Mountaineer Round-up: Wrestling, swimming and diving meet rivals to start off 2021

Gold and Blue Nation

Basketball has been dominating the WVU Athletics’ calendar so far this winter season, but that will soon change as several more Mountaineer teams will be thrown into the fray when they kick off their campaigns.


2019-20 record: 4-12 (1-7 Big 12)

The offseason: Although their record may not show it, 2019-20 was a landmark year for WVU wrestling — mostly due to the historic performance of star Noah Adams. The Coal City, WV native became the second Mountaineer to win the Big 12 title, while also earning the league’s Wrestler of the Year award, a two-seed in the NCAA Tournament and a nod as a finalist for the Hodge Trophy.

He kept it going this offseason, placing second at the 2020 U23 and UWW Junior Nationals in November, and will start the season as the top-ranked wrestler in the 193-pound weight class.

Killian Cardinale will make his WVU debut this season after a strong pair of seasons at Old Dominion. He is ranked in the top 15 by several media outlets after finishing last season with 25 wins, a qualification to the NCAA Tournament and NWCA Division I All-America Honorable Mention honors.

Caleb Rea, another native of the Mountain State, is entering this season ranked, as high as No. 21 by Intermat and The Open Mat. The junior from Weirton finished last season with 17 wins on the mat, including a 6-7 record in the Big 12. He has a 36-32 record for his career.

This week: The Mountaineers start their season hosting a quad meet against Kent State, Ohio and No. 8 Virginia Tech on Sunday, starting at Noon at the WVU Coliseum.

Swimming and Diving

2019-20: The Mountaineers finished the season with a 5-1 record at meets and picked up 11 medals at the Big 12 Championship meet in Morgantown. Additionally, two divers (sophomores Nick Cover and Jacob Cardinal Tremblay) qualified for the NCAAs.

The offseason: Head Coach Vic Riggs added 17 new Mountaineers into his program over the summer as part of his recruiting class — eight men and nine women — which he hopes will help boost his program.

Riggs also welcomed a new face to his coaching staff in August with the addition of Karla Helder as the team’s new diving coach after the departure of Michael Grapner. Helder comes to Morgantown by way of San Jose State, which she coached from 2018-20.

In November, the team got a jump start on its season along with another gold and blue squad. The Mountaineers held a virtual meet with Notre Dame, a two-day event which helped both teams get back into the competition mindset. While Notre Dame stayed at its Rolfs Aquatic Center in South Bend, Indiana, the Mountaineers did their work at their Aquatic Center at Mylan Park.

Earning wins were Emily Haimes in the 100 freestyle and Ryan Van Wyke in the 50 freestyle, both of which go along with several more finishes close to the top across the team.

This week: The diving team hosts Pitt for a Backyard Brawl meet on Wednesday, followed by a swim meet at Pitt’s Trees Pool on Thursday.

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