Mountaineers Host No. 7 Pitt in Brawl

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (January 31, 2014) – The West Virginia University wrestling squad welcomes No. 7 Pitt to the WVU Coliseum on Saturday, Feb. 1, at 7 p.m., for the Backyard Brawl.

Saturday's contest is a “Dollar Night”, with all tickets and select concession available for $1each.

“The rivalry has always served both programs very well. We recruit in similar areas, and the rivalry gets engrained into both sides,” says coach Craig Turnbull. “This is the best Pitt team that we have ever competed against. Everything has just happened to have fallen into place where they are very balanced and strong at every weight class. A good indication of that is their upset over Oklahoma State.”

The Mountaineers (9-3, 0-2 Big 12) are coming off a loss to then-No. 5 Oklahoma State on Jan 18. WVU entered the Big 12 matchup on a six-match win streak dating back to Dec. 7. The streak was the longest in program history since 2003, when the Mountaineers wheeled off seven consecutive to finish 9-3 on the season and 17th at the NCAA Championships.

No. 17 senior Colin Johnston (141) became the first WVU grappler to earn Big 12 Wrestler of the Week honors after defeating then-No. 12 Anthony Collica of the Cowboys, 8-4. Johnston leads the Mountaineers with 11 wins in dual matches and 27 takedowns. He is second on the squad with 22 total wins and seven pins. Johnston has defeated back-to-back ranked opponents, earning a 12-7 decision over then-No 20 Dan Neff of Lock Haven on Jan. 4.

Freshman Leo Trindade (197) has strung together three consecutive victories dating back to the Reno Tournament of Champions on Dec. 22. Trindade gave WVU a 15-12 lead over the Bald Eagles on Jan. 4 with a 9-4 decision over Phil Sprenkle, and then tallied the Mountaineers’ second win against Oklahoma State with an 8-6 decision over Darnell Bortz. Trindade is 13-10 this season and 6-4 in dual matches.

Sophomore Bubba Scheffel (174) looks to rebound after dropping his sixth bout of the season, this one to No. 2 Chris Perry of the Cowboys. Scheffel leads WVU with 24 wins and is two wins shy of breaking into the top 10 in program history for wins by a sophomore. He already broke the program's single-season pin record with his 14th win by fall coming on Dec. 8 at the Hoosier Duals.

The Panthers (10-1, 4-0 ACC) come to Morgantown after defeating then-No. 5 Oklahoma State, 19-18, on Jan. 19 in Pittsburgh, and then-No. 13 Virginia, 25-9, on Jan. 24. Pitt is currently on a seven-match win streak, and is 3-1 on the road this season, with its only loss occurring at No. 1 Penn State. Five of the Panthers’ 10 starters are ranked, including No. 7 Tyler Wilps (21-5) and No. 7 Max Thomusseit (11-1).

The Mountaineers are 24-32-2 all-time against Pitt, with their last win coming in 2007. In last season's dual, the Panthers wrestled their way to a 31-9 victory in Pittsburgh. Senior Nathan Pennesi (133) and Scheffel earned victories in last year's contest.

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