HAMPTON, Va. - In a match where Jesse Dong broke a school record for career dual meet wins, the 10th-ranked and second-seeded Virginia Tech wrestling squad rolled into the semifinals of the 33rd Virginia Duals Friday with a 26-9 win over seventh-seeded Kent State in the quarterfinals.
Fourth-seeded Jarrod Garnett, battling a little bit of an illness, gutted out a controversial-filled 125-pound match to win 8-7 in the tiebreaker over Stevie Mitcheff. Mitcheff got three takedowns on Garnett, but Garnett reversed Mitcheff with under 5 seconds left to tie it up, but table officials didn’t switch the riding time and it ended up over a minute for Mitcheff, which would have been a bonus point and the win. They eventually corrected the call and after a scoreless sudden victory, Garnett got an escape in the first tiebreaker at the buzzer and then rode Mitcheff for the entire 30 seconds to gut out the win.
Erik Spjut used a takedown in the second period to propel him to a 3-2 win over Mack McGuire at 133 pounds to give the Hokies a 6-0 lead. Eleventh-ranked Zach Neibert cruised to another win, beating Luke Kern 18-3 via technical fall at 141 pounds. He used six takedowns and several nearfall combinations to pick up the bonus points for Tech.
Tied at 2-2 going to the third period, fifth-ranked Nick Brascetta used an escape a takedown and a point for riding time to beat Nick Carr, 6-2 at 149 pounds.
Dong, ranked sixth in the country at 157 pounds, broke the school’s record for career dual-meet wins with a tough 3-0 victory over T.J. Keklak. Dong moved past Sean Gray and Chris Martin and now stands alone with 59 dual meet wins in his career. It was also his 98th career victory in the Tech uniform.
Pete Yates, ranked fifth at 165 pounds, rolled past Caleb Marsh, picking up a 7-0 win thanks to a takedown and back points in the first period. Austin Gabel was again victorious, picking up a 3-1 victory over Sam Wheeler. He used a takedown at the end of the first period to start the scoring and then held off the late advances of Wheeler late to seal the team match.
No. 18 Casey Newburg downed Tech’s Nick Vetterlein 6-1 at 184 pounds before top-seeded and national champion Dustin Kilgore pinned Bobby Lavelle in the first period at 197 pounds. Senior David Marone ended things on a positive note with a 5-2 win over Keith Witt at heavyweight, using a takedown and reversal to pave the way.
Tech will wrestle again on Saturday at 2 p.m. against third-seeded and 16th-ranked Edinoboro in a semifinal match. The Hokies beat the Fighting Scots 21-16 earlier this year on the road.
Virginia Tech is now guaranteed its best finish ever at the Virginia Duals as the Hokies will finish in the top 4 of the event. Tech’s previous best was sixth place in 2010. No Virginia school has ever won the Virginia Duals. Tech and the University of Virginia are both in Saturday’s semifinals. UVa, seeded fourth, will take on top-seeded Central Michigan in the other semifinals.
#10 Virginia Tech (7-2) 26, Kent State (2-1) 9
125: #4 Jarrod Garnett (VT) dec. Stevie Mitcheff, 8-7 (TB-1)
133: Erik Spjut (VT) dec. Mack McGuire, 3-2
141: #11 Zach Neibert (VT) tech fall Luke Kern, 18-3 (6:49)
149: #5 Nick Brascetta dec. Nick Carr, 6-3
157: #6 Jesse Dong (VT) dec. T.J. Keklak, 3-0
165: #5 Pete Yates (VT) dec. Caleb Marsh, 7-0
174: Austin Gabel (VT) dec. Sam Wheeler, 3-1
184: #18 Casey Newburg (KS) dec. Nick Vetterlein, 6-1
197: #1 Dustin Kilgore (KS) fall Bobby Lavelle, 1:35
285: David Marone (VT) dec. Keith Witt, 5-2
For updates on Virginia Tech wrestling, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_Wrestling).