Johnston, Rogers Lead WVU in Close Defeat

By Ira Green WVU Sports Information Office

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (January 9, 2009) – In a hard fought battle against No. 7 Illinois, the West Virginia wrestling team dropped a close 26-19 decision on Friday evening at the WVU Coliseum.

"When you wrestle a match like we did against Lehigh (last week), you only have one direction to go," Coach Craig Turnbull said. “It's really important to see after that character-check, gut-check, how the team responds. They know too that it wasn't acceptable. Every once in a while, if you have good character on the team, lessons learned can be very valuable to them and I think it was. We had good practices and they were very intent when they went on the mat today."

WVU (2-3, 0-0) earned its first points of the match at 141 pounds, which seemingly sparked the Mountaineers. Freshman Colin Johnston started the first period as the aggressor, going right after Illinois’ Ryan Prater and notching two takedown points to go up 2-0. Prater, however, countered with a reversal, tying the match at two a piece. Johnston had the choice to start the second period, but deferred, then Prater chose the defensive position. Johnston rode Prater and was able to flip him on his back earned the win via fall at the 4:54 mark.

Fifth-year senior David Jauregui’s match at 149 pounds against Illinois’ Eric Terrazas was the next bout on the schedule. Jauregui, ranked No. 20 in the nation, carried over his success from the Lehigh match. The Santa Ana, Calif., native posted two takedowns in the first session and another in the second period to lead 6-3 after two session. In the third, it was all Jauregui. After earning an escape point to go up 7-3, Jauregui registered three more takedowns en route to a 15-5 major decision, cutting Illinois’ lead to two, 12-10.

WVU dropped the next two matches, but fifth-year senior Kurt Brenner halted the slide at 174 pounds. Ranked 13th in the nation, Brenner and Illinois’ John Dergo went through the first period scoreless. Despite giving up an escape point to Dergo to start the second period, Brenner scored the first offensive points of the match with a takedown to go ahead, 2-1. In the third, Brenner ran away with the match, posting five points (one escape, one reversal and one takedown) to notch the 7-4 decision.

The dual match continued to excite the crowd with freshman Lance Bryson and No. 15-ranked Jordan Blanton’s bout at 184 pounds. Blanton recorded a takedown, but Bryson was able to escape and keep the match close. Illinois’ Blanton earned his third point of the match with an escape to go up 3-1 heading into the third session. This time, Bryson came out firing. After getting an escape to be down just 3-2, he took several shots at Blanton before finally earning a stalling point right before the end of the period, tying the match at three apiece. Blanton, however, quickly picked up two takedown points in the first overtime session for the 5-3 decision.

At heavyweight, fifth-year senior Dustin Rogers was slated to face John Wise, ranked No. 10 in the nation prior to the match. Rogers, who dropped out of the rankings after the Lehigh match, seemed determined to jump back into the Top 20.

As soon as the whistle blew, Rogers locked in and took several shots and was able to earn a takedown to go up 2-0. Although Wise broke out and earned an escape point, Rogers continued to fight and go after Wise. Wise, who had the choice to start the second period, chose the defensive position, which ultimately proved to be a bad decision. Rogers rode Wise the entire second period, getting him on his back a couple of times before finally getting the pin at the 4:25 mark. The victory marked Rogers’ third over a ranked opponent.

"It was definitely encouraging. You have to be careful and not be too happy with a loss, but you have to be realistic, too,” Turnbull commented. “I appreciated the effort. You don't always necessarily have control over the win, but you always have control over your effort, discipline and your approach toward the mat and in practice. I thought, for the most part, we had a very positive approach and we wrestled hard."

Illinois betters its record to 6-0 with the victory. The bout was the Fighting Illini’s closest dual meet victory this season, despite WVU conceding six points via forfeit at the 125-pound slot.

The Mountaineers return to action on Jan. 17 with a match against Big Ten foe Michigan State. The match is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. at the WVU Coliseum.
Illinois 26 WVU 19
125: B.J. Futrell (ILL) WBF
133: #3 Jimmy Kennedy (ILL) FALL Tyler Oravec (WVU), 1:16
141: Colin Johnston (WVU) FALL Ryan Prater (ILL), 4:54
149: No. 20 David Jauregui (WVU) MAJOR Eric Terrazas (ILL), 15-5
157: Mike Poeta (ILL) TECH FALL Ryan Goodman (WVU), 20-4 (5:17)
165: No. 11 Roger Smith-Bergsrud (ILL) DEC Donnie Jones (WVU), 3-2
174: No. 13 Kurt Brenner (WVU) DEC John Dergo (ILL), 7-4
184: No. 15 Jordan Blanton (ILL) DEC Lance Bryson (WVU), 5-3 t.b.
197: Patrick Bond (ILL) DEC Brandon Boyer (WVU), 11-5
285: Dustin Rogers (WVU) FALL No. 10 John Wise (ILL), 4:25

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