WVU’s Williamson, Rooney Earn Upset Victories

By Ira Green
WVU Sports Information Office

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (February 9, 2010) – In back-to-back matches, juniors Kyle Rooney and Brandon Williamson scored upset victories at their respective weights, but the late wins were not enough, as the West Virginia University wrestling team fell to 18th-ranked Pitt, 19-15, Tuesday night at the WVU Coliseum.

At 197 pounds, Rooney began the bout with a quick double-leg takedown for a 2-0 lead over 19th-ranked Matt Wilps. The Pitt wrestler was able to break free for the escape point and then tied the score at two apiece in the second session on an escape. Rooney, however, took the 3-2 advantage in the final session and then scored on a takedown in the final moments of the match for the 5-2 upset victory. The win was Rooney’s third straight, as he improved to 8-10 overall, 3-1 in Eastern Wrestling League (EWL) action.

Williamson, next up for the Mountaineers (2-8, 2-2 EWL), had a difficult test in Ryan Tomei, ranked sixth nationally at heavyweight. Tomei entered the match with a 14-1 record, including a victory over 2009 national champion Mark Ellis of Missouri. Williamson and Tomei finished the first period scoreless, but the second period was a different story. Tomei elected the defensive position and Williamson was able to roll him on his back for a two-point near fall. Tomei finally escaped, but did not register any points and remained behind, 2-1. Both wrestlers had their share of shots in the third, but neither was able to finish and Williamson posted a 2-1 decision, his fourth-straight win. The Riverside, Conn., native improved to 13-6 overall and a perfect 4-0 against league competition.

“We really did feel at heavyweight that we're unranked because we went in a hole for a little bit, when he lost a couple of matches in a row,” coach Craig Turnbull says. “He's wrestling with more confidence. We had an opportunity if he showed up and relaxed a little bit and he did. That's huge for him. That win at this time of the year is really critical for him and could change the whole ending of the season.”

WVU, which split the bouts with Pitt (15-1-1, 4-0 EWL), also received victories from sophomore Colin Johnston, senior Mike Rowe and redshirt senior Donnie Jones.

Of the bouts the Mountaineers lost, three were decided by two points apiece or less.

Ranked 18th nationally at 133 pounds, Johnston notched two first period takedowns and had an escape in the third for the 5-3 victory. With his fourth-straight win, he improved to 19-3 overall, 4-0 in league action. Johnston needs two more victories to tie Whitey Chlebove for fifth-most wins in a single season by a WVU 126/133-pounder.

Rowe, who was honored prior to the match on “Senior Night,” also scored a victory for the Mountaineers. Pitt’s Eric Albright opened the scoring in the second on an escape, but Rowe notched a takedown to go ahead 2-1 in the second. In the third, Albright re-took the lead, 3-2, on a takedown. An escape was all Rowe needed, though, as he accumulated 1:15 in riding time and earned a 4-3 decision.

Jones continued his tear from a match ago, cruising to a 10-3 victory at 165 pounds over Pitt’s Adam Counterman. The Slickville, Pa., native got off to a quick start, racking up six points in the opening period. Jones tallied four more points in the third and was two seconds away from earning the riding time point.

“This is the best chance Pitt has ever had at winning a league title, and we took them right there to beat them,” Turnbull adds. “We needed to win a couple close matches that were really in our hands, one at 125, 157 and 174. Our guys are really getting better, and it's going to make our program better. The lack of match experience hurt Kyle (Eason), that when you have that much in control, once the referee says 'two,' you just turn to your belly and work for your escape. To give the extra two changed the whole complexion of the match. I am pleased with their effort and performance, but it's just frustrating to not take one, maybe two extra point matches.”

Freshman Shane Young had a promising start at 125 pounds against 19th-ranked Anthony Zanetta and was moments away from also earning a win over a ranked opponent. Young took an early 2-0 lead, but Zanetta earned an escape to cut the deficit in half. Young, however, was awarded a penalty point to go up 3-1 before Zanetta crept back in with a second-period escape. Despite Young furthering his lead with an escape to open the third period, Zanetta scored a takedown and was able to accumulate 1:08 in riding time for the 5-4 decision.

The Mountaineers break from league action with a match at Ohio on Sunday, Feb. 14. The contest, which will take place in Saint Clairsville, Ohio, begins at 3 p.m. ET.

#18 Pitt 19 WVU 15
125: #19 Anthony Zanetta (PITT) dec. Shane Young (WVU), 5-4
133: #18 Colin Johnston (WVU) dec. Jimmy Conroy (PITT), 5-3
141: #18 Tyler Nauman (PITT) pinned Ryan Romano (WVU), 2:30
149: Mike Rowe (WVU) dec. Eric Albright (PITT), 4-3
157: Donnie Tasser (PITT) dec. Kyle Eason (WVU), 4-2
165: Donnie Jones (WVU) dec. Adam Counterman (PITT), 10-3
174: David Sullivan (PITT) dec. Matt Weston (WVU), 2-1
184: Zac Thomusseit (PITT) major dec. Rob DeSano (WVU), 10-2
197: Kyle Rooney (WVU) dec. #19 Matt Wilps (PITT), 5-2
HWT: Brandon Williamson (WVU) dec. #6 Ryan Tomei (PITT), 2-1

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