Back-to-Back Wins Guide WVU Wrestling to Victory

By Ira Green
WVU Sports Information Office

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (January 24, 2010) – Back-to-back wins from juniors Kyle Rooney and Brandon Williamson helped the Mountaineers overcome a six-point deficit and led the West Virginia University wrestling team to a 21-18 victory over Eastern Wrestling League foe Bloomsburg Sunday evening at the WVU Coliseum.

Rooney started his match at 197 pounds against Bloomsburg’s Brian Shaw with the Mountaineers down 18-12 in the team score. After a scoreless first period, the Cincinnati, Ohio, native opened the second with an escape to go ahead 1-0. The two worked collar ties and had their share of shots, but neither was able to capitalize. In the third, Shaw tied the score at one apiece on an escape after choosing the down position. With less than 15 seconds remaining in regulation, Rooney got in on a low single near the edge of the mat and finished the takedown for the 3-1 victory, bringing the crowd of 307 to its feet.

“Rooney took one that he really needed to get, knowing that he was carrying the team on his back,” coach Craig Turnbull says. “It was hard fought, and they were evenly matched. He initiated hard and got awarded for it.”

Down by just three now, 18-15, Williamson squared off against Zac Walsh at heavyweight. Williamson wasted little time, scoring on single less than 10 seconds into the match. While riding Walsh, Williamson was able to get a wing and roll Walsh onto his back for a three-point near fall. Remaining in control, Williamson slowly turned Walsh onto his back again, this time getting both of Walsh’s shoulders square on the mat for the pin at the 1:43 mark for the individual and team victory.

“Williamson, at heavyweight - he's really had a tough patch for a while. He came from a junior college and had a softer schedule,” Turnbull comments. “He's used to getting his hand raised all the time. Coming into a Division I schedule, where he lost a few in a row to nationally ranked opponents, it didn't register and it bothered him emotionally.

“The win Friday with Clarion brought him up a little bit, and I was concerned. Now he's going out with a whole match for the first time really on his shoulders, and he responded greatly. That should really raise him up to where he can battle the rest of the season.”

It’s the second-straight time the Mountaineers (1-7, 1-1 EWL) sealed a win over the Huskies (8-6, 0-2 EWL) with a victory at heavyweight. Last year, former Mountaineer Dustin Rogers’ 8-1 decision over Walsh delivered a 19-16 victory to WVU.

WVU opened the dual to its likening just as it did against Clarion.

Freshman Shane Young tallied a quick six points for the home team. After earning a takedown just moments into the 125-pound bout, Young was able to slip an arm underneath James Bak’s and roll Bak onto his back for the pin at 1:47. Young has won his last four matches and improved to 11-5 on the season, 4-2 in duals.

At 133 pounds, Colin Johnston cruised to victory. Ranked 18th by InterMat, the Eighty-Four, Pa., native took a 2-1 lead over Dan Gaylord into the third period with more than two minutes of riding time. Following an escape, Johnston registered consecutive takedowns, and with his 4:04 in riding time, posted an 8-3 decision for his 17th win of the year.

Next up for WVU was Anthony Curcio, who entered the season competing for the 125-pound position. Inserted at 141 pounds for the third time this season, Curcio’s strength was on full display. After a takedown by Bloomsburg’s Jason Guffey, the match was stopped for injury time for Curcio. The WVU freshman quickly rebounded, earning an escape and then registered a takedown for the 3-2 lead. Curcio tacked on a three-point near fall in the second and an escape in the third for the 7-5 win.

Appearing in just his second match in nearly two years, senior Mike Rowe’s (149) match with Josh Roosa went into three extra sessions. Tied at four apiece, neither scored in the sudden victory. In the first tiebreaker, Roosa escaped from the down position and then scored on a takedown, to go up 7-4. Rowe, however, recorded a reversal to close the gap, 7-6. However, in the second tiebreaker, Rowe could not break free from Roosa’s grasp and ultimately fell, 7-6.

After a loss at 157 pounds, redshirt senior Donnie Jones squared off against 12th-ranked Rick Schmelyun, who Jones defeated last season. Schmelyun opened the match with 5-0 lead in the first, courtesy of a takedown and a three-point near fall. Schmelyun went up 7-0 before Jones came alive, catching a reversal and nearly earning back points. After an escape Schmelyun, was up 8-2, but Jones’ athleticism carried him to consecutive takedowns to close the gap. Although Jones was awarded a penalty point, it was not enough for the upset, as Schmelyun won 11-7.

Redshirt sophomore Matt Weston also had a close battle. Up 2-0 on Nate Graham, the match was knotted following a penalty point and escape by Graham. Weston took the lead on an escape in the third, but a takedown by Graham with just seconds remaining won the match, as Weston fell, 4-3.

The Mountaineers return to action with league opponent Lock Haven on Sunday, Jan. 31. Start time at the WVU Coliseum is set for 1 p.m.

WVU 21 Bloomsburg 18
125: Shane Young (WVU) pinned James Bak (BLM), 1:47
133: #18 Colin Johnston (WVU) dec. Dan Gaylord (BLM), 8-3
141: Anthony Curcio (WVU) dec. Jason Guffey (BLM), 7-5
149: Josh Roosa (BLM) dec. Mike Rowe (WVU), 7-6 (tb-2)
157: #9 Matt Moley (BLM) pinned Kyle Eason (WVU), 6:32
165: #12 Rick Schmelyun (BLM) dec. Donnie Jones (WVU), 11-7
174: Nate Graham (BLM) dec. Matt Weston (WVU), 4-3
184: Derek Coffey (BLM) dec. Rob DeSano (WVU), 9-3
197: Kyle Rooney (WVU) dec. Brian Shaw (BLM), 3-1
HWT: Brandon Williamson (WVU) pinned Zac Walsh (BLM), 1:43

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