WLU Wrestlers Battle Cardinals to the Wire
November 30, 2017
WEST LIBERTY, W.Va. – The West Liberty University wrestling team battled No. 23 Wheeling Jesuit to the wire here Thursday night, forcing the Cardinals to come from behind for a hard-fought 29-12 victory before a raucous crowd at the ASRC.
Coach Mitch Smith's Hilltoppers got a big early lift when Darius Bunch upset 2-time All-American D.J. Warner in the match of the night at 133 pounds.
Warner entered the night ranked No. 2 in the nation at 133 but Bunch came up big with a takedown in the waning seconds of the third period to forge a 3-3 tie and send the bout into overtime.
The West Liberty sophomore finished off the win in style with a takedown and back points in the first sudden victory period to notch a 9-3 win.
"Darius took some early losses," Smith said, "but he's been getting better and better with every match. That's a big win against a nationally-ranked All-American and definitely something he can build on."
The Black and Gold had also picked up a forfeit at 125 so when Jesuit finally got on the board with a decision at 141, West Liberty still held a 9-3 lead.
The Hilltoppers padded that margin with another thriller as Tanner Sutton mounted a late rally in his 149-pound match to force overtime and delivered a takedown in the first sudden victory period for a 9-7 win against the Cardinals' Daniel Romero.
Wheeling Jesuit got a technical fall from Connor Craig at 157 but West Liberty was still able to take a 12-8 lead into intermission.
The Hilltoppers weren't able to build on their momentum when action resumed as the nationally-ranked Cardinals' depth at the upper weights proved too much to overcome.
Nevertheless, Smith was encouraged by his team's performance.
"I'm proud of the effort we got from all of our guys tonight," Smith said. "We came up with some big wins and put ourselves in position to pick up a couple more but just weren't able to finish. We didn't get the result we wanted tonight but we're moving in the right direction."
The West Liberty wrestlers will be back in action again on Saturday when they head to Washington, Pa. for a 2 p.m. dual with Washington & Jefferson.
No. 23 Wheeling Jesuit 29, West Liberty 12
125 Corey Secrist (WLU) by forfeit WLU 6-0
133 Darius Bunch (WLU) dec. Dustin Warner (WJU), SV-1 9-3 WLU 9-0
141 Tyler Warner (WJU) dec. Josh Ridgeway (WLU), 4-0 WLU 9-3
149 Tanner Sutton (WLU) dec. Daniel Romero (WJU), SV-1 9-7
157 Connor Craig (WJU) tech fall Logan Arneson (WLU) 17-2 5:23 WLU 12-8
165 Keegan Driscoll (WJU) dec. Bryce Coleman (WLU), 6-4 WLU 12-11
174 Justice Avery (WJU) dec. Chase Morgan (WLU), 11-5 WJU 14-12
184 Aiden Pasiuk (WJU) maj. dec. Chris Cook (WLU), 12-4 WJU 18-12
197 Sawyer Leppla (WJU) fall Logan Kemp (WLU), 6:21 WJU 24-12
285 Terrance Fanning (WJU) tech fall Ronnie D'Amico (WLU), 17-2 4:45
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