WVU’s Rader Wins in Season Debut

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (January 2, 2010) – The West Virginia University wrestling team won two of the first three matches Saturday afternoon, but ended up falling to 12th-ranked Indiana, 29-9, at the WVU Coliseum.

The highlight of the day for the Mountaineers (0-4) was redshirt senior Brandon Rader. It was nearly two years ago to the day (Jan. 3, 2008) that the Parkersburg, W.Va., native re-injured his knee and was forced to miss the 2007-08 season. After spending time working to get back, the 141-pounder made his season debut against the Hoosiers’ Danny Monaco.

Rader went on the attack at the start of the match and recorded back-to-back-to-back takedowns. Although Monaco earned a reversal and a penalty point at the end of the first period and tacked on an escape in the second, Rader returned to form in the third. After slithering out of the down position, Rader notched two more takedowns plus a two-point near fall in the third. With 2:31 in riding time, he garnered his first victory of the year.

“It felt good,” Rader says on earning the win. “Being off for a long time, it's good to get that competitive edge back. If anyone has ever seen me wrestle, they know I'm pretty aggressive from the get-go. My intensity was down after the first few seconds because I was cramping up, but overall, I have to get better. I just have to work on things in the room and get my intensity back up.”

"Brandon Rader coming back - it's really been about two-and-a-half years since he's competed,” Turnbull added. It's also been that long since he's made 141 pounds. He didn't weigh in until right at the buzzer. He was probably at about 20 percent of a gas tank out there. Whatever experience he has paid off. He stayed within himself, picked moments to score and won a match in a tough situation.”

WVU’s Shane Young opened the dual match at 125 pounds with a difficult test in No. 2-ranked and 2008 national champion Angel Escobedo. A freshman, Young came out aggressively and nearly scored the first takedown on the edge of the mat, but could not keep Escobedo inbounds for the score. Moments later, Escobedo was on the attack and was able to score the takedown. After Young escaped, the two spent most of the period hand fighting and working collar ties. With just seconds remaining in the first, Young again was on the verge of recording a takedown, but could not finish it before the buzzer. Escobedo tacked on three points in the second period and then had three takedowns in the third for the victory.

"You've got a fifth-year senior who's won an NCAA Championship. (Shane) was inches away from finishing two different takedowns. His approach is really good,” coach Craig Turnbull says of Young. “He just wants to go out there and battle. There are some things at this level that he's going to want to shoot a lot and guys are going to want to run around him. He has to be able to work off of his feet and get off the bottom. His approach and willingness to battle is going to take him a long way. I thought that match was really encouraging."

The Mountaineers earned their first team points at 133 pounds compliments of sophomore Colin Johnston. Despite Johnston and IU’s Matt Ortega finishing the opening period scoreless, Johnston came out scoring in the second. After earning an escape point just a second into the frame, Johnston got in on a leg and scored the match’s first takedown. Moments later, he nearly flipped Ortega, but came away with a two-point near fall. After Ortega broke loose, Johnston again got in on a single and finished the takedown on a double-leg. With 1:22 in riding time, Johnston scored an 8-2 decision to improve to 15-1 on the season, including a 4-0 mark in dual action.

"Colin Johnston continues to build his confidence,” Turnbull says. “If we can continue to do that, I think he's someone who can work himself into placing at the national tournament this year. He's wrestling with more confidence. He's executing better. The weight class has given him more confidence."

WVU was forced a difficult hand at 157 and 174 pounds, as Kyle Eason was a last-second replacement at 157 pounds for Ryan Goodman, while redshirt sophomore Christian Mory competed in place of Chance Litton, who was dismissed from the team.

"A decision was made that Chance did not meet the program's minimum standards to be a member of the team and he will no longer be in the program," Turnbull says.

Redshirt sophomore Matt Ryan, ranked No. 19, earned WVU its third victory of the day at 184 pounds. An Eighty-Four, Pa., native, Ryan scored a takedown only seconds into the first period and then tacked on a three-point near fall. After a scoreless second, Ryan tacked on two more points in the third for his 11th victory of the season.

WVU returns to action on Saturday, Jan. 9, at Michigan State. Action at Jenison Field House is set for 7 p.m.

No. 12 Indiana 29, WVU 9
125: #2 Angel Escobedo (IU) major dec. Shane Young (WVU), 12-4
133: Colin Johnston (WVU) dec. Matt Ortega (IU), 8-2
141: Brandon Rader (WVU) dec. Daniel Monaco (IU), 14-7
149: Matt Coughlin (IU) major dec. Brandon Loro (WVU), 14-4
157: #12 Kurt Kinser (IU) major dec. Kyle Eason (WVU), 16-4
165: #14 Paul Young (IU) pinned Donnie Jones (WVU), 1:55
174: Trevor Perry (IU) tech. fall Christian Mory (WVU), 21-6 (4:47)
184: #19 Matt Ryan (WVU) dec. Eric Cameron (IU), 7-4
197: Matt Powless (IU) dec. Kyle Rooney (WVU), 8-6
285: #6 Nate Everhart (IU) dec. Brandon Williamson (WVU), 6-0

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