Pennesi Places Sixth in Vegas, Bryson Eighth

LAS VEGAS (Dec. 1, 2012) – With day two of the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational coming to a close, the West Virginia University wrestling team had two grapplers place.

Juniors Nathan Pennesi (141) and Lance Bryson (184) placed sixth and eighth, respectively.

Pennesi, who fought his way to the championship quarterfinals on Saturday before falling to Ohio State’s Hunter Stieber, scored wins over Northern Iowa’s Joey Lazor and California-Bakersfield’s Tommy Box to put himself in the consolation semifinals, where he took on Wisconsin’s Tyler Graff.

Pennesi nearly knocked off Graff, who is ranked eighth by InterMat, but fell in a 7-5 decision. The Latrobe, Pa., native was tied at five with Graff, but Graff converted a shot with under 40 seconds remaining to seal the win.

In his fifth-place match, Pennesi took on sixth-seeded Steven Keith of Harvard. Pennesi took a 4-3 lead early in the second period, but was unable to hold on, as Keith scored an 8-6 decision.

Bryson, who recovered nicely from a tough bout against top-seeded Josh Ihnen of Nebraska on Saturday afternoon, knocked off Oregon State’s Ty Vinson in the fourth round of consolations, 8-1.

In his consolation quarterfinals match against Navy’s Mason Bailey, Bryson was defeated 2-0, after Bailey scored an escape point in the second period and earned a riding time point in the third. Bryson was then held out of his seventh-place match due to a coach’s decision.

With the Las Vegas Invitational behind them, the Mountaineers will now prepare for the Reno Tournament of Champions, which will be held on Dec. 16 in Reno, Nev.

Johnston, Pennesi Remain Unblemished in Vegas

LAS VEGAS (Nov. 30, 2012) – With two championship rounds and two consolation rounds complete at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational, Colin Johnston (133) and Nathan Pennesi (141) remain in the championship half of their respective brackets.

Johnston began his day by earning a 4-0 decision victory over Army’s Charles Costanzo. In his second round match, the Eighty Four, Pa., native breezed by Chasen Tolbert of Utah Valley in a 17-8 major decision win. Johnston, who is seeded seventh in his bracket, will take on second-seeded Nathan McCormick of Missouri in the quarterfinals.

With a 15-0 tech fall under his belt after the first round, Pennesi nearly earned another tech fall in the second round, as he defeated Andrew Riedy of Nebraska-Kearney, 13-1. Pennesi, who is seeded eighth in his bracket, will take on top-seeded Hunter Stieber of Ohio State in the quarterfinals.

Jason Luster, who was defeated by sixth-seeded Georgi Ivanov of Boise State in his first match of the day, scored his first collegiate victory against American’s Mark Cirello, 9-4. The Pittsburgh, Pa., native backed that win up with another in the second round of the consolations, as he took down Brian Harvey of Army, 8-5. Luster will continue his tournament with a match against fourth-seeded Bobby Barnhisel of Navy in the third round of the consolations.

Those that will also be partaking in consolation action during tonight’s second session include Ross Renzi (174), Lance Bryson (184) and Phil Mandzik (HWT).

Mountaineers that were eliminated from the tournament during the day’s first session were Brutus Scheffel (149) and Dominic Prezzia (165).

Complete brackets from the first session are available at

Quarterfinals and the continuation of the consolation rounds will continue at 9 p.m. EST, 6 p.m. PST.

A recap of this evening’s action will be available on after the completion of competition.

Day One Recap

Wrestling Finishes First Day in Vegas LAS VEGAS (Nov. 30, 2012) – The West Virginia University wrestling team finished the first of two days of action at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational on Friday evening.

“Any time that you come to a tournament like this, you are going to have mixed emotions,” said associate head coach Greg Jones. “For the most part, we saw improvement in areas that we had been emphasizing over the past two weeks. Even though that didn’t translate into wins in every match, we made some gains in key areas.”

In the day’s first session, juniors Colin Johnston (133) and Nathan Pennesi (141) advanced to the championship quarterfinals of their respective brackets.

In his quarterfinal match, Johnston was defeated by second-seeded Nathan McCormick of Missouri. Johnston will take on fourth-seeded Ian Nickell of California-Bakersfield in the third round of consolations.

“Colin is still trying to get back into the swing of things,” Jones said. “You have to figure that the more you keep putting him out there against guys like McCormick, the better the results are going to be.”

As for Pennesi, he took on first-seeded Hunter Stieber of Ohio State and was knocked off, 9-4. Pennesi will take on Northern Iowa’s Joey Lazor in the third round of consolations.

In consolation action, Lance Bryson (184) strung together a second-consecutive victory, as he defeated Harvard’s Josh Popple, 8-1. Bryson will square off against sixth-seeded Ty Vinson of Oregon State in the third round of the consolations.

“Lance bounced back well from his loss earlier in the day,” Jones said. “There is never an issue with intensity or effort with Lance. He has made significant gains over the past two weeks.”

Freshmen Jason Luster (157) and Ross Renzi (174) had their tournament runs come to an end. Luster fell to Navy’s Bobby Barnhisel, while Renzi lost a decision by a riding time point to Oregon State’s Austin Morehead.

“The dynamic of this group is very different when comparing each wrestler,” Jones said. “For a few of these guys, this is the first times that they have experienced things like this at this level. Regardless of that, we expect them to put out an effort and intensity that is representative of our program. In some spots, that is happening, but in others, it is not. We will just have to keep chipping away.”

Also having his tournament come to a close was Phil Mandzik (HWT). The Bradenton, Fla., native scored two victories on the day, but lost in the consolations to Henry Chirino of Northern Colorado.

Second-day action will continue on Saturday morning at 12 p.m. EST, 9 a.m. PST.

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