COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Virginia Tech wrestling team wrapped up competition at the NWCA National Duals Monday with a pair of victories inside St. John Arena to finish the tournament with a 3-1 mark. The Hokies, ranked 16th in the country, opened up with a 22-17 win over No. 19 Chattanooga and then rallied by winning the final three matches to beat Central Michigan 22-15.
"I was proud of our effort today," head coach Kevin Dresser said. "We really made some gains in certain weight classes. I was particularly impressed with 125, 133 and 149 this weekend! They are buying in 100 percent and it is showing."
In the first bout of the day, Joey Dance, ranked 20th in the country at 125 pounds, got Tech off to a fast start with a 16-3 major decision over Byron Smith. Dance, a true freshman, used four takedowns and a pair of three-point nearfalls to get the extra bonus point for the Hokies. Dennis Gustafson finally got the big upset he’s been so close on earning this year when he beat No. 11 Nick Soto at 133 pounds. He didn’t just beat Soto, he took him down twice, turned him three times and reversed him to pick up a 14-5 major decision.
Erik Spjut made a first-period takedown stand up as he beat Mike Pongracz 2-0 at 141 pounds. Seventeenth-ranked Zach Neibert rolled past Austin Sams at 149 pounds, using three takedowns, a nearfall and over four minutes of riding time to record a 10-0 major decision. Sal Mastriani couldn’t get anything going at 157 pounds as Alex Hudson blanked him, putting up an 11-0 major decision. Corey Mock, ranked 12th in the country, picked up his second major decision of the year over Tech’s Chris Moon, once again in an 8-0 blanking thanks to two takedowns, a nearfall and over five minutes of riding time. Levi Clemons picked up a 10-4 decision over Tech’s John Dickson at 174 pounds to make it a 15-11 ball game with three bouts left, but Nick Vetterlein picked up a 10-2 major decision over John Lampe at 184 pounds and Chris Penny iced it with an 8-2 win over Scottie Boykin at 197 pounds.
At heavyweight, former Tech wrestler Dawson Peck stuck 16th-ranked Ty Walz at the 2:10 mark in the first period to finish the dual match on a high note for the Mocs, but Tech still won the dual match, 22-17.
In the second bout of the day, Dance continued his hot streak, picking up two takedowns en route to a 6-1 victory over No. 12 Corey Keener at 125 pounds. Dennis Gustafson couldn’t get a takedown in the final minute as he fell to No. 10 Joe Roth 3-2 at 133 pounds. Erik Spjut hung with ninth-ranked Zach Horan, but fell 3-0 at 141 pounds as the Chippewas took their first lead. Neibert took care of business at 149 pounds, rolling part Joey Kielbasa 8-2 to tie the bout up after four matches. CMU got big bonus points when Lucas Smith pinned Mastriani in the second period to give the Chips a 12-6 lead at the halfway point.
Moon chipped away at the lead with a 6-4 win over Zack Cline, but Dickson dropped a 10-5 decision to No. 8 Mike Ottinger to take the lead back to six points. Dickson probably saved the team a point with a reversal late that saved him from a major decision.
Vetterlein came through in a huge way at 184 pounds to tie it back up. Trailing 3-1 in the third period, he took down Craig Kelliher twice to take the lead and put him to his back to pick up the pin at the 6:07 mark for six huge team points. Chris Penny then used a takedown to pick up a 3-1 decision over Jackson Lewis at 197 points and give the Hokies the lead back. Walz iced the win six takedowns en route to a 14-6 major decision over Adam Robinson to seal the dual.
Even though the Hokies weren't eliminated, the tournament did not wrestle out to fifth place.
Tech (18-4) will return to Columbus this coming weekend for a Sunday dual against the No. 13 Ohio State Buckeyes that starts at 2 p.m.
#16 Virginia Tech (17-4) 22, #19 Chattanooga (15-7) 17
125: #20 Joey Dance (VT) maj. dec. Byron Smith, 16-3
133: Dennis Gustafson (VT) maj. dec. #11 Nick Soto, 14-5
141: Erik Spjut (VT) dec. Mike Pongracz, 2-0
149: #17 Zach Neibert (VT) maj. dec. Austin Sams, 10-0
157: Alex Hudson (UTC) maj. dec. Sal Mastriani, 11-0
165: #12 Corey Mock (UTC) maj. dec. #18 Chris Moon, 8-0
174: Levi Clemons (UTC) dec. John Dickson, 10-4
184: #18 Nick Vetterlein (VT) maj. dec. John Lampe, 10-2
197: Chris Penny (VT) dec. Scottie Boykin, 8-2
285: Dawson Peck (UTC) fall #16 Ty Walz, 2:10
#16 Virginia Tech (18-4) 22, Central Michigan (10-10) 15
125: #20 Joey Dance (VT) dec. #12 Corey Keener, 6-1
133: #10 Joe Roth (CMU) dec. Dennis Gustafson, 3-2
141: #9 Zach Horan (CMU) dec. Erik Spjut, 3-0
149: #17 Zach Neibert (VT) dec. Joey Kielbasa, 8-2
157: Lucas Smith (CMU) fall Sal Mastriani, 3:57
165: #18 Chris Moon (VT) dec. Zack Cline, 6-4
174: #8 Mike Ottinger (CMU) dec. John Dickson, 10-5
184: #18 Nick Vetterlein (VT) fall Craig Kelliher, 6:07
197: Chris Penny (VT) dec. Jackson Lewis, 3-1
285: #16 Ty Walz (VT) maj. dec. Adam Robinson, 14-6
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