In the second of two Mountaineer sports victories in the Coliseum today, the wrestling team defeated Big 12 foe 25th-ranked North Dakota State, 19-12.
WVU (3-3, 2-1 Big 12) came out victorious early at the hands of Zeke Moisey at the 125-pound weight class. In a major decision, Moisey held Paul Bianchi to only two points for an 11-2 finish to give the Mountaineers a 4-0 lead.
In 133, Matthew Schmitt was evenly matched with Bison Cam Sykora. Schmitt and Sykora were tied at one through all three regulation periods. In overtime, Schmitt had a takedown to win 3-1 and boost the Mountaineer lead to 7-0.
In 141, Christian Monserrat won by 13-3 major decision against NDSU’s McGwire Midkiff.
In 149 and up 11-0, the Mountaineers were dealt their first loss. Kyler Rea fell 6-1 to Kyle Gliva in the beginning of a long line of decision-based NDSU wins.
In the middleweights, the Mountaineers allowed their lead to dwindle. 157 became a 7-4 loss for Zach Moore; 165 was a 10-6 loss for Nick Kiussis.
It wasn’t until Parker VonEgidy and 174 that the Mountaineers regained some semblance of a lead. Although only two points separated WVU and NDSU at 11-9, VonEgidy won a 5-4 decision match against Charley Popp, and increased the lead to five at 14-9.
As the meet made its way toward the heavyweights, Brenden McRill, fresh off his successful showing against Oklahoma, stepped onto the mat, immediately dominant. His opponent, Nick Knutson, was wrestling up a weight and clearly at a size disadvantage. McRill won via 14-8: almost another major decision for the Mountaineers.
With the lead at 17-9, it was time for the Mountaineers to make some costly errors.
At 197 and Jake Smith, Cordell Eaton of North Dakota State (5-6, 0-4) was no competition. Smith won in a 6-5 decision to put WVU up 20-9, an undeniable win. As time wound down in the third period, Smith muttered words that resulted in a WVU team point deduction for unsportsmanlike conduct. 19-9 was the score heading into 285.
Brandon Ngati, who could have forfeited and still gone home with a WVU win, wrestled anyway. Unfortunately, the result was not one to add to the highlights. Ngati faced off against Dan Stibral, who took the match to overtime tied at two. To end the Mountaineers’ night, Ngati fell in 4-2 decision fashion.
“This was a great win for our program,” said fourth-year coach Sammie Henson. “It was great to see our guys push through some tough matches tonight. North Dakota State is a tough team, and I’m glad we were able to come out on top and beat our second ranked opponent in just three days.”
This was the Mountaineers’ third conference win in program history. WVU will return to action on Jan. 19 to take on national power No. 3 Oklahoma State in Stillwater.