WVU Wrestling Travels to Michigan State

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (January 8, 2010) – For its third-straight dual meet, the West Virginia University wrestling team will face an opponent from the Big Ten Conference. The Mountaineers will travel to East Lansing, Mich., for a match against Michigan State on Saturday, Jan. 9. Action at the Jenison Field House will begin at 7 p.m. ET.

WVU (0-4, 0-0 EWL) is coming off a 29-9 loss to No. 12-ranked Indiana on Jan. 2 at the WVU Coliseum. Redshirt senior Brandon Rader (141) wrestled in his first dual meet since Jan. 3, 2008, and defeated Danny Monaco, 14-7, to earn his first victory of the year. Sophomore Colin Johnston improved his overall record at 133 pounds to 15-1 by scoring an 8-2 decision over Matt Ortega. The Mountaineers’ other win came via Matt Ryan at 184 pounds, who defeated Eric Cameron, 7-4.

In the latest InterMat rankings, each of the three holds a spot in the Top 20 at their respective weight classes. A Parkersburg, W.Va., native, Rader holds the highest mark at No. 11. Johnston and Ryan, both Eighty-Four, Pa., natives, are ranked 17th and 18th, respectively.

Johnston leads the team in wins (15), having won his last five matches. Redshirt senior Donnie Jones is second on the team, with a 12-7 mark, followed by Ryan, who has 11 wins this year. Jones holds the top spot on the team in takedowns with 35.

Michigan State owns a 3-1 overall record entering Saturday’s match. The Spartans last competed at the Midlands Championships Dec. 29-30 and finished 14th as a team. David Cheza was the lone placewinner, as he took eighth at 149 pounds after going 3-1 at the event.

MSU won its last dual meet, beating Eastern Michigan 26-9 on Dec. 3. The Spartans won eight bouts, including two by bonus decision.

The Spartans have two wrestlers ranked in the Top 20. Franklin Gomez, who is 8-0, is No. 1 at 133 pounds, and Cheza, who’s 11-7, is ranked 14th at 149 pounds.

The squad is under the guidance of Tom Minkel, who is in his 18th season with the program and holds a 137-163-3 overall mark. The Spartans finished in 11th at the Big Ten Championships and 25th at the NCAA Championships, courtesy of Gomez’s 133-pound national title.

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