With the start of the wrestling season fast approaching, the Mountaineers’ starting lineup was solidified at the 2019 WVU Wrestle-Off on Saturday.
The Wrestle-Off was the first appearance of the season for the Mountaineers with veterans and newcomers alike showcasing their skills. Wrestlers in each weight class competed against each other in a round-robin format to determine who will start in each weight class.
Sophomore Joey Thomas defeated freshman Caleb Graber twice Saturday to secure the 125-pound spot. Thomas competed as a reserve last season, going 3-8 in duals and 10-5 in tournaments. A Mount Airy, Maryland native, Thomas was a three-time Maryland state champion in high school and wrestled unattached after redshirting in 2017-18.
Lucas Seibert defeated Wyatt Lutz in a best-of-three to win the 133-pound class. Seibert, a sophomore, wrestled as a reserve last season, losing his only dual match and going 9-6 in tournaments.
Weirton, West Virginia native, Caleb Rea, defeated freshman Jeffrey Boyd twice to win the 141-pound class. Caleb was a starter last season, wrestling in the 133 and 141 classes. He went 1-5 in duals and 17-10 in tournaments. Rea, a sophomore, was a four-time West Virginia state placer in high school.
Junior Kyler Rea prevailed twice over freshman Anthony Bartolo to win the 149-pound weight class. Rea started and wrestled in the 149 and 157 classes last season, losing his only dual match and going 8-7 in tournaments.
Alex Hornfeck won the class after round-robin play with wins over Luke Sorboro and Hunter Jones. Jones also defeated Walker Heard, who picked up a win over Sorboro. Hornfeck redshirted last season and wrestled unattached, going 19-9 in tournaments.
After capturing 19 wins in the 165 weight last season, Nick Kuissis only needed to win two matches Saturday to secure the job for this year. Kuissis’ wins came over freshmen Brock Godzin and River Shettler. As the starter last season, Kuissis, a junior, finished with a 11-7 dual record and an 8-5 tournament record.
Scott Joll will see action as a true freshman after defeating fellow freshmen Isiah Casto and Mitchell Potterf. Joll finished third at the Pennsylvania state championship in the AAA classification as a senior at Belle Vernon High School last year.
Jackson Moomau won both of his matches Saturday to win the 184-pound class. A sophomore, Moomau will look to improve on his 0-12 dual and 3-5 tournament records from his time as a reserve last season.
One of the best returners from last season’s squad, Noah Adams won the 197-pound class with two wins over freshman Jack Malone. A sophomore, Adams won 19 matches last season, going 8-10 in duals and 11-5 at tournaments.
Brandon Ngati and Sean Mullican both picked up wins in the heavyweight class Saturday. Mullican defeated freshman Michael Wolfgram and Ngati defeated Mullican. Ngati, a senior, went 7-8 in duals and 8-9 in tournaments in the heavyweight class last season while Mullican, a sophomore, went 10-8 in tournaments in the class.
The wrestling team opens the season next Sunday, Nov. 3 with the Southeast Open at Virginia Tech. The team will compete in 12 dual matches this season, eight in the Big 12. The team’s first match at home in the Coliseum will take place Dec. 5 against the Pittsburgh Panthers.