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WVU Wrestling Aims to Rebound from ‘Disappointing’ Loss to Oklahoma



WVU Wrestling HC Tim Flynn and Dennis Robin
Image credit to Phil Andraychak

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — WVU wrestling head coach Tim Flynn did not hold back his true feelings when commenting on Sunday’s match against Oklahoma.

The No. 21 ranked Mountaineers suffered their first loss of the season after the No. 18 Sooners claimed the final two matchups at 197 and 285 pounds to win 21-19. West Virginia had been 4-0 for the first time in 30 years prior to the defeat.

Heavyweight Win Lifts Oklahoma Over WVU Wrestling in Big 12 Opener

Though the scoreboard showed the Sooners getting the victory in the very last match, Flynn said the Mountaineers were beaten much earlier.

“We honestly put ourselves in a position to lose,” Flynn said. “It appears from the outside that it came down to the last match, but we dropped some matches in the lighter weights that we thought we were going to win. We’re very disappointed. I think we let one slip away.”

Flynn noted the Mountaineers’ losses at 125, 149 and 157 pounds — three out of the first five matches — were the most significant.

Jett Strickenberger was handed his first overall loss of the season in a 6-4 decision at 125. Ty Watters fell for the first time in dual meet action, 8-5, at 149. Caleb Dowling was edged 4-3 at 157.

Strickenberger and Dowling, who were both ranked in the Top 25 in their respective weight classes, were defeated by unranked opponents.

“We definitely have got to be better prepared,” Flynn said. “We’ve got to feel good when we wrestle, because we have some guys that are unbelievably talented wrestlers when they feel good. We have to make that happen.”

Sunday was the Mountaineers’ first time in action since the Shorty Hitchcock Classic at Millersville University on November 18. Oklahoma was coming off a road loss to No. 3 ranked Missouri two days prior.

Though West Virginia was just getting back into its schedule, Flynn noted other teams are in a similar position.

“They’re doing the same thing,” Flynn said. “We always look at it that way. They traveled to get here, too, and we hear that some guys are sick, and this guy’s got this, and this guy’s dinged up. They’re going through the same crap. Their team beat us.”

Despite the loss, the Mountaineers left Sunday’s match with multiple wrestlers continuing their strong runs to start the year.

Jordan Titus (9-0 overall), Peyton Hall (12-2), Brody Conley (10-1) and Dennis Robin (13-2) all picked up victories against the Sooners. Titus, Conley and Robin are undefeated in West Virginia’s five dual meets this season.

West Virginia (4-1, 0-1 Big 12) will now head to Colorado for a two-match road trip this weekend. The Mountaineers will face Air Force on Friday at 9 p.m. before visiting Northern Colorado at 3 p.m. Sunday.

The Mountaineers defeated Air Force (20-18) and Northern Colorado (25-15) last season.

“If we focus on improving our wrestling, we’ll be okay,” Flynn said. “That’s the big thing. We’ve got to get better.”

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