Three WVU Grapplers Place at Reno Tourney
RENO, Nev. (Dec. 16, 2012) – The West Virginia University wrestling team had three grapplers place at the Reno Tournament of Champions on Sunday, as Nathan Pennesi placed third, Brutus Scheffel placed fifth and Bubba Scheffel took sixth.
Wrestlers also competing in the tournament along with the Mountaineers’ place winners included Shane Young, Tre Miller-Scott, Jason Luster, Dominic Prezzia, Ross Renzi, Christian Chirico, Mark Colabucci, A.J. Vizcarrondo, Nicholas Hylton and Phil Mandzik.
“We felt that this kind of tournament was exactly what we needed as a team,” said coach Craig Turnbull. “Shane Young saw his first action since Nov. 4 and was able to get a good amount of matches despite having a lack of preparation. For others, this gave them an opportunity to wrestle multiple matches. We still have some questions at 157 and 165 heading into the dual meet season, but this will give us a foundation to work with over the holiday break.”
Pennesi (141) began his day by scoring a 17-1 tech fall over Cal State-Bakersfield’s Jose Mendoza. Then, he earned a 12-2 major decision against Boise State’s Travis Himmelman. In the championship quarterfinals, Pennesi defeated Adams State’s Ryan Fillingame, 5-3. After dropping an 8-4 decision in the championship semifinals, Pennesi was dominant on his way to an 18-4 win in the consolation semifinals over Cal State-Bakersfield’s Timmy Box. In his final match of the day, the Latrobe, Pa., native beat Fillingame for a second time in the tournament to earn a placement of third.
“I felt pretty good with the way I wrestled, but at the same time, the loses to guys ranked in the top 10 or 15 are frustrating,” Pennesi said. “I felt some improvement in my wrestling following our tournament in Las Vegas, and as a whole, I feel pretty good heading into the holiday break.”
This was the third-consecutive season that Pennesi has placed in Reno, as he took second in 2010 and fifth in 2011.
On his way to a placement of fifth, Brutus Scheffel (149) started his tournament with a 10-1 win over Michael Herrera of Cal State-Bakersfield. Following a medical forfeit by second-seeded Scot Sakaguchi of Oregon State, Scheffel took on Jordan Henrickson, who he knocked off 11-4. Scheffel was then defeated by Michigan State’s Dan Osterman in championship semifinals and took a second loss in the consolation semifinals to Southern Oregon’s Jimmy Eggemeyer. In his final match of the day, Scheffel defeated Stanford’s Timmy Boone, 3-2, to take sixth place.
“This was probably the most consistent tournament from start to finish that we have seen Brutus put together during the course of his career,” Turnbull said. “These are the things that are stepping stones to the next level for him.”
As for Bubba Scheffel (174), he opened his tournament with win by fall over Missouri Valley’s Jamaal Buford. In his second round match, Scheffel defeated fourth-seeded Austin Morehead of Oregon State, 12-9. Scheffel would advance to the championship semifinals with a 5-3 decision over Boise State’s Scotty Bacon. Following that match, Scheffel was pulled from the tournament for precautionary medical reasons and placed sixth.
Scheffel’s action in Reno was his first since suffering an injury on Nov. 11 at the Wolfpack Open.
“I was pretty excited about getting out on the mat,” Bubba Scheffel said. “Despite getting the wins that I did today, my conditioning level was so far from where I would like it to be. These are the types of matches that I need in order to get my conditioning back, though. I would love to be able to get back out there next week, but this break is going to be great for me. I have three weeks to get healthy, and I expect myself to be ready to go.”
The tournament marked WVU’s final action of the first half of the season, as they will break for the holidays.
The Mountaineers (1-2, 0-0 Big 12) will resume their dual meet season on Jan. 6, as they travel to Lock Haven.
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