West Virginia looks to send seniors out with win vs. Edinboro
Published: Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 23:02
After missing action for a week, the West Virginia wrestling team is ready to hit the mat in the WVU Coliseum for the last home match of the season against Edinboro. Saturday will be Senior Night for the Mountaineers, which head coach Craig Turnbull hopes will inspire his team.
"Shane Young has had a tremendous career here and will go down as one the finest lightweight wrestlers in the history of the program. He’ll compete in his last dual meet here and hopefully qualify for the National Championships," Turnbull said. "And you have Phil Mandzik, who came in here with a lot of heart and has won a lot of hearts over here in the program.
"It is a bittersweet time."
The wrestling team will do everything it can to send the seniors out with a win but that will be a little tougher as WVU’s top wrestler, Nathan Pennesi, suffered a broken hand in practice and will not wrestle in any upcoming dual meets.
"We took a couple steps forward but then a big one back when Pennesi broke his hand in practice last week," Turnbull said. "He is out, and we will injury default him for the Big 12 tournament. We believe, though, that his strength of schedule is good enough to get him into the national tournament."
Despite the situation, Turnbull is optimistic for Pennesi when it comes to the NCAA championships.
"Sometimes when the season ends and you have three or four weeks off, you come back wrestling stronger and sharper than you have all season," Turnbull said. "We are framing it that he comes back fresh, and we will be doing a lot of things with his conditioning, so when he comes back, he will feel like he was just on a break and not out with an injury."
With Pennesi out until the NCAA championships, the team will have to lean on the two remaining ranked wrestlers they have in Young and freshman Bubba Scheffel to help lead the way for the team.
Young moved up one spot in WrestlingReport’s poll to the No. 23 spot, and Scheffel now holds No. 27 and has eight wins on the season.
"Pennesi’s injury doesn’t change anything. These guys know that if they go out and win a couple dual meets there is business to be done still," Turnbull said.
Senior Night is set to begin Saturday at 7 p.m. in the WVU Coliseum.