West Virginia football’s top recruit in the 2021 class has been recognized as the top player in the state by MaxPreps. Offensive lineman Wyatt Milum was named the 2020 MaxPreps West Virginia High School Football Player of the Year after a stellar senior season at Spring Valley High. Milum also won the Stydahar Award, which recognizes the best interior lineman in the Mountain State.
Three-and-a-half years after arriving at West Virginia and breaking into the defensive lineup as a true freshman, Darius Stills has left Morgantown to embark on the next chapter of his football journey. Like many NFL hopefuls, Stills has gone south to train for pre-draft workouts.
On Saturday, #14 West Virginia will take on Kansas State in Manhattan, Kansas. This will be the first game for WVU in two weeks due to COVID-19 issues that postponed the Mountaineers’ last three games. WVU’s last game was a loss in Morgantown to then-#4 Texas, thanks to a last-second three-pointer from Longhorns guard Andrew Jones.
Many college coaches have seen the possibility of the transfer rules changing as something that is wrong for college athletics. West Virginia head men’s basketball coach Bob Huggins has taken the opportunity to voice his opinion on the subject when asked.
From Weirton to Welch, Martinsburg to Matewan, and all points in between, hardly anyone is noticing that Tony Caridi’s descriptions of West Virginia men’s basketball road games are coming from a television monitor at Waterfront Place in Morgantown.
Facing a 12-point deficit with 3:05 to play, West Virginia finished off Kansas State with a tremendous 21-0 run to end the game 65-56. The Mountaineers needed just 1:14 to go on a 12-0 burst to tie the game with just under two minutes to play, and they scored nine more points to complete the rally. The Wildcats were also held scoreless for the final 4:36 of the game. This was WVU’s sixth win in a row.
In her second year with the West Virginia women’s basketball team, sophomore guard Kirsten “KK” Deans has made a tremendous improvement in nearly every statistical category. Through 12 games, Deans is averaging 12 points, three rebounds, and three assists per game.
Following a pair of double-doubles in two Big 12 Conference wins, sophomore forward Esmery Martinez of the West Virginia women’s basketball team has been named the WVU Student-Athlete of the Week.
West Virginia Athletics
The West Virginia men’s swim and dive team had two student-athletes collect Big 12 awards this week, as senior David Dixon was awarded Co-Big 12 Men’s Swimmer of the Week and junior PJ Lenz earned Diver of the Week. In the Backyard Brawl against Pitt, Dixon finished first in both the 100- and 200-yard butterfly. Lenz finished with a program-record score on the three-meter springboard, and also came away with wins in the men’s platform and one-meter dives.
Three West Virginia wrestlers remain ranked inside the top 25 of their respective weight classes this week. Following a pair of wins last weekend, redshirt junior Noah Adams continues to rank #1 at 197 pounds by Intermat, FloWrestling, and The Open Mat. At 165 pounds, freshman Peyton Hall checks in at #24 according to FloWrestling for the second consecutive week. Redshirt junior Killian Cardinale comes in at #25 via The Open Mat at his weight of 125 pounds.
Killian Cardinale decided to bring his talents to West Virginia, after spending the first few years of his collegiate career at Old Dominion. During his last season at ODU, Cardinale earned his first trip to the NCAA National Tournaments and was an honorable mention for NCAA Division I All-American.
The West Virginia gymnastics team kicks off the 2021 season on Friday with a meeting against the 2019 National Champion and reigning Big 12 Conference champion, #2 Oklahoma. Last season, the Mountaineers finished with 11 wins and ranked nationally twice in the Road to Nationals Rankings.
The West Virginia rifle team is ranked #4 in this week’s College Rifle Coaches Association Poll. The Mountaineers opened their 2021 season with a 4715-4665 win over Akron on Saturday.
West Virginia enters the 2021 season ranked 14th in the D1 Baseball preseason national poll. The Mountaineers were off to a solid start in the 2020 season before the pandemic ended the college baseball season nationwide. Now the 2021 season is expected to begin nationwide on February 19th, 49 weeks after WVU saw a promising start to 2020 get erased.
The West Virginia volleyball team has announced the addition of transfers Athena Ardila and Adrian Ell for the 2021 spring season. Ardila transferred from Northeastern and has enrolled at WVU as a senior, while Ell transferred from Florida State as a redshirt junior. Each student-athlete has two years of eligibility remaining.
The West Virginia men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams have been recognized for their academic excellence in the classroom this fall, as the two squads have been named to the College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America Scholar All-America team.
In the NFL’s Divisional Playoffs, Karl Joseph was the only former West Virginia football player in action. Joseph started at safety for the Cleveland Browns and recorded four solo tackles. He also had an interception in the endzone that prevented the Kansas City Chiefs from adding a late touchdown.
Around the Big 12
The Big 12 Conference will be allowing fans at the 2021 Wrestling Championship. The event will be held at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on March 6th and 7th. Last season, West Virginia’s Noah Adams was the Big 12 champion at 197 pounds.
Oklahoma beat Kansas State 76-50 on Tuesday night, handing the Wildcats their fifth-straight loss. OU’s De’Vion Harmon scored 16 points, while fellow Sooner Elijah Harkless had eight points, 13 rebounds, six assists, and three steals.
Texas Tech’s Mac McClung picked up his first Big 12 Men’s Basketball Player of the Week while Oklahoma State’s Cade Cunningham was named the Conference Newcomer of the Week for the third time this season.
Around the NCAA
The NCAA has announced its plans for the 2021 NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship. A traditional 64-team bracket will be used and will encompass automatic qualifiers from all 31 Division I conferences. The women’s basketball committee waived the .500 rule for this year, but schools must play a minimum of 13 games to be eligible. The committee is also considering a championship in one geographic area similar to the men’s tournament.
Providence’s Nate Watson scored a career-high 29 points to lead the Friars past #11 Creighton 74-70 on Wednesday night. The Bluejays are now 10-4 after suffering their second loss in a row.
Jaden Ivey hit a step-back three-pointer from the top of the key with 5 seconds left to complete Purdue’s rally for a 67-65 victory over #15 Ohio State on Tuesday night.
Philip Rivers is retiring from football, ending his 17-year career as one of the most prolific quarterbacks in NFL history. Rivers spent this past season with the Indianapolis Colts after 16 years with the Chargers.
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