WVU wrestling heads west for three conference duals

Gold and Blue Nation

The West Virginia University wrestling team opens the month of February on the road, as the Mountaineers compete against a trio of Big 12 affiliate members on Saturday, Feb. 6.

WVU (5-2, 1-1) heads to Laramie, Wyoming, for a 12 p.m. ET dual at Wyoming (2-2, 1-1), followed by a pair of neutral-site matches against Fresno State (0-3, 0-1) and Air Force (0-3, 0-3) in Greeley, Colorado, later that evening. The Mountaineers match against the Bulldogs is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. ET, followed by Air Force at approximately 9:30 p.m. ET.

Live stats will be available through TrackWrestling.com. Direct links to the video stream and live stats can be found on the wrestling schedule page at WVUsports.com.

“The biggest thing for us is to try and perform consistently,” third-year coach Tim Flynn said. “You can go out and wrestle a good team, have a good performance and not really get the win. Even in winning, you can maybe perform poorly. I think trying to get our guys to be consistent and always bring the same energy and effort to the table is a big part in the next step for us.”

Over the last six years, the conference has added eight affiliate members in the sport of wrestling. In the summer of 2015, six schools of the Western Wrestling Conference – Air Force, North Dakota State, Northern Colorado, South Dakota State, Utah Valley and Wyoming – announced its addition to the Big 12’s wrestling competition. Two years later, the Big 12 added Fresno State and Northern Iowa to give the conference a 12-team field.

Saturday’s match marks the Mountaineers and the Cowboys third straight meeting as league foes, with WVU claiming its first victory in the all-time series last season. West Virginia took down Wyoming in a 17-16 battle on Feb. 22, 2020, at University High, in Morgantown. WVU won five-of-10 bouts, including a pair of major decisions, en route to its first conference win of the 2019-20 campaign. Most notably, then-freshman Scott Joll registered a 9-7 decision over No. 12 Hayden Hastings at 174 pounds, marking his first collegiate win over a ranked opponent.

Additionally, Saturday marks the Mountaineers and the Bulldogs first-ever meeting, while West Virginia and Air Force set to meet for the second time in program history. The two squads last competed on Feb. 2, 2018, as WVU overcame an 18-12 deficit to defeat the Falcons, 19-18, on match point criteria for its first Big 12 road win in program history, at Clune Arena, in USAF Academy, Colorado.

In its last weekend of competition, West Virginia topped its first ranked opponent since the 2018-19 season, as the Mountaineers took down No. 17 Northern Colorado in a 25-11 contest on Jan. 31, at the WVU Coliseum, in Morgantown. Trailing 8-0 to start the match, West Virginia won seven of the last eight bouts to secure the victory.

For the first time this season, WVU checked in at No. 20 in Intermat’s Dual Meet Rankings. The Mountaineers have won three of their last four matches for a 5-2 overall record, their best start to a season since the 2015-16 campaign.

Additionally, West Virginia received votes in the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) Top-25 Poll for the second straight week. As a team, WVU was last ranked on Jan. 14, 2016.

Individually, four Mountaineers appear in the national rankings, announced by several wrestling publications this week. Redshirt junior Noah Adams, who is 7-0 on the year and owns a 39-match win streak that dates back to Nov. 3, 2019, maintains his No. 1 rankings at 197 pounds by Intermat, FloWrestling and The Open Mat. Adams paces the Mountaineers with 27 match points this season and has outscored his opponents 59-15.

Redshirt junior Killian Cardinale (125) moves up two spots in The Open Mat’s poll, coming in at No. 22, while freshman Peyton Hall (165) moves up one spot in FloWrestling’s top-20 poll and two spots in The Open Mat’s top-33 poll, checking in at No. 23. Redshirt freshman Jeffrey Boyd also entered the national rankings for the first time in his collegiate career, appearing at No. 32 by The Open Mat at 141 pounds.

Looking ahead, the Mountaineers remain on the road and trek to Stillwater, Oklahoma, for the Cowboy Challenge on Sunday, Feb. 14. Competition is set to begin at 12 p.m. ET.

For more information on the Mountaineers, visit WVUsports.com and follow WVUWrestling on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

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