WVU Falls to No. 7 Pitt

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (February 1, 2014) – The West Virginia University wrestling team fell to No. 7 Pitt in the Backyard Brawl, 33-6, at the WVU Coliseum tonight.

“Going into the match, we thought if we could win two at 133, 141 and 149 pounds, then we would have a chance,” says coach Craig Turnbull. “We did not wrestle very smart at a couple of weight classes though. Colin Johnston and Mike Morales winning was very important for them individually and developing their resumes for the national tournament.”

No. 17 Johnston (141) tallied his third consecutive win over a ranked opponent, downing No. 16 Edgar Bright, 4-3. Johnston was brought to the mat midway through the first period, but quickly broke Bright's grasp to bring the score to 2-1. A quick escape by Bright made the score 3-1, but Johnston countered with his team-high 28th takedown of the season as the period expired. An escape to start the third would prove to make the difference for Johnston.

“It has been a gradual build throughout the season, but Colin has his chest out a little bit and has some confidence. He is enjoying the competition again, and is showing his ability to be on the podium by beating nationally ranked guy after nationally ranked guy,” Turnbull says.

At 149 pounds, junior Mike Morales knotted the team scoring at six with a takedown in sudden victory over No. 17 Mikey Racciato. Morales scored the first points of the bout, taking Mikey Racciato to the mat. Racciato recovered and scored a takedown of his own before Morales earned a reversal to knot the match at four. Each wrestler went on to record one more reversal and takedown each to force extra time tied at nine. Only a few seconds in, Morales connected on a shot and brought Racciato to the mat for the third time in the bout.

“Mike is such a competitor,” Turnbull says. “His big part is not so much technical, but his competitive spirit. You can always count on Mike to rise up. You could see that the tighter tonight's match got, the more focused he got.

The night started for the Mountaineers (9-4, 0-2 Big 12) at 125 pounds with freshman Cory Stainbrook against the Panthers (11-1, 4-0 ACC) Anthony Zanetta. Stainbrook wrestled to a scoreless first period before Zanetta scored a reversal to start the second. Stainbrook started the final period on bottom, giving up more than two minutes of riding time on the way to dropping the 3-0 decision.

At 133 pounds, senior Nathan Pennesi gave up two late takedowns to Shelton Mack in the first period. Down 4-0, Pennesi broke free for an escape point in the second, but was taken to the mat for a third time by Mack. After a earning riding time, Mack went on to win the bout, 7-2.

With the team score tied at six, Junior Brutus Scheffel (157) was taken to the mat by Ronnie Garbinsky, and turned to his back for a two-point nearfall. Down 6-0 late in the first, Scheffel tallied an escape point. Starting down, Scheffel turned Garbinsky for the reversal, cutting the deficit to 7-3. A reversal from Garbinsky extended the difference back to six, and with riding advantage, Garbinsky won by decision 10-3.

Sophomore Bubba Scheffel (174) made a late shot against No. 7 Tyler Wilps, but after wrestling for position, Wilps came out on top for the two-point takedown. Scheffel was taken to the mat a second time to go down 5-0. After two escape points, Scheffel dropped the decision 8-2.

At heavyweight, sophomore A.J. Vizcarrondo gave up a second period escape to No. 20 P.J. Tasser. Down 1-0, Vizcarrondo was taken down, but quickly earned an escape point of his own. To start the third, he came out from the bottom and took Tasser down for a 4-3 lead. A late takedown by Tasser though won the bout 6-4.

West Virginia is back in action on Thursday, Feb. 6, at 7 p.m. against No. 6 Oklahoma and on Friday, Feb. 7, against Davidson at 7:30 p.m. Both matches are at the WVU Coliseum.

Pitt 33 WVU 6
125: Anthony Zanetta (Pitt) wins by decision over Cory Stainbrook (WVU), 3-0
133: Shelton Mack (Pitt) wins by decision over Nathan Pennesi (WVU), 7-2
141: No. 17 Colin Johnston (WVU) wins by decision over No. 16 Edgar Bright (Pitt), 4-3
149: Mike Morales (WVU) wins by decision over No. 17 Mikey Racciato (Pitt), 11-9 (Sudden Victory)
157: Ronnie Garbinsky (Pitt) wins by decision over Brutus Scheffel (WVU), 10-3
165: Geno Morelli (Pitt) wins by fall over Ross Renzi (WVU), 1:41
174: No. 7 Tyler Wilps (Pitt) wins by decision over Bubba Scheffel (WVU), 8-2
184: No. 6 Max Thomusseit (Pitt) wins by fall over Mac Mancuso (WVU), 5:30
197: No. 18 Nick Bonaccorsi (Pitt) wins by fall over Leo Trindade (WVU), 4:51
HWT: No. 20 P.J. Tasser (Pitt) wins by decision over A.J. Vizcarrondo (WVU), 6-4.

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