HAMPTON, Va. - Despite forfeiting two matches, which gave up 12 points, an undermanned Virginia Tech wrestling squad upset 18th-ranked Virginia 21-18 Saturday afternoon at the Virginia Duals in the consolation bracket. The victory assures Tech of its best finish ever at the Duals, topping a seventh-place finish in 1981.
Tech won the first three bouts to jump out to a 9-0 lead. Jarrod Garnett held on for a 2-1 win over Ross Gitomer at 125 pounds and then Brock LiVorio beat Matt Snyder 7-1 at 133 pounds. Chris Diaz controlled the match in beating Derek Valenti 7-2 at 141 pounds. Virginia’s Kellon Balum squeaked out a 9-8 win over Brian Stephens at 149 pounds before Tech’s Jesse Dong beat 18th-ranked Danny Gonsor 7-1 to move to 4-0 on the weekend. Matt Epperly picked up big bonus points with a pin of Michael Chaires with 40 seconds left. A forfeit at 174 pounds made it 18-9 with three weight classes left.
Tech’s Tommy Spellman stepped up big time with a 2-1 upset win over 19th-ranked Mike Salopek at 184 pounds to make it 21-12. Knowing Tech was going to forfeit at heavyweight, Tech’s Chris Penny only needed to not get pinned by 16th-ranked Brent Jones. He put up a tough fight, but lost 8-2, but in essence sealed the win.
This was be the first of two matchups between the two as they will meet in Memorial Gymnasium on Jan. 23 in the ACC match.
Tech (9-2) will now face 19th-ranked Kent State in the fifth-place match.
#24 Virginia Tech (9-2) 21, #18 Virginia (9-3) 18
125: #13 Jarrod Garnett (VT) dec. Ross Gitomer, 2-1
133: Brock LiVorio (VT) dec. Matt Snyder, 7-1
141: #12 Chris Diaz (VT) dec. Derek Valenti, 7-2
149: Kellon Balum (VA) dec. Brian Stephens, 9-8
157: #7 Jesse Dong (VT) dec. #18 Danny Gonsor, 7-1
165: Matt Epperly (VT) pinned Michael Chaires, 6:20
174: #4 Chris Henrich (VA) wins by forfeit
184: Tommy Spellman (VT) dec. #19 Mike Salopek, 2-1
197: #16 Brent Jones (VA) dec. Chris Penny, 8-2
285: Jack Danilkowicz (VA) wins by forfeit
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