Hilltop wrestlers continue to succeed

West Liberty’s Wrestling Team has seen a very successful season so far. With several key members ranked nationally, as well as an overall national ranking consistently in the top ten, the Hilltoppers have continuously proved themselves worthy of such awards.

In early February, WLU performed excellently in the MEC Championship which took place on the Hilltop. Six of the Toppers won individual titles and nine winning All-MEC laurels. Collectively the team earned 152 points, beating second place, and previous champions, UNC Pembroke by 32.5 points. Eight wrestlers made their way to the Championship finals having already opened up a significant lead.

West Liberty senior and All-American, Connor Craig, was awarded the MEC Most Outstanding Wrestling Award following his win against Kyle Wojtaszek from Davis and Elkins College. The No.2 ranked wrestler at 184 pounds lived up to his title able to withstand the pressure of the competition. “Connor is such a good counter wrestler to begin with,” Head Coach Danny Irwin said, “and now that he’s starting to look more to his offense first, he’s taking that next step. That was a really good wrestler he was up against and he was in total control.”

The Toppers’ success did not end with the MEC Championship tournament. Last week No. 6 ranked WLU hosted the second West Liberty Open event of the season. Fairmont State University and Davis and Elkins travelled up the hill to compete in the ASRC on Saturday. The event provided an opportunity for Irwin’s wrestler’s to keep in high form in preparation for the NCAA Division II Regional Qualifiers. “It was another fun day of wrestling on the hilltop,” Irwin said. “We had 27 student-athletes compete today, which is a testament to their perseverance and the hard work of our athletic training staff.”

WLU won 31 of the 50 matches played. With nationally ranked wrestlers in eight of the ten weight classes, the Black and Gold Success was hardly surprising but left Iriwin pleased nonetheless. “They have been extremely consistent day in and day out and really have pushed us to greater heights than any other group I’ve ever had,” he said.

Senior standout Logan Kemp received an MEC Wrestler of the Week Award following the competition after getting three wins with bonus points significantly well before time ran out.

The 2021 NCAA Division II Super Region 3 championship is set to take place at Tiffin University in Ohio on Feb. 27. Stay up to date with the Toppers competitions by checking in with Hilltoppersports.com.