In front of a record-breaking 4,517 fans, the West Virginia University wrestling team beat Clarion, 25-13, in the Beast portion of the Beauty and the Beast event.
Beauty and the Beast, an annual event in which the WVU wrestling and gymnastics teams compete at the same time, ended positively for both as the WVU gymnastics team also picked up wins over Maryland and Pitt.
To kick off the event, Zeke Moisey (125) and Matthew Schmitt (133) pinned back to back opponents. Immediately, the Mountaineers (6-7) were up 12-0 and looking dominant. Moisey pinned Gavin Park of Clarion in 2:17 after two takedowns; Schmitt pinned Roshaun Cooley in 4:31 after three takedowns.
“Every time Zeke’s started us off this year, with major or just tough-nose, hard-fought battle, we’ve won. We need that from him, and he’s a leader,” head coach Sammie Henson said.
Clarion didn’t add points to the board until 141, when Brock Zacherl won a 3-2 decision over WVU’s Christian Monserrat, stemming from a first period takedown and a win-solidiying escape in the second. Monserrat added a point for a third period escape, but it wasn’t enough.
In 149, Kyler Rea and Taylor Ortz of the Golden Eagles squared off. Both Rea and Ortz recorded a first period takedown and an escape to tie the score at three going into the second. In the second period, Ortz added an escape and takedown, and Rea battled back with a third period escape, but the score ended in 7-4 decision fashion. Clarion closed the gap to 12-6.
WVU’s Hunter Jones (157), who previously this season had gone 10-13, won his 11th match against Mac Tanner in overtime with a takedown that made the crowd at the Coliseum explode in cheer. Jones recorded an escape in the second to take the lead, but Tanner rallied back with an escape of his own in the third to send the match to OT. Jones added the overtime takedown and ended the match 3-1, effectively adding more cushion room for the Mountaineers’ score.
“He’s been behind Zach Moore all year, and for Hunter Jones to go out there and get a win and be a West Virginia native, we’re proud of that,” Henson said.
More WVU points were recorded at 165. Nick Kiussis shut out Max Wohlabaugh, 5-0, after a first period takedown, a second period escape, a point for penalty, and an additional point for riding time. At this point, the Mountaineers were up 18-6.
On senior recognition night, Parker VonEgidy, one of two WVU senior wrestlers, entered 174 against Dominic Rigous of Clarion. A second period near fall added VonEgidy’s only points as he fell in a 7-4 decision.
In 184, WVU’s Brenden McRill shut out Taylor Cahill in a 3-0 decision. The freshman recorded his 10th career win, stemming from an escape, a penalty, and riding time.
To conclude WVU’s scoring efforts, in his last Coliseum showing, Jake Smith recorded a dominant 12-4 major decision against Dustin Conti. Two takedowns, a near fall, an escape, two penalties, and riding time secured his last home victory.
Clarion (10-7) added their last points of the day at heavyweight. Toby Cahill, brother to 184’s Taylor Cahill, beat Mountaineer Brandon Ngati 12-2 major decision style. By that point, even the four points couldn’t close the winning gap that WVU had created, and the Mountaineers took home the win, 25-13.
“Overall, I thought we dominated, and that’s what we needed going into Big 12’s,” Henson said.
The Mountaineers will now head to Tulsa, Oklahoma to compete in the Big 12 Championships on March 3 and 4.