Back-to-Back MEC Titles for West Liberty Wrestling

Back-to-Back MEC Titles for West Liberty Wrestling

WEST LIBERTY, W.Va. – The No. 4-ranked West Liberty University wrestling team used a strong finish to pull away to its second straight Mountain East Conference championship Saturday night inside the ASRC.

   Coach Danny Irwin’s Hilltoppers crowned champions in four of the 10 weight classes with eight members of the Black and Gold earning All-MEC recognition as West Liberty held off challenges from Glenville State and Notre Dame (Ohio) to prevail for the second consecutive year.

   “It’s always good to win your conference championship and it’s even better when you win back-to-back championships on your own mats,” Irwin said. “It’s definitely one of the boxes we look to check off coming into every year and we had some guys really step up today to help make that happen.”

   The Hilltoppers’ strong performance in the championship finals allowed the hosts to finish with 131.5 points in the one-day event. Glenville State was second with 117.5 with Notre Dame settling for third with 111 points. Davis & Elkins (97), Alderson Broaddus (85.5), Fairmont State (41) and Wheeling (15) rounded out the team scoring.

   With 120 points following the third- and fifth-place matches, West Liberty entered the championship finals with a slim lead over its closest pursuers but Glenville State (115.5) and Notre Dame (107) were still within striking distance. The Pioneers even had the edge in numbers with seven Glenville wrestlers advancing to the championship finals to WLU’s five.

   Defending MEC, regional and national champion Cole Laya eased those concerns for the home fans in the first championship match of the night, overwhelming Glenville’s Kevin Meloni in a 17-0 technical fall to give West Liberty a little breathing room.

   There were a few nervous moments when the Pioneers’ Ethan Hardy upset two-time national champion Tyler Warner, 3-0, in the 141-pound final but the remaining three Hilltoppers all found their way to the top step on the podium.

   Chase Morgan – runner-up at 165 a year ago – started the title-clinching parade with a gritty 9-7 decision over Davis & Elkins’ Wiley Houser to walk away with his first MEC championship.

   Ty McGeary, ranked No. 3 nationally at 174 and a third-place finisher in last year’s MEC Tournament, had the honor of mathematically clinching WLU’s second straight conference championship with a dominating 10-3 decision over Glenville’s Hunter DeLong in the 174-pound final.

   Francesco Borsellino, the nation’s No. 6-ranked 285-pounder, brought the crowd to its feet in the final match of the evening by pinning Notre Dame’s Laron Parks at 3:28 of their heavyweight finale.

   “After getting his year off to kind of a slow start, Chase is starting to come into his own again,” Irwin said. “It was exciting to see him wrestle the way he did today. It seems like our other three champions are also starting to get dialed in, judging from the point differential in their matches.

   “That being said, if we are going to reach the goals we set for ourselves as a team, we have to get better. Happy with the win today but we have two priorities going forward. We need to figure out who we want in our starting 10 and we have to lock down our last few areas of improvement. We have a lot of guys capable of answering the bell. It’s up to us to identify who’s going to be there for us in the end.”

   Every West Liberty wrestler won at least one match on Saturday and placed in the top four of his respective weight class.

   Drake Kendrex (184) and Logan Kemp (197) earned honorable mention All-MEC honors with third-place finishes with Luke Miller (133) and Christian Rivera (157) placing fourth. The individual champions received first-team All-MEC honors with runners-up being recognized as second-team All-MEC.

   The West Liberty wrestlers return to the mat on Feb. 5 when they head to Berea, Ohio to compete in the John Summa Memorial, hosted by Baldwin Wallace University.

 

MEN'S WRESTLING

2022 Mountain East Conference Championships

(at West Liberty, W.Va.)

TEAM SCORING

    1. WEST LIBERTY 131.5; 2. Glenville State 117.5; 3. Notre Dame (Ohio) 111; 4. Davis & Elkins 97; 5. Alderson Broaddus 85.5; 6. Fairmont State 41; 7. Wheeling 15

Most Outstanding Wrestler

157: Allesandro Ramirez, Notre Dame (Ohio)

Championship Finals

125: #1 Cole Laya (WLU) tf. Kevin Meloni (GSC), 4:22 (17-0)

133: Vincent Scollo (DE) d. Alec Fulwider (GSC), 10-4

141: Ethan Hardy (GSC) d. #12 Tyler Warner (WLU), 3-0

149: #11 Craig Cook (DE) d. Gavin Quiocho (GSC), 7-5

157: Allesandro Ramirez (NDC) d. Jamar Williams (AB), 5-3

165: Chase Morgan (WLU) d. Wiley Houser (DE), 9-7

174: #3 Ty McGeary (WLU) d. Hunter DeLong (GSC), 10-3

184: Logan Hall (NDC) d. Cole Houser (GSC), 3-2

197: #7 Gino Sita (AB) won by default Jordan Williams (GSC), inj.

285: #6 Francesco Borsellino (WLU) p. Laron Parks (NDC), 3:28

3rd-4th Place

125: Noah Hodges (AB) d. Nick Ammirati (DE), 3-2

133: Chris Barthelemy (AB) d. Luke Miller (WLU), 7-4

141: Dylan Burnoski (NDC) d. Richard Davis (AB), 6-0

149: Matt Kaufmann (NDC) d. Jacob Simpson (WLU), 4-2

157: Noah Tarr (DE) d. Christian Rivera (WLU), 11-5

165: Cale Hoskinson (NDC) p. Cade Moisey (FSU), 2:42

174: Hank Carey (NDC) d. Brad Galassi (DE), 11-4

184: Drake Kendrex (WLU) d. Michael Schneider (DE), 6-4

197: #4 Logan Kemp (WLU) md. Thomas Schmitt (NDC), 14-1

285: Demetrius Daniels (AB) d. T.J. Boyd (FSU), TB-1 4-1

5th-6th Place

125: Brett Strahndahl (NDC) won by forfeit

133: Chase Montgomery (WU) won by forfeit

141: Tom Williams (DE) md. Levi Smith (FSU), 13-4

149: Alex Jablonski (FSU) d. Nate Taylor (AB), 9-7

157: Tristan Pugh (GSC) p. Brennon Reid (WU), 3:55

165: Hunter Jones (GSC) won by forfeit

174: Greg Griffith (AB) won by forfeit

184: Riley Gallagher (FSU) won by default over Ryan Weitz (AB), inj.

197: Josh Sanders (DE) p. Jaxson Turner (FSC), 4:26

285: Gavin Shamblin (GSC) md. Clarouly Meca (WU), 8-0


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