The West Virginia University wrestling team welcomed South Dakota State to the Coliseum on Sunday for a Big 12 conference matchup that ended with WVU’s sixth loss of the season, 24-9.
The 12th-ranked Jackrabbits (13-2, 7-0 Big 12) took the Mountaineers by storm, winning seven of ten matches; WVU came away victorious in only 125, 149, and 165 during the annual Cradles for Cancer match. The charity benefits breast cancer awareness, and comes from a very personal story.
“Cradles for Cancer is huge for my family,” head coach Sammie Henson said. "My wife was diagnosed with breast cancer the first year I was [in Morgantown]. It’s been a great event ever since then. It’s a great cause, but a horrible disease, so whatever we can do to help fight it, we want to do that.”
The Coliseum was bathed in pink as the match started. In 125, 14th-ranked Zeke Moisey faced 19th-ranked Connor Brown of the Jackrabbits.
After takedowns, near falls, and extra point for riding time, Moisey added the first team points in an 8-3 decision.
Going into the most anticipated match of the day at 133, Matthew Schmitt set up to face top-ranked Seth Gross, who was seeking his twentieth win.
After a WVU takedown and a combative takedowns and escapes from Gross, SDSU added the finishing touch with an extra point from riding time. Schmitt fell 8-2 for only the ninth time this season to tie the team scores at 3.
At 141, Christian Monserrat added a loss to his then 15-12 record when he went up against Henry Pohlmeyer.
Pohlmeyer absolutely dominated the match, added a pair of takedowns before Monserrat could even record an escape. From there, Monserrat closed the gap a little with a reversal, but after a near fall that added four plus the riding time, WVU fell once more in an 11-3 major decision.
With SDSU leading the match 7-3, Kyler Rea recorded his second straight Big 12 victory versus Isaac Andrade. Stemming from a dominant takedown and an escape in the first period, Andrade was fighting from a deficit the entire time. Rea added two escapes to put even a third period escape out of win contention as he won with a 6-3 decision.
The hardest hit of the day occurred at 165. Hunter Jones, in his second dual of the year, faced off against Jackrabbit Luke Zilverberg. Two SDSU takedowns in the first period, followed by an SDSU escape and another takedown in the second put WVU down 8-0 going into the third period. To add insult to injury, Zilverberg improved the final score to a 14-0 major decision.
Entering the intermission, WVU (5-6, 4-4) trailed 11-6.
With renewed vigor, WVU started 165 off strong. Nick Kiussis, with five pins on the season, faced Logan Peterson, with four pins. Both offensively strong opponents found themselves scoreless after one. After two, the score was only 2-0 WVU. In the third period, beginning with a four point WVU takedown and ending in a WVU escape with 20 seconds left on the clock, Kiussis came away victorious in 5-4 decision fashion to make it 11-9 SDSU.
With the heavier weight classes left to close the gap, the Mountaineers instead increased the deficit from two (165), to six (174), to nine (184), to 12 (197), in order to end with a resounding 15 point loss (HWT), 24-9.
It was West Virginia's worst loss since their season opener against Utah Valley on Oct. 27.
The Mountaineers have a few days off to recuperate before traveling to Edinboro, Pa. for a non-conference matchup against former EWL rival Edinboro on Feb. 15.