PISCATAWAY, N.J. - The third-ranked Virginia Tech wrestling squad won just two matches all evening and fell to 16th-ranked Rutgers, 24-7, Friday night at a raucous and packed Louis Brown Athletic Center. The Scarlet Knights used a pair of upsets from unranked guys in the first three matches and won the close matches to run away with the impressive win over the Hokies.
At 125 pounds, 13th-ranked Jarrod Garnett got things started on a negative note as he suffered an 8-7 loss to unranked Joe Langel. The junior from Delaware got a quick takedown 20 seconds in for an early lead, but Langel escaped and took him down. Garnett worked his way out the backside and reversed him to take a 4-3 lead into the second period. Langel escaped in the second stanza to tie it up and took him down to grab a 6-4 lead. In the third period, Garnett quickly reversed Langel to tie the match back up, but Langel reversed him back. Garnett escaped with 40 seconds left, and got in on Langel’s leg late, but couldn’t get his ankle free as the buzzer sounded.
At 133, eighth-ranked Devin Carter picked up bonus points with a 13-3 major decision over Mike Demarco. The freshman picked up a quick takedown and took a 6-2 lead into the second period after getting back points near the end of the period. After no one scored in the second period, Carter took down Demarco to his back for a four-point combo to make it 10-2. Demarco escaped, but Carter took him back down and got a point for riding time for the 13-3 win. At 141 pounds, 13th-ranked Chris Diaz suffered a 7-6 upset to unranked Trevor Melde. Diaz took Melde down midway through the first period, but Melde promptly reversed him and rode him for the rest of the period. Melde got an escape in the second period to take the lead, but Diaz took him down and then let him go to make it 4-4. Diaz chose neutral for the third period, but Melde took Diaz down. Diaz escaped, but like Garnett, he couldn’t get the takedown before the buzzer and the Hokies fell behind 6-4.
Moving to 149 pounds, fourth-ranked Mario Mason of Rutgers beat eight-ranked Brian Stephens, 4-2. Mason took down Stephens and led 2-1 after a period. Mason escaped in the second period and in the third stanza, Stephens escaped, but not before Mason went over a minute of riding time. At 157 pounds, eighth-ranked Jesse Dong beat No. 17 Daryl Cocozzo, 6-4. Cocozzo got the first points with a takedown in the first period, but Dong escaped. In the second period, Dong reversed Cocozzo to take the lead and threw the legs in to take the riding time back under a minute. In the third period, Dong stretched his lead to 6-4 and rode Cocozzo the rest of the way to pick up the win. At 165 pounds, seventh-ranked Scott Winston downed 15th-ranked Pete Yates, 7-5 in overtime. After a scoreless first period, Winston escaped and took down Yates to grab a 2-0 lead. Yates escaped to make it 3-1, but Winston got another takedown to make it 5-1. On the way to the mat, Winston locked his hands to give Yates a point and Yates escaped right before the end of the period to make it 5-3. In the third, Yates escaped quickly to make it a one-point match and Winston got dinged for two stall warnings and Yates got another penalty point to tie it up. But Winston got a takedown in sudden victory to give Rutgers another close win.
At 174 pounds, 14th-ranked Alex Carusso held off Matt Epperly 3-2. After a scoreless first period, Carusso escaped to open the second period and took down Epperly late in the period. Epperly escaped, but trailed 3-1 heading to the final period. Epperly escaped right away to make it 3-2, but held off several late charges from Epperly to hold on for the one-point win. Dan Rinaldi dispatched Tech’s John Dickson 4-2 at 184 pounds. Rinaldi took down Dickson early and led 2-1 after a period. Rinaldi escaped in the second period and Dickson escaped in the third period, but Rinaldi held over a minute of riding time. Dickson tried valiantly to get in on Rinaldi, but couldn’t do it as Rutgers all but sealed up the match with an 18-7 lead.
Mike Wagner got a pair of takedowns on Chris Penny at 197 in the first two periods, but Penny hung around thanks to two escapes and tied it up with a takedown in the third period. But Wagner’s riding time advantage put Penny in an awkward spot as he was forced to cut him loose. Penny got in on Wagner’s leg late, but like it had done all night, the Tech wrestler couldn’t finish and fell 7-5. At heavyweight, fourth-ranked DJ Russo capped off a dominating performance by Rutgers with an 8-3 win over David Marone. Russo picked up a takedown with one second left in the first period and then turned Marone in the second period to make it 4-0. Marone escaped, but Russo took him back down to take control of the bout. Russo, leading 7-1 with riding time locked up, went for the major decision, but Marone kept fighting and got a takedown late to finish the match on a positive note.
Rutgers dominated the match from the beginning as two Scarlet Knight wrestler pulled upsets over Tech’s ranked wrestlers and the Hokies couldn’t pull any upsets, winning only two matches total. Rutgers also won the close matches on the night. Eight of the 10 matches were decided by two points or less and Rutgers won seven of those.
“You can’t lose that many close matches and expect to beat a team ranked that high,” head coach Kevin Dresser said. “We will see what we’re made of now that we’re on the other side of victory.”
Rutgers improved to 17-1 with its 13th-straight win. Tech (13-4) will return to action Sunday afternoon, taking on Maryland in College Park. The match is set for 2 o’clock inside the Comcast Pavillion.
#16 Rutgers 24, #3 Virginia Tech 7
125: Joe Langel (R) dec. #13 Jarrod Garnett, 8-7
133: #8 Devin Carter (VT) maj. dec. Mike Demarco, 13-3
141: Trevor Melde (R) dec. #13 Chris Diaz, 7-6
149: #4 Mario Mason (R) dec. #8 Brian Stephens, 4-2
157: #8 Jesse Dong (VT) dec. #17 Daryl Cocozzo, 6-4
165: #7 Scott Winston (R) dec. #15 Pete Yates, 7-5 (SV)
174: #14 Alex Caruso (R) dec. Matt Epperly, 3-2
184: Dan Rinaldi (R) dec. John Dickson, 4-2
197: Mike Wagner (R) dec. Chris Penny, 7-5
285: #4 DJ Russo (R) dec. David Marone, 8-3
For updates on Virginia Tech wrestling, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_Wrestling).