Smith Garners Big 12 Accolades
MORGANTOWN, W. Va. (February 23, 2015) – West Virginia University’s Jake A. Smith has been named Big 12 Wrestler of the Week, as announced by the league on Monday.
“I’m proud of Jake’s performance this weekend,” said WVU coach Sammie Henson. “Coming out of the break on Sunday, I think he was motivated to get bonus points. I think his pin really helped keep the momentum going for the rest of the match. He’s a great example of our philosophy that consistency wins.”
Smith went 2-0 at 197 pounds last weekend, including a crucial pin to help the Mountaineers to a 24-14 upset at No. 18 Pitt. It marked the first time since 2007 West Virginia has won the Backyard Brawl and was WVU’s second win of the season over a top-25 team.
The sophomore from Charleston, West Virginia, won an 8-1 decision over Vince Pickett of No. 14 Edinboro on Friday evening in the Mountaineers’ home finale. Smith used a takedown to take a 2-0 first-period advantage, and escaped in the second to make it 3-0 after five minutes. The two started the third period in the neutral position, with Smith registering his second takedown of the match for a 5-0 lead. Pickett got on the board with an escape, but Smith was able to take him down once again in the last 30 seconds and added a point for riding time in taking the 8-1 win.
On Sunday, Smith led the team to an upset victory over the rival Panthers with a first-period pin of Nick Bonaccorsi. Smith’s pin was the turning point of the match, as it pushed WVU in front 12-11 with four bouts remaining. Bonaccorsi got the initial takedown, but Smith escaped and got a takedown of his own before turning him for the pin at 1:45.
Smith ranks third on the team with a 24-8 mark and 50 team points. It was his second pin of the season and his sixth occasion he accruing bonus points for the team. Smith is now tied for third in WVU program history with 24 wins at 197 pounds.
This week marks the second time this season a WVU wrestler has been honored, as freshman Zeke Moisey (125) earned Big 12 Wrestler of the Week accolades on February 9. Smith, Moisey and the rest of the Mountaineers will compete at the 2015 Big 12 Championships on March 7 in Ames, Iowa.
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