WVU Wrestling Picks Up Pair of Victories

By Ira Green
WVU Sports Information Office

VESTAL, N.Y. (November 23, 2008) – The West Virginia University wrestling team picked up a pair of victories at the “Sprawl & Brawl” dual meets on Sunday afternoon at West Gym in Binghamton University. The Mountaineers defeated Columbia, 22-15, in the first match of the day and then put together an impressive performance to knock off North Carolina, 21-11.

"I thought it was a good beginning for us on the dual meet season,” Coach Craig Turnbull said. “It was two very hard fought dual meets, but we were able to come out on top. I felt that way especially with the North Carolina match, where we were able to win all the close matches to be able to split the score. We seemed to outfight them in critical moments. At the beginning of the year, I felt this was very good for our development.”

Against Columbia, the Mountaineers came from behind and reeled off six straight victories. Redshirt-sophomore Tyler Oravec started the streak at 133 pounds. After totaling five takedowns against Kevin Tao, Oravec took an 11-7 decision. Freshman Colin Johnston won the next match at 141 pounds, defeating Shane Strumwasser, 6-0, tying the match at six apiece.

Fifth-year senior David Jauregui put the Mountaineers ahead, 9-6, after posting an 11-7 win against Matt Dunn. Jauregui totaled seven points in the third period to move to 1-0 on the year. The fourth-straight win came from redshirt-freshman Mark Tsikerdanos. In a close 5-4 decision, Tsikerdanos scored a takedown in the first period and then scored two more points to take the win against Derek Sickles and increase WVU’s lead, 12-6.

Redshirt-freshman Christian Mory and fifth-year senior Kurt Brenner posted back-to-back victories, putting the match out of reach. After leading 4-2 at 165 pounds, Mory win via injury default at the 2:02 mark against Jon Weibel.

At 174 pounds, Brenner scored eight points in the first period and went on to dominate Travis Creagen, 21-8. Brenner also scored eight points in the final period and totaled more than three minutes of riding time to notch the victory.

After having a bye in round two, the Mountaineers returned to the mats to face a difficult test in North Carolina. The Tar Heels came into the bout having three wrestlers ranked in the Top 20 nationally.

Fifth-year senior Kyle Turnbull started the Mountaineers with a 3-0 lead. After falling behind 3-2 through the first two periods, Turnbull made the most of the final period, scoring an escape and a takedown for the victory at 125 pounds.

Oravec continued the momentum, posting a 9-3 decision at 133 pounds. The New Kensington, Pa., native jumped out to a 4-1 lead and never looked back, scoring another four points in the final period.

Jauregui and Goodman won decisions at 149 and 157 pounds, respectively, putting WVU ahead, 12-4. Goodman scored a takedown in the first period, but North Carolina’s Thomas Ferguson kept the match close, scoring on an escape at the start of the second period after starting in the defensive position. Goodman would score later in the period on a takedown and then on an escape in the third session to take a 6-1 victory.

At 165 pounds, Mory faced Keegan Mueller, ranked No. 20 in the nation. Mueller earned a takedown in the first period, but had a difficult time earning anymore points for the rest of the match and only earned the third point from riding time.

“Mory, filling in at 165, did a great job,” Turnbull commented. “He won a really hard fought match in his first bout, and battled probably North Carolina's best wrestler in the second match. I thought there were quite a few individuals who gained a good deal out of today's competitions.”

Brenner posted his second victory of the day at 174 pounds. Despite falling behind 1-0 in the second period against Ben Fiacco, Brenner fought back and scored three points (one escape point and one takedown) in the final session.

Freshman Lance Bryson extended WVU’s lead to 11 points after scoring a 5-0 decision at 184 pounds against North Carolina’s Kevin Owens. After the two went scoreless in the first and second periods, Bryson scored on four points and earned a fifth after garnering more than two minutes of riding time.

Heavyweight Dustin Rogers’ match against No. 13 Justin Dobies, ranked No. 13 nationally, would prove to be an exciting one. Rogers notched the first points of the match on a takedown and would score on another one to lead 4-2 at the end of the first period. Dobies would pull within one after earning an escape point in the second period, but Rogers’ escape in the final period would put the bout out of reach.

“The day overall was good for Dustin as far as preparation,” Turnbull said. “The first match, he wrestled a nationally ranked opponent and he seemed to not take control of the match in some critical situations. In the second match, he was wrestling another nationally ranked opponent and he seemed to learn from the first match. His intensity and focus were better.”

The Mountaineers return to action on Dec. 5 at the prestigious Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational in Las Vegas, Nev. The event will take place at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
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