WVU Travels to Big 12 Championship
AMES, Iowa (March 6, 2015) – After ending the regular season with a thrilling win over rival No. 25 Pitt, the West Virginia wrestling team will look to carry that momentum into the 2015 Big 12 Championship on Saturday at the Hilton Coliseum on the campus of Iowa State in Ames, Iowa. The semifinal matches are slated to start at Noon ET.
The semifinal and third-place matches will be broadcast live on Big12Sports.com, while Fox Sports Go will carry the championship round at 7 p.m. ET. The tournament can also be viewed on tape delay on various affiliates. Live stats for all rounds can be found on TrackWrestling.com. Tournament seeds will be released Friday evening.
The Mountaineers will go with the following line up:
125: Freshman No. 20 Zeke Moisey (27-12, 2-1 Big 12)
133: Sophomore Cory Stainbrook (14-17, 0-3 Big 12)
141: Senior No. 13/18 Michael Morales (28-10, 1-2 Big 12)
149: Senior Roman Perryman (4-12, 0-1 Big 12)
157: Senior Brutus Scheffel (7-13, 0-2 Big 12)
165: Junior Ross Renzi (12-12, 0-3 Big 12)
174: r-Freshman Parker VonEgidy (7-10, 0-3 Big 12)
184: Junior Bubba Scheffel (19-14, 1-2 Big 12)
197: Sophomore Jake A. Smith (24-8, 2-1 Big 12)
HWT: Junior A.J. Vizcarrondo (14-15, 1-2 Big 12)
The 2015 season marks the third year West Virginia has participated in the Big 12 Championship after joining the league in 2012. The Mountaineers took fourth place in both prior tournaments, accumulating 28 points in 2013 and 26 in 2014. A.J. Vizcarrondo’s second place finish at the 2013 championships is the highest every by a Mountaineer.
“We look forward to the Big 12 Championship tomorrow,” said coach Sammie Henson. “Our men looked great yesterday in drills and seem relaxed and ready to embrace the challenge. Everyone has their weight and their mind set in the right place. It is time to lay it on the line and prove that consistency wins.”
The NCAA no longer considers the Big 12 Championships a qualifying event, so the Mountaineers will depend on the Coaches’ Panel Rankings and RPI Rankings in earning at-large bids to the NCAA Championships. The Mountaineers have four wrestlers ranked the Coaches’ Panel Index and six ranked in the NCAA RPI Rankings as of March 1. At-large bids will be announced by the NCAA on March 11.
Wrestler Yr. Wt. RPI Coaches’
Panel Zeke Moisey Fr. 125 19 22 Cory Stainbrook So. 133 33 NR Michael Morales Sr. 141 18 16 Ross Renzi Jr. 165 31 NR Bubba Scheffel Jr. 184 24 28 Jake A. Smith So. 197 19 28
West Virginia capped off the season with a thrilling 24-14 victory over then-No. 18 Pittsburgh on February 22, but it was much more than simply ending the season on a high note. The victory marked WVU’s first triumph in the Backyard Brawl since 2007. A pin by Smith led the way, with Morales registering a tech. fall and Moisey earning his seventh major decision of the season. The Mountaineers’ win over Pitt was also their second over a top-25 opponent this season, as they previously defeated then-No. 25 Bucknell on January 9. West Virginia debuted in the NCAA rankings on January 13 (23rd), but is not currently ranked.
A number of wrestlers have entered the WVU record books this season. In his first season with the team, Moisey has moved into fourth place in wins by a freshman with 27. He needs one more to tie Seth Lisa (2003). Moisey is also tied with Chad Billy (1996) for fourth place in wins at 125 pounds. A 28th win this weekend would push him into a three-way tie for third place. Morales is in a three-way tie with former teammate Colin Johnston (2014) and Joe Clarke (2004) for third place with 28 wins at 141 pounds.
After transferring from Cleveland State, Smith has put together a solid season at 197 pounds. He is currently tied with Sean Hage (1998) for third place in the WVU record books with 24 wins at 197 pounds. A 10-bout win streak, starting with Blake Buckwalter of Lock Haven on December 19, helped him achieve his feat. He finished the season by earning Big 12 Wrestler of the Week accolades with his pin of Pitt’s Nick Bonaccorsi.
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