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AWN Duals of the Week: No. 17 Virginia at No. 12 Virginia Tech

#17 Virginia (6-1) vs. #12 Virginia Tech (2-1)
Sunday, November 25, Noon
Live Video: Hokies All-Access

It wasn’t that long ago a Virginia-Virginia Tech wrestling match wouldn’t even be a blip on the wrestling radar. With Steve Garland and Kevin Dresser resurrecting those programs, or rather taking them to new heights, wrestling’s version of the Commonwealth Cup takes on new importance for the ACC landscape. While there isn’t the blood-boiling ire between Garland and Dresser as there is in other rivalries around the country, with two teams in the same state in the same conference battling over recruits, every win matters.

It’s also Thanksgiving weekend, so we have to pick a match featuring the Hokies for whatever the turkey-based mascot really is.

Matchups (Subject to change)
#8 Jarrod Garnett (5-1) vs. 125: #7 Matt Snyder (4-1)
133: Erik Spjut (5-2) vs. #17 George DiCamillo (9-1)
141: #10 Zach Neibert (5-2) vs. Joe Spisak (4-1)
149: #11 Nick Brascetta (6-1) vs. #6 Derek Valenti (6-0)
157: #8 Jesse Dong (1-0) vs. #19 Jedd Moore (5-1)
165: #4 Pete Yates (7-0) vs. #9 Nick Sulzer (4-1)
174: Austin Gabel (5-2) vs. #9 Jon Fausey (5-0)
184: Nick Vetterlein (5-3) vs. #16 Stephen Doty (4-1)
197: Derrick Borlie (5-2)/Bobby LeValle vs. Mike Salopek (4-1)
285: David Marone (0-2) vs. Derek Papagianopoulos (1-2)

Breakdown
125: A battle between a pair of wrestlers ranked in the top 10 in the country with Jarrod Garnett of Virginia Tech and Matt Snyder of Virginia. Garnett is 2-0 all-time against Snyder, but the two didn’t meet last season as Garnett was redshirting. Both have multiple common opponents, but Snyder is coming off his first loss of the season, a 9-4 loss to Iowa’s Matt McDonough. Garnett last wrestled McDonough at last year’s Midlands, a bout McDonough won by fall. The other common opponent — Chattanooga’s Nick Soto. Garnett lost to Soto at the Hokie Open, while Snyder beat Soto earlier that week. Snyder’s given Garnett fits in the past. Complete contrast of styles. Garnett’s also fresh off a huge victory over Ohio State’s Nikko Triggas. Hard call either way. It’s in Blacksburg, so a little home cookin’ with the pick.
Pick: Garnett by decision.

133: Virginia thought about redshirting Ohio native George DiCamillo, but after two titles in open tournaments to start the season, he was thrust into starting lineup. DiCamillo was eaten up by Iowa’s Tony Ramos. Virginia Tech will counter with Erik Spjut. Save the Ramos result, DiCamillo’s been impressive. Both competed at the Hokie Open, with DiCamillo beating Joey Ward of North Carolina in the finals. Spjut lost to Ward in the semis.
Pick: DiCamillo by decision.

141: With DiCamillo moving into the lineup, that’s moved Virginia’s Joe Spisak up to 141 pounds. He’ll take on 10th-ranked Zach Neibert, who is fresh off a win over Wisconsin’s Tyler Graff. Neibert should look to score bonus points in what appears to be a mismatch on paper. Spisak was solid two seasons ago at 133, but with the move up to 141, his results are less than impressive.
Pick: Neibert by major decision.

149: There might be something to Virginia Tech’s Nick Brascetta this season. His only loss is a two-pointer to Air Force’s Cole VonOhlen and he’s fresh off a win over All-American Cam Tessari of Ohio State. He’ll come into Sunday’s battle against another All-American, Derek Valenti. The brother of two-time NCAA champion Matt Valenti, Derek is off to a 6-0 start. Brascetta’s ascent up the rankings is justified. This one’s an upset on paper, but Brascetta did edge Valenti last year. Brascetta stays hot here.
Pick: Brascetta by decision.

157: Depending on if the Hokies are off to a lead after the first four weights, we could see Lex Ozias instead of Jesse Dong. The Virginia Tech senior will be slowly eased into the lineup, but if Coach Dresser believes Dong is close to 100 percent, he’ll get the nod to face Jedd Moore, an opponent he beat last season after being lost for the season. Moore’s only loss this season is to top-ranked Derek St. John of Iowa. Dong in a close one.
Pick: Dong by decision.

165: Two wrestlers ranked in the nation’s top 10 square off, but it’ll be All-American Peter Yates who comes in as a favorite. He’s 2-0 against Virginia’s Nick Sulzer, winning comfortably the last two seasons. Sulzer took Iowa’s Mike Evans to the wire a week ago, but Yates is wrestling like an All-American should – winning matches and winning them convincingly. Yates matches up well with Sulzer, which is another reason why he’s beaten Sulzer two straight times.
Pick: Yates by decision.

174: Jon Fausey returned to the Virginia lineup this season at a lighter weight. While his fall over Grant Gambrall of Iowa could be viewed as a sound win, it was in the tiebreaker, so it didn’t have that “dominant” type of feeling falls normally should have. As for Virginia Tech freshman Austin Gabel, he took All-American Nick Heflin into the tiebreakers in a dual meet last week, but that might be more of an indication of a sluggish Heflin than a game Gabel. Don’t take that too literally, Gabel’s had some decent early-season performances, but Fausey’s experience is the difference.
Pick: Fausey by decision

184: Stephen Doty of Virginia comes in ranked, while Virginia Tech’s Nick Vetterlein is settling in at his new weight class after wrestling 197 pounds last year. Doty’s had two relatively decent wins – Ohio’s Ryan Garringer and Chattanooga’s Robert Prigmore. Vetterlein lost to Ohio State’s Kenny Courts last week. Doty can put up some points. If U.Va.’s got a shot at bonus points, this could be the place.
Pick: Doty by major decision.

197: Virginia Tech’s Derrick Borlie is off to a 5-2 start while Virginia’s Mike Salopek is 4-1. Nothing really stands out here except the pair were highly regarded coming out of high school. Borlie, a transfer from Wisconsin, is coming off a loss to Ohio State’s Cody Magrum and a win over a Division III opponent, while Salopek went 2-0 in Chattanooga. Neither has any notable wins to this point. Both are just outside of the rankings, but this could be the biggest match of the dual.
Pick: Salopek by decision.

HWT: Like Dong, Tech heavyweight David Marone was granted an extra year of eligibility. He’s started off slowly, falling in his first two bouts, but both were to ranked opponents. Virginia sent Patrick Gillen to the mats last week, but has Dennis Papagianopolous penciled in as the starter. Papagianapolous hasn’t wrestled since U.Va.’s season-opening quad at home against Ohio, Chattanooga and Anderson. Marone was a Round of 12 finisher what seemed like an eternity ago. Anyone smell overtime?
Pick: Marone by decision.

AWN Pick: Virginia Tech 19, Virginia 13

How have we fared?
Amateur Wrestling News will keep a running scorecard of its Duals of the Week picks. Matches where the projected wrestlers do not participate will not be counted, same with forfeits. All dual outcomes will be tallied. Duals of the Week are written by both Eric John and Jason Bryant.

Here’s the current DOTW Standings
Total Predictions: 66
Individual matches thrown out: 10
Individual match record: 41-15 (73.2 percent)
Individual match exact picks: 20/56 (35.7 percent)
Dual Record: 5-1 (83.3 percent)

Featured Duals this week: Cornell vs. Oklahoma; Virginia vs. Virginia Tech

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