The University of Oklahoma wrestling team sent five seniors out in style as Oklahoma topped new Big 12 opponent West Virginia, 25-14, in its final home match of the 2012-13 season in front of 679 fans at McCasland Field House on Sunday afternoon. The Sooners bid adieu to Scott Chene, Dillon Dennis, Bubby Graham, Keldrick Hall and Nolan McBryde as OU claimed six of the ten matches against WVU.
With the win, OU improved to 6-4 on the year and 2-1 in Big 12 competition, while WVU fell to 1-5 on the year and 0-2 in conference action after it suffered a loss to No. 2 OSU on Friday night.
"Our goal tonight was to keep West Virginia on the attack," explained head coach Mark Cody.
"We told the guys not to be satisfied with a major decision, don't be satisfied with winning your match by three or four points," Cody continued. "You have the option of a technical fall or pin, and that's what we were looking for tonight - to just keep on scoring as the match went on."
The Sooners did just that with two technical falls, three major decisions and just one decision on the afternoon.
Two of the five seniors went out with wins after Graham secured a 14-3 major decision against the Mountaineers' Dominic Prezzia in the 165-pound matchup, and heavyweight Keldric Hall secured the victory in the last match of the afternoon, after a 2-1 bout with WVU's Phil Mandzik.
"It's been an amazing experience," stated Graham. "I have only been in Oklahoma for two years, but it feels like it could have been my whole career; I have guys on the team that I consider my brothers now."
"I'm definitely going to miss wrestling at Oklahoma, here in McCasland, all the fans and people are great," explained Graham. "Not only will I miss wrestling here, but it's been an amazing experience to be coached by Coach Cody, he's a big part of my wrestling career and I'm thankful for that."
McBryde took to the mat in a valiant effort, but dropped a 14-4 major decision against Lance Bryson in the middle of a late West Virginia push that included Mountaineer wins in the 174-, 184- and 197-pound bouts.
Dennis and Chene, who were also honored, did not participate in the dual.
Despite the seniors' efforts, if it wasn't for the performances of four underclassmen, the day may not have been as sweet.
Cody Brewer, the nation's No. 10 133-pounder, was the first Sooner on the board with an impressive 24-10 major decision over WVU's Colin Johnston in the second match of the day. Brewer, who leads the team in takedowns, major decisions and reversals, totaled a team-leading nine takedowns on the afternoon in his rout over Johnston.
The nation's top-ranked 141-pounder Kendric Maple followed Brewer's lead with a 10-2 major decision over WVU's No. 14 Nathan Pennesi. Pennesi was Maple's fifth-straight ranked opponent, and eighth of the year for the standout redshirt junior, who remains undefeated throughout his 2012-13 campaign with a 19-0 overall and 9-0 record in dual competition.
Fellow redshirt junior, No. 14 Nick Lester, had a tremendous performance against the Mountaineers when he blanked Timothy Wheeling in the 149-pound bout with a 17-0 tech fall in 5:57. The victory was the fourth consecutive win for Lester, who is on a 3-0 run in dual competition with wins against Iowa State, Northern Iowa and now, West Virginia.
Justin DeAngelis filled in at 157-pounds in a five-match win streak for the Sooners. After Lester's thrilling performance, DeAngelis followed with a tech fall victory of his own against West Virginia's Jason Luster. The redshirt sophomore from Tulsa, Okla., scored 14 points in the second period to earn the 18-2 victory, and secure the tech fall, the third of his career and first this season, in 4:51. With the win, DeAngelis remains undefeated in dual competition throughout his two-year Oklahoma career.
Although the Sooners celebrated their senior day on Sunday, the season is far from over. Three duals remain on the schedule with contests against Lehigh, Virginia Tech and Missouri, along with a trip to the National Duels in Corvallis Oregon in the middle of February.
Postseason action begins in March with the Big 12 Tournament in Stillwater, Okla. (March 8-9), followed by NCAA's in Des Moines, Iowa, March 21-23.
No. 9/13 Oklahoma: 25
West Virginia: 14
125: Shane Young (WVU) dec. Kyle Garcia (OU), 5-4 WVU, 3-0
133: No. 10 Cody Brewer (OU) major dec. Colin Johnston (WVU), 24-10 OU, 4-3
141: No. 1 Kendric Maple (OU) major dec. No. 14 Nathan Pennesi (WVU), 10-2 OU, 8-3
149: No. 11 Nick Lester (OU) tech fall Tim Wheeling (WVU), 17-0 (5:57) OU, 13-3
157: Justin DeAngelis (OU) tech fall Jason Luster (WVU), 18-2 (4:51) OU, 18-3
165: No. 4 Bubby Graham (OU) major dec. Dominic Prezzia (WVU), 14-3OU, 22-3
174: Bubba Scheffel (WVU) major dec. Matt Reed (OU), 12-4 WVU, 22-7
184: Lance Bryson (WVU) major dec. Nolan McBryde (OU), 13-4WVU, 22-11
197: A.J. Vizcarrondo (WVU) dec. Brad Johnson (OU), 8-5 WVU, 22-14
285: Keldrick Hall (OU) dec. Phil Mandzik (WVU), 2-1 OU, 25-14