West Liberty Mat Squad Drops No. 11 Pitt-Johnstown
The West Liberty University wrestling team made a big splash in its dual meet opener Friday night with an 18-16 victory against No. 11 Pitt-Johnstown at the ASRC.
It marked the second straight year that Coach Brian Davis's Hilltoppers had opened their dual meet slate by knocking off a nationally-ranked UPJ squad. Last season's lid-lifter saw West Liberty pull out a come-from-behind 20-17 nod against a No. 8-ranked Mountain Cat squad.
Friday's match was also decided in the final bout as West Liberty's Mike Carpenter muscled out a 3-2 win at 285 pounds to send the Hilltopper fans home happy at the end of the see-saw affair.
The visitors got off to a fast start. The Hilltoppers' Cole Nace earned an 8-4 win at 133 pounds but UPJ picked up a fall at 125 and a major decision at 141 for a 10-3 lead heading into the fourth match of the night.
Nick Wykoff gave West Liberty a big lift at 149 with a 3-2 decision against UPJ All-American Jack Bachman, touching off a run of four straight decisions for the hosts.
Art Hobley (157), Mike Emery (165) and Preseason All-American Matt Littleton (174) swept their matches to give the Hilltoppers a 15-10 lead heading into the final three matches.
The Mountain Cats weren't finished yet as they picked up back-to-back wins at 184 and 197 to go up 16-15 but that only served to set the stage for WLU's Carpenter to come through with the match-clinching win.
The Hilltoppers will be idle over the Thanksgiving holidays before returning to action on Dec. 1 in the Ohio Northern Invitational at Ada, Ohio.
West Liberty 18, No. 11 Pitt-Johnstown 16
125: Evan Link (UPJ) p. Preston Foster (WLU), 5:00
133: Cole Nace (WLU) d. Benny Rager (UPJ), 8-4
141: Dave Cawley (UPJ) md. Johnny McComas (WLU), 8-0
149: Nick Wykoff (WLU) d. Jack Bachman (UPJ), 3-2
157: Art Hobley (WLU) d. Joel Paolo (UPJ), 4-2
165: Mike Emery (WLU) d. Chad Miller (UPJ), 2-1
174: Matt Littleton (WLU) d. Brian Gibbons (UPJ), 7-5
184: Travis McKillop (UPJ) d. Derrick Williams (WLU), 5-0
197: Sean O'Connell (UPJ) d. Danny Doyle (WLU), 5-1
285: Mike Carpenter (WLU) d. Josh Duplin (UPJ), 3-2