Clutch Win Lifts No. 16 WLU Mat Squad

January 31, 2018

WEST LIBERTY, W.Va. Freshman Chance Morgan pulled out a last-minute victory in the final bout of the night here Wednesday to lift the No. 16-ranked West Liberty University wrestling team past Waynesburg University, 20-19, on Teacher Appreciation Night at the ASRC.

The match started with the 197-pound weight class and Coach Mitch Smith's Hilltoppers (5-5) found themselves in an early 10-0 hole after the Yellow Jackets (12-8), who rode a 5-match winning streak into Wednesday's action, picked up two decisions and a major decision at 197, 285 and 125.

West Liberty got on the board with a forfeit at 133 and Josh Ridgeway closed the gap to 10-9 at intermission with a 6-3 decision against Matt Lascola at 141 pounds.

Dr. Michael Turrentine, Dean of the Gary E. West College of Business and the former Faculty Athletics Representative for the university, was honored during intermission as part of the Teacher Appreciation Night festivities. Dr. Turrentine also served as honorary coach on the WLU bench.

When action resumed, Tanner Sutton put the hosts on top, 13-10, with an 11-1 major decision against R.J. Hall at 149 and Josh Cornell followed that up with another major decision, rolling to a 13-4 win against Dan Verhovsec in their 157-pound bout, to give West Liberty a 17-10 advantage with three matches remaining.

Waynesburg didn't go away quietly. The Yellow Jackets kept their upset hopes alive with a decision at 165 and a first-period fall from Caleb Baxter at 174 put the visitors up, 19-17.

That set up a winner-take-all match at 184 between Morgan, a freshman from Ripley, W.Va., and Yellow Jacket sophomore Adam Rigney.

Rigney grabbed an early advantage with a first-period takedown and carried a 3-1 lead into the final period. Morgan fought his way free for an escape with a minute left in the match, trimming the deficit to 3-2, and brought the crowd to its feet with a takedown just before the wrestlers tumbled out of bounds with 26 seconds to go.

Now leading, 4-3, the Hilltopper freshman was able to ride out the final 26 ticks to seal the win.

The West Liberty mat squad returns to action on Sunday with a 2 p.m. match at Seton Hill in Greensburg, Pa.

No. 16 West Liberty 20, Waynesburg 19
125: Tristan Buxton (Way) d. Corey Secrist, 6-1
133: Darius Bunch (WLU) won by forfeit
141: Josh Ridgeway (WLU) d. Matt Lascola (Way), 6-3
149: Tanner Sutton (WLU) md. R.J. Hall (Way), 11-1
157: Josh Cornell (WLU) md. Dan Verhovsec (Way), 13-4
165: Derek Hull (Way) d. Miles Mazik, 9-5
174: Caleb Baxter (Way) p. Jacob Ramsey (WLU), 1:52
184: Chance Morgan (WLU) d. Adam Rigney (Way), 4-3
197: Ken Burrs (Way) d. Logan Kemp, 7-2
285: Jake Evans (Way) md. Ronnie D`Amico, 17-7

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