WEST LIBERTY, W.Va. – West Liberty made a big splash in its dual meet opener Friday night with an 18-16 victory against No. 11 Pittsburgh-Johnstown at the ASRC.
It marked the second consective year that coach Brian Davis’s Hilltoppers had opened their dual meet slate by knocking off a nationally ranked UPJ squad. Last season’s lid-lifter saw West Liberty pull out a come-from-behind 20-17 nod against a No. 8-ranked Mountain Cat squad.
Friday’s match was also decided in the final bout as West Liberty’s Mike Carpenter muscled out a 3-2 win at 285 pounds to send the Hilltopper fans home happy at the end of the see-saw affair.
The visitors got off to a fast start. The Hilltoppers’ Cole Nace earned an 8-4 win at 133 pounds but UPJ picked up a fall at 125 and a major decision at 141 for a 10-3 lead heading into the fourth match of the night.
Nick Wykoff gave West Liberty a big lift at 149 with a 3-2 decision against UPJ All-American Jack Bachman, touching off a run of four consecutive decisions for the hosts. Art Hobley (157), Mike Emery (165) and Preseason All-American Matt Littleton (174) swept their matches to give the Hilltoppers a 15-10 lead heading into the final three matches.
The Mountain Cats weren’t finished yet as they picked up back-to-back wins at 184 and 197 to go up 16-15 but that only served to set the stage for WLU’s Carpenter to come through with the match-clinching win.