The Virginia Tech wrestling squad has been hard at work during the winter break, competing in two tournaments and three separate dual meets.
The Hokies had two first-place finishes at the Midlands Championships, won the Virginia Duals and dominated all three dual matches, allowing only 15 points combined.
Both Jarrod Garnett (125) and Nick Brascetta (149) were named champions at the Midlands, both going 5-0 in their respective weight classes. Garnett picked up wins over the tournament's No. 3 seed, Cory Clark, at the semifinals and then won the championship match by a score of 5-1 over No. 4 seed Jesse Delgado from Illinois.
Brascetta faced a similar challenge in his last two matches of the tournament securing wins over No. 1 seed Montell Marion and then No. 2 seed Donnie Vinson. Other wrestlers who placed at the tournament were Devin Carter (141) who took fourth, Jesse Dong (157) finished fifth, and Pete Yates (165) ended up in third. Yates lost in his semifinal match to Bubby Graham from Oklahoma, his first and only loss of the season.
After rolling past Duke in a dual meet 41-0, the Hokies participated in the Virginia Duals. The Duals were held at Hampton Coliseum where sixteen Division-I schools met. Of those schools, five were ranked including the Hokies, who were 11th at the time. Previous to this year, the best place finish for Tech was sixth place in the 2010 season.
In the first round, the Hokies went up against Binghamption, winning easily 32-9. Yates and Dong both got pins for the Hokies in 57 seconds and four minutes, respectively. The next match went similar for the Hokies, breezing by Kent State 26-9.
In that meet, Dong broke the school record for career dual meet wins with 59. He picked up a 3-0 win over T.J. Keklak, passing Sean Gray and Chris Marting on the career dual meet wins list.
In the next match, the Hokies faced No. 16 Edinboro, who they beat earlier in the year in a close match, 21-16. Fate once again favored Tech, which won 23-10, while only losing three of the 10 matches. With that win, the Hokies advanced to their first ever finals appearance at the Duals against No. 19, rival Virginia.
Garnett, Brascetta and Yates all got wins over opponents ranked in the top 15 in the nation, en route to a decisive 21-9 victory over the Cavs. With the win, Tech became the first ever Virginia team to win the Virginia Duals in its 33-year history.
This past weekend the Hokies had two ACC dual meets, at North Carolina on Saturday and then at home against N.C. State on Sunday.
Things started out rough for the Hokies against the Tar Heels when No. 4 Jarrod Garnett was upset by No. 13 Nathan Kraisser. However, things quickly turned around and they did not lose another match (besides a forfeit at the 141 lbs.), getting a decisive win 32-9.
The next day, the team again dominated another ACC opponent, winning easily 40-6 over North Carolina State. Nick Vetterlein (184) and Derrick Borlie (197) got back-to-back pins for the Hokies, while Dong got a technical fall by a score of 15-0.
Tech is now ranked No. 9 in the nation with an overall record of 11-2 and an ACC record of 4-0. The win over NC State gave the Hokies their 23rd ACC win in their past 24 conference matches.
The Hokies currently have four wrestlers ranked in the top 25 in their weight class, all of them in the top 10: No. 4 Garnett (125), No. 6 Brascetta (149), No. 7 Dong (157) and No. 5 Yates (165).
Currently, Yates sits at 119 career wins and only fourteen shy of tying Sean Gray’s record of 133. Dong joined both Yates and Garnett in the career 100-Win Club, making him only the eighth wrestler in Tech history to achieve the milestone.
The Hokies travel to Maryland this Friday for their last ACC dual meet of the year. Then on Sunday, the Oklahoma Sooners will be in Blacksburg for the Hokies senior night at 2 p.m.