Pennesi Advances in Las Vegas

By Daniel Whitehead
WVU Sports Information Office

December 04, 2010

MORGANTOWN, W. Va. – Competing against wrestlers from 12 of the nation’s top 25 ranked programs, the West Virginia University wrestling team proved their mettle as several Mountaineers advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2010 Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational Friday evening in Las Vegas.

Three Mountaineers made it to the quarterfinals as sophomore Shane Young (125 pounds), sophomore Nathan Pennesi (133), and redshirt junior Matt Ryan (184) earned two victories apiece in the opening three rounds of the tournament.

Pennesi will be the lone WVU grappler to represent the team in Saturday’s action as he will compete in the consolation bracket’s semifinal round in hopes of receiving placement in the championship bouts. The highlight of the day came when he defeated No. 8 Oregon State’s Kelly Kubec in the quarterfinals by major decision, 9-1.

“Nathan (Pennesi) has put a good day’s work in and will continue to compete tomorrow,” says WVU coach Craig Turnbull. “Nathan does a really good job of getting himself ready. He puts himself in a position to win because he gets himself ready so well and he goes hard. For so early in his career with just 10 matches in, it’s been very impressive how he rises to the occasion, respects his opponents and hopefully will advance far into this tournament.”

Young, a Jeannette, Pa. native, was defeated by tech fall to No. 3-ranked Anthony Robles of Arizona State, but responded with a decision win over Cal Poly’s Jacob Tanenbaum and then proceeded to pin Justin Brooks of Indiana in just 2:33. He was ultimately defeated by Navy’s Aaron Kalil in the quarterfinals by decision, 2-3.

At 133 pounds, Pennesi was also defeated by a tech fall by Hofstra’s No. 5 Lou Ruggirello in 5:44 to end his unbeaten streak of 10-0, but then earned two victories by tech fall of his own as he beat Brian Tharp of San Francisco in 6:47 and Cal Baptist’s Landon Saldana in 5:15 to reach the quarterfinals.

Ryan opened the tournament with a major decision victory over North Dakota State’s Ken Moenkedick (8-0), but then was pinned by Illinois’ Tony Dallago in 2:44. He then picked up a victory by fall over Columbia’s Nicholas Mills in 6:58. The Eighty-Four, Pa., native ended his tournament run after being defeated by Cal-State Fullerton’s Todd Noel in the quarterfinals by decision, 4-7.

“Matt (Ryan) had a good day and Shane (Young) had a good day,” Turnbull says.”It’s the same sentiment for everyone that this is a national-level tournament. We’re not quite where we want to be but this is going to help us get there.“

Redshirt senior Brandon Rader beat Duke’s Christopher Piccolella by major decision to open play before falling to No. 22 Eric Terrazas of Illinois and being pinned by Eric Grajales of Michigan. Ryan Goodman (157) and heavyweight Philip Mandzik also picked up victories before falling twice to their respective opponents and did not advance to the quarterfinals.

Michael Morales (141), Matt Weston (174) and Kyle Rooney (197) were defeated in their opening bouts.

“We didn’t win as many matches as we intended to,” Turnbull says. “This is probably the strongest field that has been here for some time. I think it is very valuable for us to experience this level of talent. We will use this to our advantage to get to where we need to be at a quicker pace.”
Pennesi’s Run Ends at Cliff Keen

MORGANTOWN, W. Va. (Dec. 4, 2010) – Following a strong run for placement at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational, West Virginia University sophomore Nathan Pennesi was defeated in the second round of the consolation quarterfinals Saturday morning at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

The Latrobe, Pa., native faced No. 12 B.J. Futrell of Illinois and was defeated by decision, 5-6. Futrell jumped to a quick 5-0 with a takedown and near fall for three points in the first period. Pennesi countered it with a strong second period in which he earned an escape point and takedown, followed by another takedown in the third period to end with five points.

WVU coach Craig Turnbull was pleased with the effort of his 133-pound wrestler.

“He was faced with a very athletic, strong opponent,” he says. “Futrell has a history of starting really quick and strong and then gets a little conservative at the end of the match. He’s very quick and we shot at him pretty quickly, but he was able to get that 5-0 lead. To Nathan’s credit, there were so many things, even in a loss, that he did well and was able to cut the margin against a very good opponent. He was even in a position to win it at the end because of his work ethic and determination.”

Pennesi was the lone Mountaineer to advance to the second round of the consolation quarterfinals after his teammates Shane Young (125 pounds) and Matt Ryan (184) were defeated Friday evening in the opening round of quarterfinals.

“This tournament is going to serve Nathan very well,” Turnbull says. “He has learned from his matches that he can compete against the best. This is all building toward what appears to be a very successful year for him. This match was very valuable for him; he’ll take a lot out of this weekend and will only get better.”

The Mountaineers return to action on Sunday, Dec. 19, at the Reno Tournament of Champions in Reno, Nev.

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