Hilltoppers Start Fast Against No. 6 UPJ


JOHNSTOWN, Pa. The West Liberty University wrestling team got off to a fast start here Friday night but No. 6-ranked Pitt-Johnstown came back strong to claim a 37-13 decision at the UPJ Sports Center.

It was the season opener for Coach Mitch Smith's Hilltoppers and Corey Secrist wasted little time putting the Black and Gold's first points on the board with a 15-7 major decision against the Mountain Cats' Sam Holandez in their 125-pound lid-lifter.

Transfer Darius Bunch made his West Liberty debut a memorable one when he pinned UPJ's Noah Burkhart at 5:17 of their 133-pound match to give the Hilltoppers an early 10-0 lead.

Coached by WLU Hall of Famer Pat Pecora, Pitt-Johnstown has six nationally-ranked wrestlers in the top eight weight classes and they were able to swing momentum into the Mountain Cats' favor.

Pitt-Johnstown turned the tables with five straight wins - two by fall and three by technical fall - to take a 25-10 lead before Chris Cook was able to stop the bleeding for the Hilltoppers.

Cook battled Steven Edwards to a 3-3 through regulation but dominated the first tiebreaker period to earn an 8-3 decision, cutting the UPJ lead to 25-13.

That proved to be as close as the Black and Gold could come as the hosts notched back-to-back falls at 197 and 285 to close out the match.

The Hilltoppers head to Cleveland on Sunday to compete in the Case Western Reserve Open.

WRESTLING No. 6 Pitt-Johnstown 37, West Liberty 13

125: Corey Secrist (WLU) md. Sam Holandez, 15-7
133: Darius Bunch (WLU) p. Noah Burkhart, 5:17
141: Chris Eddins (UPJ) md. Josh Ridgeway, 10-2
149: Corey Falleroni (UPJ) p. Tanner Sutton, 3:32
157: Cody Law (UPJ) tf. Josh Cornell, 25-10
165: Devin Austin (UPJ) tf. Dillon Shaw, 16-1
174: Tyler Reinhart (UPJ) tf. Chance Morgan, 24-6
184: Chris Cook (WLU) d. Steven Edwards (UPJ), 8-3 (TB-1)
197: Levi Niebauer (UPJ) p. Logan Kemp, 3:46
285: Damon Sims (UPJ) p. Ronnie D'Amico, 4:34

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