Good Start to Season
By Daniel Whitehead for
November 06, 2010

MORGANTOWN, W. Va. – Traveling to the University of Maryland to compete at the Terrapin Duals in its earliest start in program history, the West Virginia University wrestling team finished with a 2-1 mark after defeating Liberty and Johns Hopkins but falling to the host Terrapins.

“I thought overall we gave a good effort today and learned a lot about ourselves,” says WVU coach Craig Turnbull. “We saw what kind of potential we have and where we would like to arrive at to achieve our goals. It was a good start to the season for us.”

In their first match, the Mountaineers beat Liberty, 24-12, after jumping to an early 13-0 lead. Sophomores Shane Young and Nathan Pennesi defeated their opponents by decision before true freshman Michael Morales beat the Flames’ Seth Hick

s by major decision. “(Nathan) Pennesi looked very good today and defeated his opponent in the final 10 seconds of the match,” Turnbull says. “Against Liberty, we took charge and learned that everyone needs to show up to every match.”

Having been granted sixth years of eligibility, redshirt seniors Brandon Rader and Donnie Jones beat their opponents while juniors Matt Ryan and Kyle Rooney also picked up points for the team to extend the lead to 24-9.

“It was important for (Brandon) Rader to get that win early on because he was a bit nervous to compete having not wrestled healthily for three years,” Turnbull says. “He got more and more comfortable in each match and played well for us.”

Roughly two hours later, WVU faced off against the host Terrapins and were defeated, 27-13, despite strong showings from several grapplers. Pennesi defeated Maryland’s Joey Boone by decision, 5-4, to even the team scores at 3-3 early in the match.

Rader then managed to pin his opponent, Justin Cash, just 1:11 into the bout to allow the Mountaineers to grab a 9-6 lead. After the Terps defeated three Mountaineers by a pin and two major decisions, WVU’s Matt Ryan earned a major decision victory over Corey Peltier by a score of 11-2 to trim the Maryland lead to 20-13.

However, Mountaineers Kyle Rooney and newcomer heavyweight Philip Mandzik were defeated to allow the Terrapins the team victory. Jones was given the difficult task of taking on No. 5 Josh Asper, while WVU’s 174-lb starting wrestler, Matt Weston, faced No. 11 Mike Letts in the meet.

“Being early in the season, we saw things that we liked but more importantly things we can work to improve on,” Turnbull says. “There are things we can change later on and we’ll take back everything we’ve learned and will be better because of it. With experience, we will win the close matches that come down to 3-4 wrestlers to give us the points we need.”

In its last match of the day, the Mountaineers took on Johns Hopkins and earned a victory in dominating fashion, 38-3, to improve its mark to 2-1 for the day and early season. WVU recorded wins in every matchup against the Blue Jays except the heavyweight division as Jones and Cameron Gallagher earned victories by pin, Young and Ryan by tech falls and the remaining WVU grapplers by decision.

Morales did earn a major decision victory over Johns Hopkins’ Matt Nelson in the match.

Maryland and Liberty went 3-1 in the tourney while Johns Hopkins and McDaniel went 0-3 and 0-2, respectively. Liberty went on to beat Maryland after WVU had defeated Liberty and fallen to the Terrapins.

WVU will take the week to evaluate film and practice before returning to action next Saturday, Nov. 13, at the Washington and Jefferson College Open in Washington, Pa.

West Virginia 24, Liberty 12
125- Shane Young (WVU) dec. Robert Jilliard, 9-3. (3-0)
133- Nathan Pennesi (WVU) dec. Joe Pantaleo, 7-3. (6-0)
141- Michael Morales (WVU) major dec. Seth Hicks, 11-0. (10-0)
149- Brandon Rader (WVU) dec. Scott Clymer, 7-5. (13-0)
157- Julian Colon (Liberty) dec. Ryan Goodman, 11-8. (13-3)
165- Donnie Jones (WVU) major dec. Eli Sanchez, 15-6. (17-3)
174- Royal Brettager II (Liberty) fall over Matt Weston, 1:22. (17-9)
184- Matt Ryan (WVU) dec. Adam Kelley, 11-4. (20-9)
197- Kyle Rooney (WVU) major dec. Aaron Thompson, 9-0. (24-9)
HWT- Josh Pelletier (Liberty) dec. Philip Mandzik, 4-0. (24-12)

Maryland 27, West Virginia 13
125- Shane Gentry (MD) dec. Shane Young, 5-3 (3-0)
133- Nathan Pennesi (WVU) dec. Joey Boone, 5-4 (3-3)
141- Jon Kohler (MD) dec. Michael Morales, 5-3 (6-3)
149- Brandon Rader (WVU) fall over Justin Cash, 1:11 (6-9)
157- Kyle John (MD) fall over Ryan Goodman, 4:06 (12-9)
165- Josh Asper (MD) major dec. Donnie Jones, 15-5 (16-9)
174- Mike Letts (MD) major dec. Matt Weston, 16-4 (20-9)
184- Matt Ryan (WVU) major dec. Corey Peltier, 11-2 (20-13)
197- Christian Boley (MD) dec. Kyle Rooney, 12-10 (23-13)
HWT- Spencer Myers (MD) major dec. Philip Mandzik, 10-0 (27-13)

West Virginia 38, Johns Hopkins 3
125- Shane Young (WVU) tech fall over Ray Yahloski, 16-0, :58. (5-0)
133- Nathan Pennesi (WVU) dec. Paul Marcell, 7-0 (8-0)
141- Michael Morales (WVU) maj dec. Matt Nelson, 11-0 (12-0)
149- Brandon Rader (WVU) dec. Rocky Barilla, 10-4 (15-0)
157- Ryan Goodman (WVU) dec. Jody Gowen, 7-1. (18-0)
165- Donnie Jones (WVU) fall over Robbie Nedbor-Gross, 1:12. (24-0)
174- Matt Weston (WVU) dec. Dylan Meade, 10-7. (27-0)
184- Matt Ryan (WVU) tech. fall over Ben Finelli, 15-0, 0:15. (32-0)
197- Cameron Gallaher (WVU) fall over Reid Mosquera, :17. (38-0)
HWT- Rick Danilkowicz (JH) dec. Philip Mandzik, 3-0 (38-3)

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