WEST LIBERTY, W.Va. – The No. 4-ranked West Liberty University wrestling team will be shooting for its second straight Mountain East Conference championship here Saturday when WLU hosts the third annual MEC Tournament inside the ASRC.
Wrestling gets under way at 10 a.m. with preliminary and first-round matches. The championship finals will start a half-hour after the conclusion of the place matches and will be live-streamed on Topper Station and the MEC Digital Network.
Tickets are priced at $10 for adults, $8 for students, senior citizens and children. Fans are reminded that face coverings are mandatory for all spectators and game-day staff not tested and designated as Tier One personnel for all events hosted inside the ASRC regardless of vaccination status. In addition, the university strongly recommends and encourages fans to observe social distancing protocols at all times while inside the facility.
Wrestling fans will be able to follow the action in real time through a variety of platforms at the MEC's Championship Central page. This page contains links to TrackWrestling's live scoring updates, live video streams of every match on both mats throughout the day and a link to the Championship Finals live stream telecast with play-by-play commentary from local wrestling personalities.
Here's a link to the page: MEC Championship Central
The defending champion Hilltoppers once again stack up as prohibitive favorites with six No. 1 seeds: Cole Laya (125); Tyler Warner (141), Chase Morgan (165), Ty McGeary (174), Connor Craig (184) and Francesco Borsellino (285). Laya, Craig, Kemp and Borsellino are defending champions while Warner is a returning MEC champ, having prevailed at 133 a year ago.
Davis & Elkins and Alderson Broaddus split the four remaining No. 1 seeds.
The Battlers have the only other returning MEC champion in Jamar Williams, who edged Chase Morgan, 5-3, in last year's 165-pound final. Williams is the No. 1 seed at 157 in this year's event.
Williams' teammate Gino Sita. who lost to the Hilltoppers' Kemp in last year's 197-pound final, is the No. 1 seed at 197 this year in what might be the most competitive bracket of the championships. Kemp is ranked No. 4 nationally at 197 but is only the third seed in this event. Sita is ranked No. 7 nationally with Glenville State's Jordan Williams – the only wrestler to defeat Kemp this season – seeded No. 2.
The Senators' two No. 1 seeds are Craig Cook at 149 and Vincent Scollo at 133. Cook, ranked No. 11 nationally, was the 149-pound runner-up a year ago after falling to WLU's Alec Cook in the title bout. Scollo was a fourth-place finisher in last year's tournament.
West Liberty also has a significant edge in the number of nationally-ranked wrestlers. Laya, a defending national champion, is No. 1 at 125; Warner, a 2-time national champion at 133, is a somewhat-puzzling No. 12 at 141; McGeary is No. 3 at 174; Craig, another former national champion, is No. 2 at 184; Kemp is No. 4 at 197 and Borsellino is No. 6 at 285. Alderson Broaddus' Sita and D&E's Cook are the only other nationally-ranked wrestlers in the field.
Joining the Hilltoppers, Alderson Broaddus and Davis & Elkins in the tournament field are teams from Fairmont State, Glenville State, Notre Dame (Ohio) and Wheeling.
In addition to crowning a team champion, the MEC will select the tournament's Most Outstanding Wrestler and hand out All-Conference honors at the end of the day. Individual champions will be recognized as first-team All-MEC honorees with championship runners-up earning second-team laurels. Third Place match winners will receive All-MEC honorable mention.