Saturday match rewind: Clarouly Meca hold on for first double win in over a year

Wheeling, W.Va. – As we reach the 75-day mark before the start of the 2022-23 season, anticipation is growing for another exciting Wheeling University Athletics Action season. In this edition of Saturday Game Rewind, we look back on one of the defining moments that make us look back and fondly reminisce about the 2021-2022 season. Wheeling Wrestling won their home for the first time in over a year and picked up a decisive win over Bluefield State. It was the last game of the night and Wheeling was able to take the win and put the first win on the board for the head coach. Daniel Ownbey as he attempts to rebuild the program to its former glory.

February 10, 2022: Wheeling 25, Bluefield State 24

As the calendar turned towards 2022, winter sports were making a strong comeback after the holiday break with men’s basketball, women’s basketball, track and field and wrestling all returning to competition. The wrestling team was originally supposed to host the Wheeling Quad in early January, but a COVID fight hit the team and they were forced to cancel. Although they weren’t able to make up all of the doubleheaders scheduled that day, they were able to welcome Bluefield State back to campus on February 10. It was a big day for the team as it was their first home game in almost a year, and they were looking to show how much this young team had grown since the start of the season. They knew they were at a disadvantage, with only three real matches scheduled for the night, but were determined to give their best on the mat.

The night started in favor of Wheeling as Christian Zickefoose earned the first victory in the 125-pound weight class by forfeit and the Cardinals took a 6-0 lead. The first match of the evening took place in the 133-pound weight class when Montgomery Hunt faced Gabriel Nosesmith of Bluefield. Montgomery was in control from the start, scoring two early takedowns to take a 4-0 lead early in the first. Montgomery kept his foot on the gas and added six more points before the end of the first period, leading 10-0 over Nosesmith. He continued to dominate the game, not giving up a run in the first two periods and leading 15-0 going into the third. Nosesmith had five runs in the third period, but Montgomery’s lead was established and he walked away with a major 17-5 decision that made Wheeling 10-0.

Then the Cardinals would find themselves in a hole after back-to-back forfeits at 141 and 149 pounds quickly turned it into a 12-10 Bluefield State advantage. The next one was freshman Brennon Reid, who had had a good season so far in the 157-pound weight class, as he took on Jaden Berner. It was the most balanced fight of the night as both wrestlers battled through the first period to get on the board. Reid would take the initial lead with one out and finish first with two driving time points to take a 4-1 lead. He scored three more driving time points in the second period and kept Berner off the board to lead 7-1 going into the final two minutes. It was a valiant comeback effort from the Bluefield State wrestler, as he scored one out to regain momentum, but Reid was able to hold on for the 8-3 decision and Wheeling regained a 13-12 lead.

One of the highlights of the night was not a match, but the double forfeit that occurred at the 164-pound weight class. Wheeling had lost a wrestler, but the fact that Bluefield State had no competitor at 164 kept Wheeling ahead 13-12. The next three weight classes were all won by forfeit, with Bluefield State winning the 174-pound and 197-pound weight classes while Wheeling’s Mason Kuneff won the 184-pound weight class. That brought the 285-pound bout with Wheeling trailing 24-19. The only way to win the match was via pinfall, but luckily for them Clarouly Meca came to the mat and entered the evening with four pinfall victories already this season.

Meca would face Bluefield State’s Brian Shaw and the two fought to a standstill for the first 10 seconds of the inning. So. Meca capitalized on the first takedown of the night, sending both wrestlers out of the circle as Meca held a 2-0 lead. However, Meca showed good ring awareness and was able to keep his left toe on the inside circle to keep the match alive. As he gained some riding time, he was looking for that last move to flip Shaw onto his back and earn the hairpin. Both wrestlers sat like that for over a minute but, at 1:44 into the first period, it was Meca who prevailed by rolling him onto his back and landing the pin. It was Meca’s fifth win of the season, and the Cardinals would win the doubleheader 25-24.

It was a big moment for the team as they earned their first double win since Feb. 8, 2019, when the Cardinals beat Seton Hill at home 26-19. The victory was also the first of Wheeling Head Wrestling Coach’s career. Daniel Ownbey as he continues to rebuild the program to its former glory. The Cardinals had some great moments during the wrestling season, but this moment stood above the rest and showed the potential this team has going forward.

As the summer progresses, stay tuned every Saturday for more throwbacks from Saturday’s game. Next week we look back on another thriller at Bishop Schmitt Field as Wheeling Men’s Lacrosse beat Felician for their first home win in more than two seasons.

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