WVU Prepped for Final Duals
MORGANTOWN, W. Va. (February 19, 2015) – The West Virginia University wrestling team will close out the regular season with a pair of duals this weekend. The Mountaineers will host No. 15 Edinboro on Friday at the WVU Coliseum in a 6 p.m. match before traveling to rival No. 14 Pitt on Sunday for a 2 p.m. tilt at Fitzgerald Field House.
Sunday’s dual with the Panthers is set to be broadcast live on ESPN3. Fans can follow both matches on TrackWrestling.com and can view Friday’s home event on WVUsports.com
“We’re excited about wrapping up the final part of our season,” said WVU coach Sammie Henson. “We know we have some tough battles against Edinboro and Pitt. Edinboro is one of the top teams in the country and we wrestled them earlier this year, so we hope to improve upon that performance on Friday. We fought them pretty hard at the Virginia Duals this year, so we’re looking to build on that. And then Pitt, that’s like (longtime Oklahoma State-Oklahoma rivalry) Bedlam for us. We’re looking to battle them. I’m looking to see what happens with our fans and what kind of atmosphere it is, so that will be exciting. We intend to look forward and into the postseason after wrapping up these last duals.”
The Mountaineers have faced the Fighting Scots 31 times prior to this week’s match up, with Edinboro holding a 19-10-2 series lead. The two teams have met nearly every season since the series started in 1977 and met once earlier this year at the Virginia Duals on January 9. Then-No. 14 Edinboro took a 21-16 victory in the Mountaineers’ second match at the Virginia Duals. Cory Stainbrook won a 10-2 major decision over Anthony Rivera at 133, while Brutus Scheffel took a 5-2 decision from Kasey Davis at 157. Jake A. Smith (197), Ross Renzi (165) and A.J. Vizcarrondo (HWT) also earned wins for the Mountaineers, who dropped five bouts.
West Virginia and Pitt will meet for the 60th time since 1934 when the Mountaineers cross the border on Sunday. The Panthers own a 33-24-2 advantage, with WVU’s last win coming in 2007. Pitt is 8-6 overall with a 2-3 mark in ACC action. The Panthers and the Mountaineers have a slew of common opponents on their schedule. Pitt faced then-No. 10 Edinboro on November 6, taking a 25-12 win over the Fighting Scots. They also defeated Bucknell (22-11) and Clarion (51-0), while falling to No. 8 Oklahoma State, 25-13, on January 18. The Panthers will wrestle at Michigan prior to their meeting with the Mountaineers.
The NCAA released its first RPI rankings of the 2015 season. Michael Morales and Jake A. Smith boast the highest rankings of the Mountaineers, ranking 17th at 141 and 197 pounds, respectively. Zeke Moisey is 18th at 125, James Dekrone is 32nd at 149 and Ross Renzi is 31st at 165. Also on the list are Bubba Scheffel, who comes in 20th at 184, and Vizcarrondo, who ranks 32nd at heavyweight.
Trailing by a score of 16-8 entering the final three bouts on Sunday against Ohio, the Mountaineers won three in a row to pull out a 19-16 victory. Vizcarrondo won a 2-0 decision over Jesse Webb at heavyweight before Moisey posted a 17-8 major decision over Zak Hassan to bring WVU within one point, down 16-15. Cory Stainbrook entered a winner-takes-all bout at 133 pounds, and successfully claimed an 8-0 major decision over Joshua Parrett to win the match for the Mountaineers. For his efforts, he earned WVU Student-Athlete of the Week honors.
Bubba Scheffel prevailed with a 3-1 decision over Andrew Romanchik at 184 pounds in Sunday’s win against the Bobcats. The junior has had one of the toughest slates on the team this season, facing nine ranked opponents thus far. Scheffel has battled ranked foes in five of the team’s last nine matches, and has faced both the No. 1 and No. 2-ranked wrestlers in his weight. He dropped a 10-3 decision to No. 1 Gabe Dean of Cornell at the Northeast Duals, and has faced No. 2 Blake Stauffer (Arizona State) three times this season - twice while Stauffer was ranked second, once when he was ranked ninth. Scheffel upset then-No. 6 Kenny Courts of Ohio State with a 7-3 decision at the Cliff Keen Invitational in December for his lone win over a ranked foe. Ironically, Edinboro’s Vic Avery, who Scheffel will face on Friday, defeated Courts last weekend.
Both Moisey and Morales scored bonus points for the team last season, which is not uncommon as the duo have led the Mountaineers all season long. Moisey recorded his sixth major decision of the season, and now boasts 13 bonus-point wins with a pair of tech. falls and five pins. Morales scored a 16-0 tech. fall in the third period for his 12th bonus-point victory of the year. At 141, he has a team-best three tech. falls to go with four pins and five major decisions.
West Virginia will travel to Ames, Iowa, on March 7 for the 2015 Big 12 Wrestling Championships at Iowa State.
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