WLU Wrestling wins second straight MEC title



From Left: Chase Morgan, Ty McGeary, Cole Laya, Francesco Borsellino

Last Saturday, the West Liberty University wrestling team won the Mountain East Conference Championship for the second consecutive year. The event was held at WLU in the ASRC where the Toppers were successfully able to defend their championship title at home.

The No.4 ranked Hilltoppers were victorious in four out of ten weight classes and finished the day with 131.5 points, 14 points clear of Glenville State College in second place. Notre Dame College (Ohio) finished in third place followed by Davis and Elkins College, Alderson Broaddus University, Fairmont State University and Wheeling University in fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh respectively.

Including the four individual victors, eight of Head Coach Danny Irwin’s squad earned MEC honors for their efforts. The first-place finishes came from defending national champion Cole Laya, 2021 MEC runner-up Chase Morgan, No. 3 ranked Ty McGeary and No.6 ranked Francesco Borsellino.

Laya provided the first championship victory for the Hilltoppers, toppling Glenville’s Kevin Meloni. Laya won 17-0 following a technical fall. The win sees Laya holding a strong position as he looks to maintain his regional and national titles later this season.

Morgan was able to turn last years upset around and finish first in the 165-pound weight class. Morgan was able to snag the title of MEC Champion after a close match-up with Davis and Elkins Whiley Houser. This is the senior from Ripley, W.Va.’s first time as champion.

After getting his year off to a slow start, Chase is starting to come into his own again,” said Irwin to Hilltopper Sports. “It was exciting to see him wrestle the way he did today.”

No.3 Ranked McGeary earned his win at 174-pounds in a 10-3 victory over Hunter DeLong from Glenville State. McGeary’s win was the tipping point for the Toppers and gave them the crucial points to ensure overall victory for the team. This is the first time the sophomore from McDonal, Pa., has earned the title of MEC Champion after a third-place finish last season during his freshman year at West Liberty.

At 285-pounds, Borsellino closed out the winning streak for the Hilltoppers by successfully pinning Notre Dame’s Laron Parks in the third minute. Borsellino’s victory was met with a standing applause from the crowd after a stellar performance from the no.6 ranked junior.

Tyler Warner earned himself a runner-up medal in the 141-pound weight class as Glenville State’s Ethan Hardy managed to topple the reigning NCAA Division II National Champion. Though not quite claiming the top spot, Warner took silver and earned second-team All-MEC honors.

At 184-pounds and 197-pounds respectively, Drake Kendrex and Logan Kemp earned third place medals and honorable mention All-MEC honors. Kendrex overpowered Davis and Elkin’s Michael Schneider in a 6-4 victory while no.4 ranked Kemp defeated Notre Dame’s Thomas Schmitt 14-1.

All West Liberty wrestlers who competed in the championship finished in the top four of their weight class and won at least one match during the day. The Hilltopper squad is strong but they hold a high personal standard and are constantly seeking improvement. When talking to Hilltopper Sports, Irwin said, “if we are going to reach the goals we set for ourselves as a team, we have to get better. Happy with the win today, but we have two priorities going forward. We need to figure out who we want in our starting 10 and we have to lock down our last few areas of improvement. We have a lot of guys capable of answering the bell. It’s up to us to identify who’s going to be there for us in the end.”

The Toppers return to competition on the mat on Feb. 5 in Berea Ohio at Baldwin Wallace University as part of the John Summa Memorial Tournament. The team then returns to home action on Friday, Feb. 15 in the ASRC. To keep up to date with all things WLU Wrestling, check out Hilltoppersports.com and follow the team on twitter. Post with #ClimbTheHill to show your support for the black and gold!