Pennesi Completes NCAA Championships Run

  • By Brian Kuppelweiser
  • |
  • March 21, 2013 10:27 PM
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University wrestling junior Nathan Pennesi had his 2012-13 season come to a close on Friday evening at the NCAA Championships being held at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa.

"Coming into this tournament, we knew it was going to be a very tall task for Nathan after he missed the last five weeks due to a broken left third metacarpal," said coach Craig Turnbull. "He got himself as ready as he could, but he wasn't as sharp as his competitors were. Without those five weeks of training, he was really swimming upstream."

In his first match of the tournament, Pennesi (141) took on Hofstra’s Luke Vaith and was defeated, 8-3. After a first period that saw little action, Vaith converted on four takedowns in the final two periods to deal Pennesi the defeat.

The loss dropped Pennesi into a consolation pigtail contest against Army’s Connor Hanafee, who had lost to Northern Iowa’s Joey Lazor earlier in the day.

In his first consolation match against Hanafee, Pennesi trailed, 2-1, at the conclusion of the first period. Near the end of the second period, Pennesi scored two points on a takedown and got Hanafee to his back to notch an additional two points via near fall. With the match score set at 5-2, Hanafee began the third period in down position and earned the escape point, but it was too little, too late, as Pennesi fended him off to close out the contest. The 5-3 victory was Pennesi’s first career win at the NCAA Championships.

In his second consolation match, Pennesi was pitted against Drexel’s Frank Cimato. Following a high-paced, scoreless first period, Cimato opened the match’s scoring, as he earned an escape point after starting from down position. After two stalling calls were assessed to Pennesi, Cimato’s converted on a takedown attempt to stretch his lead to 4-0 heading into the third period. The four-point lead would be all Cimato would need, as he tacked on one more takedown and the riding time point to close out Pennesi’s season with a 7-1 victory.

"We are very proud of the season that Nathan put together," Turnbull said. "He tried to attack his matches the best he could, but his timing wasn't quite there. At some point, he will be able to reframe this season and realize that he put together an outstanding body of work, but at the moment, he isn't able to do that.

"He will return next season knowing that he is able to wrestle at a very high level and that he has a shot to accomplish all of his goals."

Pennesi, who was wrestling at the NCAA Championships for the third time in his career, finishes the season as the Mountaineers’ leader in victories, with 22.

Luke Vaith (Hofstra) dec. Nathan Pennesi (WVU), 8-3
Nathan Pennesi (WVU) dec. Connor Hanafee (Army), 5-3
Frank Cimato (Drexel) dec. Nathan Pennesi (WVU), 7-1


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