BLACKSBURG – The Virginia Tech wrestling team improved to 7-1 on the season with an easy 32-16 win over Appalachian State Monday evening at Cassell Coliseum. The Hokies had to overcome injury and illness, but put together a solid night to cruise to the win.
The night started with seventh-ranked Jarrod Garnett picking up a 17-5 major decision over Brett Boston at 125 pounds. The sophomore used six takedowns and a nearfall combination to give the Hokies an early 4-0 lead. At 133 pounds, Brock LiVorio made his season debut and picked up a pin at the 4:48 mark to make it 10-0. At 141 pounds, ninth-ranked Chris Diaz dominated Chris Collura, beating him 17-2 for the technical fall at the 6:30 mark. He used six takedowns and two nearfalls to pick up the win.
At 149 pounds, with starter Pete Yates sidelined, Nick Murray took the mat and led 6-2 before becoming ill and having to take an injury timeout. Upon returning, Savva Kostis took advantage of the situation and reversed him before eventually pinning Murray at the 4:35 mark.
Because of Anthony Trongone’s illness, three Hokies bumped up a class to help out the team and all won in big fashion. At 157 pounds, Taylor Knappwas leading 11-2 before sticking Chip Powell at the 4:42 mark. At 165 pounds, Jesse Dong (ranked ninth at 157 pounds), scored offensive points in all three periods to down Kyle Blevins 8-2. And finally, at 174 pounds, Matt Epperly used four takedowns and three nearfalls to pick up a technical fall, beating John Blakely 18-3 at the 6:32 mark.
At 184 pounds, Tommy Spellman struggled with Austin Trotman as the two were scoreless going to the third period. Trotman took a 2-1 lead, but Spellman got a late takedown and riding time to hold on for the 5-2 win. Chris Penny returned to the mat at 197 pounds after suffering an injury early in the season, but Dylan Temple controlled the pace en route to a 10-1 major decision win. At heavyweight, Tech forfeited and Ken Altarac picked up the win.
Tech, ranked 24th in the country, will head to Hampton, Va., this weekend for the 30th Annual Virginia Duals at the Hampton Coliseum. The Hokies will open with fourth-seeded and 14th ranked Penn State in the opening round Friday at 9 a.m. Tech is in the same pod as Drexel and fifth-seeded Kent State.
For updates on Virginia Tech wrestling, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_Wrestling).