West Virginia Wrestling

WVU Heads to California for Pair of Duals

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. (Jan. 2, 2017) The West Virginia University wrestling team will start the New Year on the West Coast, as the squad travels to California for a pair of duals. The Mountaineers will face Cal Poly at the Mott Athletic Center in San Luis Obispo on Tuesday in a 5 p.m. ET match before squaring off with CSU Bakersfield on Wednesday at the Icardo Center in Bakersfield in a 9 p.m. dual.

Live stats for both matches can be found on TrackWrestling.com. Cal Poly will feature live video at GoCalPoly.com.

Our men are ready to compete in 2017, said WVU coach Sammie Henson. We have two tough teams to start off with in Cal Poly and CSU Bakersfield. Im looking forward to seeing our men step up and prove how much work they have put in.

West Virginia will face both Cal Poly and CSU Bakersfield for the second time in program history this week. The Mountaineers own a 1-0 lead over the Mustangs, with the previous meeting coming in 2008 in San Luis Obispo, California. The 2008 season was the last time WVU traveled to the West Coast. The Mountaineers trail the Roadrunners 0-1 in the overall series. The teams have not met since 1999.

The Mountaineers hosted rival No. 6 Virginia Tech on Sunday, Dec. 18, at Parkersburg High School in Parkersburg, West Virginia. Though WVU fell to the Hokies, 36-4, the event drew nearly 3,000 fans to the PHS Memorial Fieldhouse and was highlighted by a bout between Charleston's Jacob A. Smith (WVU) and Parkersburg's Jared Haught (Tech). For the second straight match, the two went into overtime as Haught, ranked No. 3 in the country, earned a 3-2 decision in the tiebreaker period.

With an injury to senior Tony DeAngelo earlier in the season, sophomore Joe Wheeling has stepped in as the starter at 141 pounds. The Waterford, Pennsylvania, native has posted wins in back-to-back dual matches against rivals Pitt and Virginia Tech. Wheeling used a third-period reversal to claim a 3-2 decision over the Panthers' Robert Lee on Dec. 11 before winning a 13-2 major decision against the Hokies' Brenden Ryan. He moves to 2-1 in dual matches this season.

After winning a major decision against No. 6 Virginia Tech on Dec. 18, Wheeling was named the WVU Student-Athlete of the Week, presented by University Apartments. He hit Ryan for an early takedown and a 2-0 lead in the first, riding him through the period. Starting on bottom in the second, Wheeling scored a reversal for a 4-0 lead, adding points for locked hands and stalling on Ryan to bump his lead to 6-0. The two went to their feet for the start of the third, with Wheeling adding a trio of takedowns as well as the point for riding time in taking a 13-2 major decision.

Smith (197) and Dylan Cottrell (165) remain nationally ranked in the most recent rankings released on Tuesday, Dec. 22. Smith, who most recently dropped a 3-2 decision in a tiebreaker to No. 3 Jared Haught of Virginia Tech, ranks at No. 7 (InterMat), No. 8 (FloWrestling) and No. 9 (The Open Mat). Cottrell, who is expected back into the lineup after missing the previous six weeks with an injury, was removed from The Open Mat's rankings for inactivity but ranks at No. 6 (InterMat) and No. 7 (FloWrestling).

West Virginia enters Sunday's match looking for the program's 600th win. Since the program's inception in 1921 (no wrestling occurred during WWII), the Mountaineers have accrued 599 wins. WVU is 17-24 under coach Sammie Henson.

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