By Bryan Johnston
Virginia Tech Sports Information
BLACKSBURG – In the first top-10 wrestling matchup in Cassell Coliseum history, the eighth-ranked Virginia Tech wrestling team rallied past No. 9 Edinboro, 23-14, Saturday morning in non-conference action. The Scots were without two nationally ranked guys due to injury and Tech took advantage in those spots, earning 10 points to help the cause
The dual started at 125 pounds with Edinboro’s Kory Mines utilizing a takedown early on and a point for riding time to propel him to a 4-2 win over Joey Dance of Tech. Seventh-ranked A.J. Schopp took care of business at 133 pounds, picking up an 8-0 major decision over Tech’s Erik Spjut.
At 141 pounds, third-ranked Devin Carter picked up his fourth pin in five matches this season, pinning back-up Sam Recco in just 1:34 to cut the lead to one.
At 149 pounds, 11th-ranked David Habat used a takedown and back points to withstand a furious rally by Tech’s fifth-ranked Zach Neibert to win 10-7. Trailing 6-2 in the after a period, Neibert mounted a rally in the second stanza, finishing with a takedown and then got a stalling point to cut the lead to one in the third period, but Habat reversed him late and held on for the upset win.
In the second half of the dual, Edinboro’s Kasey Burnett-Davis downed Chad Strube 12-1 at 157 pounds to make it a 14-6 match. Austin Gabel provided the match of the morning, battling back from a 6-2, second-period deficit to get a takedown of Johnny Greisheimer with 10 seconds left to cap a wild 8-7 comeback win at 165 pounds. Austin Gabel got the Hokies a bonus point with a dominating 13-3 major decision over Patrick Jennings at 174 pounds to cut the lead to one with three bouts remaining.
Chris Penny got Tech a bonus point with an 11-3 major decision over backup Vince Pickett at 197 pounds, setting the stage for the heavyweights. Ty Walz pushed the pace from the beginning against No. 20 Ernest James, but the duo was tied 1-1 heading to sudden victory. With James having a stall call against him, Walz pushed the pace and James was dinged for a second stall warning, giving Walz the point and the 2-1 upset win.
The matchup was just the second top-10 match of any sport in Cassell Coliseum history, which was opened in 1962. The Hokie men’s basketball team was ranked 10th in the country on Feb. 17, 1996 when it hosted top-ranked Massachusetts.
Tech (5-0) will be back in action on Sunday, hosting American University (5 p.m.) and Manchester (IN) University (7 p.m.) inside Cassell Coliseum. Admission is free.
#8 Virginia Tech (5-0) 23, #9 Edinboro (0-1) 14
125: Kory Mines (E) dec. Joey Dance, 4-2
133: #7 A.J. Schopp (E) maj. dec. Erik Spjut, 8-0
141: #3 Devin Carter (VT) vs. Samuel Recco, 1:36
149: #11 David Habat (E) dec. #5 Zach Neibert, 10-7
157: Kasey Burnett-Davis (E) maj. dec. Chad Strube, 12-1
165: #19 Chris Moon (VT) dec. Johnny Greisheimer, 8-7
174: Austin Gabel (VT) maj. dec. Patrick Jennings, 13-3
184: Nick Vetterlein (VT) dec. Nicholas Mitchell, 5-3
197: Chris Penny (VT) maj. dec. Vincent Pickett, 11-3
285: Ty Walz (Virginia Tech) dec. #20 Ernest James, 2-1 (SV)
Referee: Steven Curtis