WVU Welcomes No. 14 Penn State

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (December 10, 2009) – In its first home dual meet of the season, the West Virginia University wrestling team will play host to 14th-ranked Penn State on Friday, Dec. 11, at the WVU Coliseum. Action is set to begin at 8 p.m.

Fans attending the match can pick up a free 2009 WVU wrestling poster, featuring redshirt seniors Brandon Rader, Donnie Jones and Chance Litton and redshirt sophomore Ryan Goodman. Admission to the match is free for WVU students with a valid student ID.

“Penn State truly is one of the premier programs in the country,” coach Craig Turnbull says. “They consistently have been one of the top programs in the East. It's a special team to compete against. Their fans are knowledgeable and come from good distances to support them.

“You have to bring your best to come out on top. They have a mixture of some seasoned and nationally ranked guys and some younger guys. It could go anywhere from us wrestling very well to come away with a team win to where it could get lopsided. It really stresses us to bring our best performance out. I think our team needs that. I'm interested to see how they rise up.”

WVU (0-2, 0-0 EWL) is returning to action after competing at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational on Dec. 4-5. Redshirt sophomore Matt Ryan, ranked No. 19 at 184 pounds, led the pack with five victories. Ryan, who earned sixth place at his respective weight class, won three matches by fall. Goodman (157), Jones (165) and junior Brandon Williamson (HWT) all won two matches apiece at their respective weight class.

The Mountaineers last wrestled in a dual meet at the ‘Sprawl & Brawl’ duals on Nov. 22, as the squad faced Wyoming and then-No. 17-ranked Illinois. Wyoming squeaked by with a 19-18 victory, and Illinois took a 23-15 victory.

Sophomore Colin Johnston (133), who is 7-0 this season, won both of his bouts. Litton (174) and Williamson also won each of their matches in the two dual meets.

“Colin Johnston at 133 is a much better weight class and he's more confident there,” Turnbull adds. “That's a good change. Having a year under his belt, he can step up a level at that weight class. That Vegas tournament for Matt Ryan - those are experiences that really help make a season and a career. You can believe that you can wrestle at the national level, but until you really experience it, there are still levels of doubt. He wrestled at a level that he needs to and he has an opportunity to place at a national tournament. He can build upon that. It definitely raised his confidence.”

Penn State, which has six wrestlers ranked in the Top 20, enters Friday’s match with a 4-1 overall mark. The team played host to the Nittany Lion Open on Dec. 6, with three wrestlers earning titles – Frank Molinaro (149), Cyler Sanderson (157) and David Erwin (184).

The Nittany Lions, who also competed at the ‘Sprawl & Brawl’ duals in Vestal, N.Y., won each of their three matches, defeating Rutgers (18-17), Harvard (36-6) and No. 15 Edinboro (22-9).

Penn State is led by first-year coach Cael Sanderson, who coached at Iowa State for three seasons and amassed a 44-10 mark during his tenure. The team finished 17th at the NCAA Championships and returns eight of its starters from a season ago.

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