament Nov.30-Dec.1. McMath defeated No.4 Chris Vitale of Lehigh 7-6 in the finals. He also notched a 5-4 win against No.8 Carl Fronhaufer of Pitt. It was McMath’s second tournament title this season as he was also the champion at the Navy Classic. The win vaulted McMath into the Top 10 in both na-tional polls, where he has been since(6th by AWN and 7th by Intermat).

Cunanan The Conquerer -- Shane Cunanan has already made an immediate impact since transferring from Oregon State to WVU. Cunanan, a 141-pound junior from Spokane, Wash., defeated No.2 Sean Gray of Virginia Tech and No.7 Aaron Holker of Iowa State in back-to-back weeks. For his efforts against Holker, Cunanan was named WVU’s athlete of the week and the EWL’s wrestler of the week.

The Return Of Greg Jones -- WVU has an uncanny history of great athletes with the name Greg Jones, but this year’s wrestling squad may have the finest of them all. Jones, a freshman from Slickville, Pa., went 23 straight matches (dating back to last season) before losing a match, falling one short of the record set by his brother Vertus in 1999-2000. His streak ended in a hard-fought 9-8 loss to No.2 Otto Olson of Michigan. Jones is currently ranked fourth in both major national polls, the highest of any Mountaineer this season.

Carr Can Go -- Senior Joe Carr has lofty expectations for himself this season and has started the season on track to accomplish all of his goals. A three-time NCAA qualifier, Carr is off to a 17-1 start this year. He was a champion at the WVU Open and the Navy Classic and finished runner-up at the Las Vegas Invitational. In Vegas he defeated No.7 Rocky Smart before fallling to No.1 Bryan Snyder in the finals. Carr has an 87-30 career record and ranks tied for 9th on WVU’s all-time top 10 wins list. Carr leads the team in wins (17), winning percentage (.944), and major decisions (6).

Strength In The Middle -- While talent abounds throughout the Mountaineer line-up, the middle weight classes are proving to be a major strength of the squad. Through classes 141-174, the WVU starters are a combined 78-14 with a winning percentage of .848. Last week against Penn State, the group went 5-0 and scored 17 dual meet points, which included two major decisions. Today’s opponent, Ohio State, is also strong in those weight classes. OSU is a combined 70-25 with a winning percentage of .737 at those weights.

Terrific Tournaments -- Perhaps one of the major reasons WVU has jumped in the polls is because of the team’s success in tourna-ments. The Mountaineers recorded a second-place finish at the Navy Classic on Nov. 17, which included the crowning of six individual champions (Brandon Lauer, Billy Smith, Joe Carr, Tom McMath, Greg Jones and Brent Miller). WVU was equally as impressive at the Las Vegas Invitational, where the team added another strong second-place finish behind fourth-ranked Michigan and in front of nationally-ranked teams Lehigh, Pitt, Arizona State, Edinboro, Nebraska, Oregon State and Fresno State. McMath finished first, while Smith and Carr took second place at the tournament. Jones suffered a tough loss in the semi-finals but rebounded for third place. Lauer recorded two pins and two technical falls before falling in the semi-finals.

Back On The Mat -- Several prominent Mountaineers are returning to the mat this year after suffering season-ending injuries last season. Brandon Lauer and Greg Jones both saw some action as true freshmen last year before injuring shoulders. Junior Billy Smith went down with an ACL injury before the 2000-01 season started while junior Tom McMath suffered a neck injury late in the year. Senior heavyweight Ryan Kehler suffered a hand injury earlier this season and missed two early season tournaments but has been in action since Nov. 25 at Iowa State.

Up Next For The Mountaineers -- The Mountaineers return home Sunday, January 20 for a double-dual meet with Bloomsburg and No.16 Nebraska. WVU will take on Bloomsburg at 1 p.m. and then face the Cornhuskers at 4:30 p.m.

Loaded Schedule -- The Mountaineers have put together one of the most difficult schedules in the country. According to the January 8 poll, seven Mountaineer dual opponents are ranked among the nation’s Top 25. Today’s opponent, Ohio State, is ranked seventh in the nation.

Head Of The Class -- Head coach Craig Turnbull notched his second consecutive top-15 recruiting class prior to this season. West Virginia’s 2001 wrestling recruiting class was ranked 13th in the nation by

The Mountaineers landed four wrestlers who were rated among the top 20 in the nation in their respective weight classes. Ricky LaForge of Indian Hills High in Oakland, N.J., was tabbed as the fourth-best prospect in the nation at 125 pounds, Matt Lebe of Jeanette High in Jeanette, Pa., was rated as the seventh-best wrestler at 160 pounds, Nathan Kendjorsky of Buckeye Local in Yorkville, Ohio, was ranked as the 11th-best prospect at 112 pounds, and Seth Lisa of Northampton High in Northampton, Pa., was considered the 16th-best wrestler in the nation at 130 pounds.

World Championship Connection -- The 2001 World Championships had a West Virginia flavor to it this year. Former WVU wrestler Dominic Black and current Mountaineer assistant coach Zeke Jones took part in the World Wrestling Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria, Nov. 22-25.

Black, who wrestled at WVU from 1988-1991, competed in the championships as the No.1 rated wrestler in the United States at 97-kg. Jones, who assumed the role of head coach of the team when Mark Manning decided to resign the post to attend to his duties at Nebraska, led two athletes to a top-10 finish and two others to medals. The team finished in fifth place with 28 points.

When West Virginia wrestles this season...
- at home: 1-0
- on the road: 1-1
- against ranked teams: 1-1
- against non-ranked teams: 1-0
- against EWL opponents: 1-0
- against non-conference opponents: 1-1
- against the Big Ten: 1-0

WVU All-Time Win Leaders
1. Jim Akerly ................ 119-39-4
Scott Collins ............ 119-28-3
3. Dominic Black .......... 105-36-2
4. Dean Morrison .......... 103-32-2
5. Mike Mason ............. 100-24-0
6. Vertus Jones .............. 95-21-0
7. Whitey Chlebove ........ 93-39-0
8. Jeff Spinetti ................ 88-41-9
9. John Koss .................. 87-30-0
Joe Carr .................... 87-30-0
10. Gordon Taylor ............. 86-32-3

WVU Career Pin Leaders
1. Mark Cagle ................. 24
2. Matt Blair ........... 22
Sean Hage ................. 22
4. Whitey Chlebove......... 21
5. Scott Collins ............... 20
Ryan Kehler .............. 19

2001-02 Team Leaders
1. Joe Carr .............. 17
2. Greg Jones .......... 16
Tom McMath ....... 16
4. Shane Cunanan ............ 15

1. Brandon Lauer ................ 3
Shane Cunanan .............. 3
Ryan Wilman ................. 3

Major Decisions
1. Joe Carr ................ 6
2. Greg Jones ............ 5
3. Shane Cunanan .............. 4

Dual Meet Points
1. Joe Carr .............. 12
2. Greg Jones .......... 12
3. Shane Cunanan ... 11

EWL Standings
Team EWL/Overall

1. Edinboro .......... 2-0/6-0
2. Lock Haven............. 1-0/10-1
3. Pitt ................... 1-0/3-1
4. West Virginia ........... 1-0/2-1
5. Virginia Tech ............. 1-2/2-3
6. Clarion ...................... 0-1/2-7
7. Cleveland State ........ 0-1/1-2
8. Bloomsburg .............. 0-2/0-2

EWL Wrestlers of the Week
11/11/01 -- Dave Hoffman (VT)
11/18/01 -- Gerald Harris (CSU)
11/25/01 -- Shane Cunanan (WVU)
12/2/01 -- Rad Martinez (CU)
12/9/01 -- Dom Surra (CU)
12/16/01 -- JaMarr Billman (LHU)

This Week in the EWL
Jan. 11 -- Lock Haven @ Clarion
Jan. 11 -- Bloomsburg @ Edinboro
Jan. 11-12 -- Virginia Tech and Pitt @ Virginia Duals
Jan. 12 -- Clarion @ Buffalo
Jan. 12 -- Ohio State @ Cleveland State

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