NORFOLK, Va. - The sixth-ranked Virginia Tech wrestling squad dominated in-state rival Old Dominion Thursday night at the Constant Center in front of 1,319 fans, using two pins and a major decision to pick up a 31-6 win over the Monarchs. Tech won eight of the 10 matches wrestled to improve to 17-4 overall. ODU drops to 6-10-1 on the year with the loss.
The match got started at 125 with fourth-ranked James Nicholson of ODU picking up an 8-2 win over No. 14 Jarrod Garnett. Nicholson used two takedowns in the first period and rode Garnett the whole second period before getting a takedown late in the third to pick up the three team points. At 133 pounds, 10th-ranked Devin Carter erased a 3-0 deficit heading to the third period against No. 12 Kyle Hutter, taking him down twice to take the lead. In the process of the last takedown, Carter put Hutter right to his back to pick up his ninth pin of the season with a little over a minute left to go in the third period to give Tech the momentum. Carter is now 2-0 against the nationally ranked wrestler, pinning him and picking up a major decision.
At 141 pounds, 19th-ranked Chris Diaz returned from a two-week hiatus with authority as he downed Brennan Brumley, 11-7. Diaz got three takedowns in the first period and a takedown late in the third, plus a point for riding time to make it 9-3 in favor of the Hokies. Fifteenth-ranked Brian Stephens bounced back from a tough loss a weekend ago to dominate back-up Eric Dunnet at 149 pounds. He took down Dunnet, who was bumping up from the 125-pound class, at will as he picked up nine takedowns en route to the 20-7 major decision. Fifth-ranked Jesse Dong kept the momentum rolling with a dominating win over Chad Lowman at 157 pounds. Dong took him down five times to grab a 10-3 lead before turning Lowman to his back and picking up the pin at the 4:24 mark to make it 19-3 in favor of the Hokies.
After the break, 14th-ranked Pete Yates came out firing against Dan Rivera at 165 pounds, picking up a takedown and a three-point nearfall in the first period. He escaped in the second period and that would be all the scoring as Yates earned a 7-0 shutout after a point for riding time. At 174 pounds, Tech’s Matt Epperly used a pair of takedowns and over a minute of riding time to down Tristan Warner, 7-3. Epperly got a takedown in the first period and rode Warner for close to a minute in the second stanza and then got another takedown late to take a 4-1 lead into the final period. Epperly escaped and Warner got a takedown to make it 5-3, but Epperly escaped again and got a point for riding time to seal the team win.
Heading to the final three matches, Tech led 25-3 and sent John Dickson out for the 184-pound match. The Virginia Beach product, wrestling in front of a large contingent of friends and family, took a 4-2 lead into the final period, but ODU’s Joe Budi escaped and took down Dickson with over a minute to go. Despite his best effort, Dickson couldn’t escape from bottom and Budi hung on for the 5-4 win. At 197 pounds, Tech’s Chris Penny got a takedown near the end of the first period to take a 2-0 lead on Billy Curling. The Virginia Beach native got another takedown in the third period to pick up a 5-2 win. In the final match of the night, Tech’s David Marone downed Grant Chapman, 4-1. After a scoreless first period, Marone escaped 24 seconds in and later got a takedown to grab a 3-0 lead. Marone held Chapman down for most of the third period before Chapman escaped, but it wasn’t enough as Marone got the point for riding time and the win.
“We did a good job tonight,” head coach Kevin Dresser said. “Guys got kind of frustrated because we couldn’t keep them on the mat. But we stayed patient and got it done. Devin Carter’s pin at 133 was a big spark for us. That kid is going to be a beast.”
The Hokies will return home for a pair of ACC matches on Saturday, taking on NC State at 5 p.m., followed by a match with Duke right after. Tech’s three seniors - Diaz, Epperly and Tommy Spellman - will be recognized between matches. Admission is free.
#7 Virginia Tech 28, Old Dominion 6
125: #4 James Nicholson (ODU) dec. #14 Jarrod Garnett, 8-2
133: #10 Devin Carter (VT) fall #12 Kyle Hutter, 5:45
141: #19 Chris Diaz (VT) dec. Brennan Brumley, 11-7
149: #15 Brian Stephens (VT) maj. dec. Eric Dunnet, 20-7
157: #5 Jesse Dong (VT) fall Chad Lowman, 4:24
165: #14 Pete Yates (VT) dec. Dan Rivera, 7-0
174: Matt Epperly (VT) dec. Tristan Warner, 7-3
184: Joe Budi (ODU) dec. John Dickson, 5-4
197: Chris Penny (VT) dec. Billy Curling, 5-2
285: David Marone (VT) dec. Grant Chapman, 4-1
For updates on Virginia Tech wrestling, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_Wrestling).