Connect with us

WVU Wrestling

WVU Wrestlers Riding Momentum for Upcoming Road Trip



PITTSBURGH, Pa.— Prior to Sunday’s upset victory, West Virginia had been struggling on the mat against Pittsburgh.

The Mountaineers had been defeated in back-to-back matches by the Panthers, including a 37-3 drubbing the last time West Virginia was inside the Fitzgerald Field House, the largest margin of victory for Pittsburgh in the rivalry since 1978.

West Virginia was able to reverse its fortune by taking five of the first six matches en route to downing the No. 21 ranked Panthers, giving the Mountaineers their first win over a ranked opponent in two years.

West Virginia Earns Upset Victory Over No. 21 Pitt in Backyard Brawl Dual Meet

“I think this is very big for our program,” Flynn said. “It’s a rivalry, so that makes it a little extra special. Overall, though, you’re still wrestling a ranked opponent. Forget that it’s Pitt, it’s still a Top 25 team. It’s a big step for the program.”

West Virginia last defeated an opponent in the Top 25 in January 2021, beating then-No. 17 Northern Colorado. The Mountaineers’ last win over the Panthers in 2018 also came when Pittsburgh was ranked at No. 25.

Sunday’s victory over Pittsburgh gave Flynn his 250th career win as a college coach.

“We knew coach wanted this one, and so did we,” Mountaineers freshman Jordan Titus said. “Everyone did their jobs, and we were able to pull it out. It’s great knowing that we’re capable of beating these extremely talented teams.”

Titus may have also realized his full potential on Sunday afternoon.

The Center Moriches, New York, native went toe-to-toe with Pittsburgh’s Cole Matthews, the No. 1 ranked wrestler in the nation at 141 pounds, according to InterMat.

After the pair battled to a 1-all tie late in the third period, Titus used a duck-under takedown with 17 seconds remaining to defeat Matthews 3-1. Matthews, a 2022 All-American and a fifth-year senior, entered the match undefeated with 10 consecutive wins to start the season.

“It’s something that I dream of every day,” Titus said. “Those are the things you work for. It’s all about game planning and listening to the coaches. To be able to beat one of the best guys is an amazing feeling.”

Titus was one of four Mountaineers that earned their respective wins in the final frame.

No. 7 ranked Killian Cardinale held off Colton Camacho 5-3 at 125 pounds. Sam Hillegas claimed a 2-0 sudden death victory over No. 25 Tyler Badgett at 149. Alex Hornfeck used a late takedown to defeat Dan Mancini 3-1 at 157.

Killian Cardinale Feels Responsibility to Win Each Match as WVU’s Leader

The string of four victories gave West Virginia an 18-4 advantage it would never squander.

“We won the close matches,” Flynn said. “You gotta have those. The meet got blown open by those tight matches. If those go the other way, we’re over here sobbing.”

Going forward, the Mountaineers understand that meets against teams such as Pittsburgh will help prepare them for the Big 12 and NCAA championships, as well as key upcoming duals against the likes of Oklahoma and No. 14 Oklahoma State, both on the road.

Statistically, going away from Morgantown hasn’t been the best for West Virginia over the previous five seasons under Flynn. Including Sunday, the Mountaineers have a 5-21 record on the road, excluding neutral site meets, while going 18-13 at home.

West Virginia’s meet with Pittsburgh was the first of four consecutive away matches. The Mountaineers will head to Chattanooga on Friday before their two matches in Oklahoma on Jan. 20 and 22.

The Mountaineers, however, are holding extra motivation, especially after defeating the Panthers.

West Virginia is now 6-1, the team’s best start through seven matches since 1990, when the Mountaineers started 7-0 en route to finishing 14-1. The Mountaineers also received five votes in the most recent NWCA Coaches Poll.

“Since my first year coming to West Virginia, it’s been awesome seeing all the progress we’ve made and seeing the program grow,” Hillegas said. “We’re always together grinding, working hard. This is the type of competitive stuff we need to get us ready for bigger matches and the individual championships.”

Flynn gave a simple approach the Mountaineers will take in the coming weeks to try and carry on their strong performances.

“We just have to keep it even-keel,” Flynn said. “Whether you win or lose, your job is still the same. You have to be able to control the emotions. We had some big wins (Sunday), but those don’t matter if you come out the next time and stink it up. Just have to take it one day at a time.”

Welcome to the new home of WVU football and basketball breaking news, analysis and recruiting. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and check us out on YouTube. And don't forget to subscribe for all of our articles delivered directly to your inbox.

Get WVSN in your mailbox!

Enter your email address to subscribe to WVSN and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Sign up for the best in WVU sports!

Subscribe to WVSN today and get all of our posts directly in your inbox the second they're published.

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.