The WVU wrestling team started off the 2018 season with a 22-14 win at the Coliseum against Big 12 partner Northern Colorado, giving head coach Tim Flynn his first win as a Mountaineer.
Beginning the match in the 165-pound weight class was sophomore Nick Kiussis going up against Northern Colorado’s Macoy Flanagan and winning 7-6 by decision, giving the Mountaineers an early 3-0 lead.
From there things started to go downhill for WVU as UNC’s Seth Bogulski defeated Mountaineer Josh Ramirez in a 3-1 decision in the 174-pound weight class, tying the match at 3.
UNC’s Dalton Robertson then defeated WVU’s Jackson Moomau in the 184-pound weight class in a convincing 17-1 victory, giving the UNC Klaw’s an 8-3 lead.
Northern Colorado kept the momentum going in the 197-pound weight class, with a 12-9 win over redshirt freshman Noah Adams, expanding UNC’s lead to 11-3.
Mountaineer heavyweight David Smith helped spark a comeback by pinning UNC’s Robert Winters, cutting the deficit to 11-9.
“I mean we weren’t doing well and things weren’t going well and that kind of, you know, turned things around,” said Flynn. “Changed the momentum; that was really big and exciting.”
UNC got its last win of the night in the 125-pound weight class, when Sean Cannon won a 4-1 decision against WVU’s K.J. Fenstermacher, putting the Klaws up by five.
From here the Mountaineers took over, starting with Matthew Schmitt defeating UNC’s Christopher Sandoval in a satisfying 13-5 victory in the 133-pound weight class, and bringing WVU to within one point.
“We wanted to win,” said Schmitt. “We wanted to come out and prove something with the new coach and new staff. No one likes to start off on a losing note, so we wanted to do them proud.”
The Mountaineers were able to build off of this momentum in the 141-pound weight class as redshirt senior Joe Wheeling dominated UNC’s Owen Lamb in a 7-1 decision, giving WVU a 16-14 lead.
In the 149-pound weight class, WVU’s Christian Monserrat faced UNC’s Mason Hulse and won 8-2 by decision, expanding the Mountaineer lead to 19-14.
Zach Moore finished things off for WVU by beating UNC’s Jordan Robison in an 8-12 decision, securing the first win of the season for the Mountaineers and Tim Flynn’s his first win as head coach.
“This is the coolest song ever (Country Roads),” said Flynn. “I wanna hear that a thousand times.”
Flynn however would like to see his team remain level-headed after winning its season opener.
“I try to really preach not getting too high or too low,” said Flynn. “We’ll just go back to work tomorrow and try to fix some things.”
The Mountaineers travel to Roanoke, Virginia this weekend to wrestle in the Hokie Open, an annual tournament hosted by Virginia Tech starting this Sunday, November 4th, at 9 a.m.