Tech Prevails over OVU

February 4, 2014

MONTGOMERY, W. Va. - In front of a large enthusiastic crowd on Senior Night, the Golden Bears were able to prevail on the strength of pins and forfeits over the rival Ohio Valley Fighting Scots 27-22. The evening began with a brief ceremony honoring the career of Senior John Walters, a multiple-time national qualifier and NAIA Academic All-American. Walters, the WVU Tech Homecoming King in 2013, was presented with a framed singlet and several sleeves of plastic cutlery, because in his career his teammates could depend on him for victory and plastic wear!

OVU jumped out to a quick lead, winning the first four bouts of the evening. In those matches they earned a major decision at 125, regular decisions at 133 and 141, and a forfeit at 149 lbs. to take a 16-0 lead over the home team.

The Golden Bear reversed the momentum when Walters took the mat. A crowd that had been relatively quiet became loud and boisterous as J-Dub, as he is affectionately known, used a snap down and spin behind for a takedown, and then scored two sets of back points to jump out to an 8-0 lead in the first period. In the second period, Walters scored a reversal and converted a leg ride and half nelson to score the fall, bringing the crowd to their feet. The pin, a career high eighth of the season, raised Walter's season record to 21-4.

Sophomore Dirk Ponchak, riding the crest of emotion in the building, followed Walters with a gritty and energetic performance against OVU's Jabari Irons. Ponchak used a high crotch to score his takedown, and followed that up with a set of near fall points to jump out to a 5-0 lead early in the match. Then Irons escaped and scored an explosive double leg takedown on the edge of the mat to bring himself back within striking distance of victory. As the clock ticked down towards the end of the first period Irons tried to turn Ponchak, but in the process exposed his own back to the mat. A vigilant Ponchak arched back into his opponent, spreading his arms and legs wide, trapping the Fighting Scot on his back, and scoring a defensive fall with only a few seconds left on the clock. Ponchak's record improved to 25-2 on the season.

At 174, freshman Colton Rowe kept the momentum going, aggressively digging for underhooks and quickly scoring a pair of takedowns in the first minute. As Rowe scored the second takedown he quickly transitioned to a cradle, and patiently tightened his grip, before turning and pinning his opponent for the Golden Bear's third consecutive fall. The pin was Rowe's 18th win of the season!

At 184 freshman Tola Morakinyo used a thunderous chin whip in the first period to nearly flatten his opponent, and cruised to a 10-6 decision victory that wasn't as close as the score indicated. Tola's record improved to a Tech freshmen record of 21-3.

Wyatt Norfolk closed the evening out with a victory by forfeit at heavyweight and Tech escaped the scrappy Fighting Scots by a final score of 27-22. Tech's record improves to a 10-4, a program record.

"That was an exciting match," states head coach Samuel Gardner. "I'm sorry it had to end in such an anti-climactic way, but we showed guts and fight when we needed to, and I'm proud of the guys. We were a bit flat at a number of weights and I've got to take complete responsibility for that. I probably over hyped the importance of this match, and probably pushed harder in practice than I should have. That kind of stuff, even when you think you are planning ahead to control for it, can sap guys energy. That's my fault and I have to do a better job as a coach reading my team. From here we'll take a day off and really reduce the volume of training these next few days so we can be ready for the USCAA Invitational at Penn State this weekend. If we wrestle with the energy we are capable of, move our feet, and wrestle with passion and joy, we'll be pretty competitive. I'd like to thank the fans for coming out tonight and providing the team with a lift when they needed it. The support they provided was fantastic."

WVU Tech 27 OVU 22
125 Tyree Gardner (Ohio Valley University) won by major decision over Denis Robles-gomez (West Virginia Tech (W.Va.)) 12-4. 0 4.00
133 Cory Parsons (Ohio Valley University) won by decision over Alfred Martinez (West Virginia Tech (W.Va.)) 9-4. 0 3.00
141 Josue Rodriguez (Ohio Valley University) won by decision over Christopher Gonzales (West Virginia Tech (W.Va.)) 6-0. 0 3.00
149 Eli Stewart (Ohio Valley University) won by forfeit over Unknown (Unattached) . 0 6.00
157 John Walters (West Virginia Tech (W.Va.)) won by forfeit over Unknown (Unattached) . 6.00 0
165 Bradley Ponchak (West Virginia Tech (W.Va.)) won by pin over Jabari Irons (Ohio Valley University) 2:53. 6.00 0
174 Colton Rowe (West Virginia Tech (W.Va.)) won by pin over Austin Antill (Ohio Valley University) 2:00. 6.00 0
184 Tola Morakinyo (West Virginia Tech (W.Va.)) won by decision over Ben Willard (Ohio Valley University) 10-6. 3.00 0
197 Kobina Henriques (Ohio Valley University) won by injury default over Terry Nance (West Virginia Tech (W.Va.)) 3:00. 0 6.00
285 Wyatt Norfolk (West Virginia Tech (W.Va.)) won by forfeit over Unknown (Unattached) . 6.00 0

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