Ryan Carries Mountaineers on First Day

By Brian Kuppelweiser
WVU Sports Information Office

December 02, 2011

LAS VEGAS, NEV. – After the completion of the first day of competition at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational, redshirt senior Matt Ryan (184) advanced to the championship quarterfinals of his tournament, which was the furthest a WVU grappler advanced on the day.

“He did a good job of going out there and just wrestling after missing the last two tournaments,” said assistant head coach Greg Jones. “He started quickly, and he controlled his first two matches.”

Ryan’s return got off to a fast start in the first round, as he pinned Utah Valley’s David Prieto at the 1:40 mark of the first period.

The Eighty-Four, Pa., native followed his opening round pin with yet another pin in the second round, as he defeated Michael Gorman of Army just 1:32 into the match.

In his championship quarterfinals match, Ryan was matched against No. 2-seeded Josh Ihnen of Nebraska and lost a hard-fought decision, 3-0.

In total, eight other Mountaineer grapplers saw action in the first day of the two-day event.

“Overall, the day was very valuable to us,” said coach Craig Turnbull. “This tournament is such a benefit to us because see diverse group of wrestlers out here. We’ve battled well, but I would like to think that in a few weeks we will win some of those close matches that we saw today.”

Lance Bryson (174) was also a bright spot on the day for WVU. The redshirt junior lost his opening-round matchup against No. 2 Nick Heflin of Ohio State by a 5-1 decision, but rebounded with three straight victories to complete the day.

Bryson will have an opportunity to wrestle into a placing position tomorrow morning when wrestling resumes at 9 a.m.

WVU Finishes Competition in Las Vegas

By Brian Kuppelweiser
WVU Sports Information Office

December 03, 2011

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – The West Virginia wrestling team completed action in the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational on Saturday afternoon and brought to a close their first of two West Coast road trips this season.

“Overall, I would term this as a very good trip,” says coach Craig Turnbull. “(Associate head coach) Greg (Jones) and I spoke last night, and we both agreed that the guys are getting better. They attacked their matches very well and wrestled hard. This will be a very valuable experience for us going forward.”

After advancing to the championship quarterfinals yesterday afternoon, redshirt senior Matt Ryan (184) continued action in the consolation round of his bracket.

The Eighty-Four, Pa., native squared off against Kevin Radford of Arizona State and dictated the pace of the match while taking a 10-3 decision victory.

Ryan, who has missed the Mountaineers previous two tournaments due to injury, had his tournament come to an end after being pulled due to precautionary medical reasons.

“We had mixed emotions about pulling him from the rest of the tournament because he was wrestling so well, but we had to be safe,” Turnbull says. “Matt came into this tournament with very little preparation, but still wrestled in a very tactical manner. It was a positive experience for him.”

Redshirt sophomore Nathan Pennesi (141), who made a strong run for placement at last year’s Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational, had his tournament come to an end after losing a consolation match to last year’s 141-pound national champion, Kellen Russell of Michigan.

“You want your wrestlers to have experiences against guys such as Kellen Russell that are national champions,” Turnbull says. “It was very valuable to him, and it was a tremendous test of skill for him.”

After losing his first match yesterday morning, redshirt senior Kyle Eason (165) rallied with three-straight victories to close out his Friday action. On Saturday morning, Eason fell by way of a 3-1 decision to No. 10-seeded Tyler Wilps of Pitt.

Completed brackets from today’s action at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational can be found at http://postedresults.escapesports.com.

The Mountaineers will now switch gears and have their first dual meet since Nov. 6, as they will go head-to-head against defending national champions, Penn State.

“We are very fortunate to have them on our schedule because they are one of the elite programs in the country,” says Turnbull. “Our guys will wrestle in front of a sold-out gym that holds 6,500 people. The atmosphere will provide a unique opportunity for our team.”

The dual meet against the Nittany Lions is set for Dec. 11 at 2 p.m.

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