WVU opens season with Big 12 win over Northern Colorado

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Redshirt junior David Smith earned his first pin in a Gold and Blue singlet at 285 pounds, as the West Virginia University wrestling team topped Big 12 foe Northern Colorado, 22-14, in its 2018-19 season opener, on Thursday, at the WVU Coliseum, in Morgantown.

"I like to win," first-year coach Tim Flynn said. "We weren't doing well at first, and Dave's pin kind of turned things around and changed the momentum. It was an exciting match. Country roads is the coolest song ever. I want to hear that song a thousand times."

With the win, the Mountaineers (1-0, 1-0) improved to 3-0 all-time against the Bears (0-1, 0-1).

Sophomore Nick Kiussis started things off for the Mountaineers, taking on Macoy Flanagan at 165 pounds. In the first period, Kiussis scored a takedown and an escape to take a 3-2 lead into the second. Flanagan started in the down position, earning an escape of his own. However, it didn't take long for Kiussis to notch his second takedown of the evening, carrying his lead into the third, ahead 5-4. Kiussis then added two more points in the final period, walking away with the 7-6 decision and giving the Mountaineers the 3-0 advantage in the match.

The Bears evened the score at 3-3, as Seth Bogulski collected a 3-1 decision over true freshman Josh Ramirez at 174 pounds.

West Virginia then fell into an 11-3 hole, dropping back-to-back matches at 184 and 197 pounds, respectively, before Smith pinned Robert Winters with 10 seconds left in the second period to bring the Mountaineers within two at 11-9.

Following a 10-minute intermission, Northern Colorado's Sean Cannon topped redshirt freshman KJ Fenstermacher in a 4-1 decision at 125 pounds, increasing the Bears lead to five at 14-9.

The Mountaineers continued to put up a fight, though, as the squad turned to its upperclassmen to win its final four bouts of the evening to come out on top with a 22-14 match victory.

It all started with redshirt sophomore Matthew Schmitt, as the Platte City, Missouri, native collected a huge 13-5 major decision over Christopher Sandoval at 133 pounds, cutting WVU's deficit to one at 14-13. Schmitt used four first-period takedowns, as he took an 8-3 advantage into the second period. Both wrestlers remained scoreless in the second, as Sandoval started in the down position to start the third. Sandoval earned an escape, but Schmitt collected a takedown and two nearfall points for a 12-4 lead. Sandoval notched a late penalty point, but it wasn't enough, as Schmitt tacked on the riding point for the 13-5 major decision.

Down 14-13 in the match, redshirt senior Joe Wheeling pushed the Mountaineers in front with a 7-1 decision over Owen Lamb at 141 pounds. Classmate Christian Monserrat helped WVU seal the deal with an 8-2 decision over Mason Hulse at 149 pounds, increasing the Mountaineers lead to five at 19-14.

Redshirt junior Zachary Moore capped the night for the Mountaineers, as he used a trio of takedowns, a reversal and four near fall points for a 12-8 decision over Jordan Robison at 157 pounds.

Looking ahead, WVU will hop on I-79 South to compete in the Hokie Open on Sunday, Nov. 4, at the Berglund Center, in Roanoke, Virginia. Action is slated to begin at 9 a.m., with 17 wrestlers competing at the event.

165: Nick Kiussis dec. Macoy Flanagan, 7-6
174: Seth Bogulski dec. Josh Ramirez, 3-1
184: Dalton Robertson tech. fall Jackson Moomau, 17-1 [TF - 5:37]
197: No. 20/-/20 Jacob Seely dec. Noah Adams, 12-9
HWT: David Smith wins by fall Robert Winters, F 4:50
125: Sean Cannon dec. KJ Fenstermacher, 4-1
133: No. 18/19/20 Matthew Schmitt major dec. Chris Sandoval, 13-5
141: Joe Wheeling dec. Owen Lamb, 7-1
149: Christian Monserrat dec. Mason Hulse, 8-2
157: Zachary Moore dec. Jordan Robison, 12-8


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