By Bryan Johnston
Virginia Tech Sports Information
COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Virginia Tech countered a forfeit in the opening match with four wrestlers picking up five bonus points to rally for a 20-19 win over Maryland Friday night in front of a raucous crowd at Comcast Pavilion. The win moved Tech, ranked ninth in the country, to 12-2 overall as it wrapped up ACC play with a perfect 5-0 mark. It marked the 24th ACC win in the Hokies’ last 25 conference dual matches dating back to 2008.
The match came down to bonus points and the Hokies picked up one more than the Terrapins (9-6, 0-1 ACC) to eke out the one-point win. It marked the second-straight, one-point win for the Hokies in College Park as they beat Maryland 18-17 in 2011 with a win in the last bout.
Friday’s match began at 141 pounds with the Hokies forfeiting, putting them in a quick 6-0 hole. Sixth-ranked Nick Brascetta put on a takedown clinic at 149 pounds, using seven of them en route to a 18-7 major decision over Lou Mascola. At 157 pounds, seventh-ranked Jesse Dong racked up 4 minutes of riding time and picked up four takedowns, rolling to a 10-1 major decision over Danny Orem.
At 165 pounds, fifth-ranked Pete Yates turned Domenic DeRobertis at will on his way to a technical fall. The All-American took a 14-0 lead after one period thanks to four three-point turns and then escaped in then escaped early in the second period to pick up a 15-0 technical fall. That extra bonus point would prove big at the end. It was Yates’ 59th career dual win, moving him into sole possession of second place all-time at Tech behind Dong (64).
Maryland’s sixth-ranked Josh Asper then downed Austin Gabel 8-3 at 174 pounds, but Gabel fought hard and kept it to a decision. Nick Vetterlein wrestled sixth-ranked Jimmy Sheptock tough at 184 pounds, but Sheptock pulled out the 7-2 win to make it 13-12 in favor of the Hokies. Maryland made it three wins in a row and took the team lead with 15th-ranked Christian Boley getting a takedown in sudden victory to claim an 8-6 win over Tech’s Derrick Borlie at 197 pounds. Borlie got a reversal at the buzzer to send it to the overtime, which was confirmed by video replay, but Boley used a duck-under to take down Borlie with 11 seconds left.
David Marone capped off an undefeated ACC season with a dominating 9-1 win over Carl Buchholz at heavyweight to give Tech the lead back. Marone, a sixth-year senior, got two takedowns, an escape and a point for riding time to lock up the top seed at next month’s ACC Championships. The win was the 86th of Marone’s career, moving him into a tie for 13th all-time at Tech.
The action got hot in the last two matches as the Hokies took a one-point lead to the 125-pound match. Eighth-ranked Jarrod Garnett picked up a quick takedown of Shane Gentry in the first period and then rode him the entire second period to take a 2-1 lead into the final stanza. After escaping quickly, the senior eventually got another takedown and put Gentry on his back with less than 10 seconds left to get three back points and secure the 9-1 major decision. The win was the 114th for Garnett, moving him into fifth place all-time at Tech in career wins. It was also his 58th career dual win, moving him into a tie for third all-time at Tech.
That extra point would be huge as it made Maryland’s Geoffrey Alexander, ranked 16th in the country, go for a tech fall or pin to try and win it for the Terps. Alexander got a takedown of Tech’s Erik Spjut early on and came close to turning him to his back with a deep and tight power half, but Spjut fought it off to avoid the back points and possible pin. Alexander went on to pick up a 9-1 major decision, but it wasn’t enough as the Hokies held on for the exciting win.
“It’s hard to win dual meets against quality teams when you’re behind 6-0 before it starts,” said head coach Kevin Dresser. “Hats off to Brascetta, Dong, Yates and Garnett … bonus points won the match for us. But it was a total team effort to stay in there. It’s hard to win when it’s nine against ten. We have a short turnaround and we need to be ready to go for Oklahoma Sunday. After that, then we get some down time. But we have to finish strong Sunday.”
Marone, Brascetta, Dong and Yates all finished up 5-0 ACC marks, assuring them of top seeds at the ACC Championships, which will be hosted by Maryland. Zach Neibert, who is nursing a knee injury and has missed the past two weeks, finished 2-0 and could make an argument for a No. 1 seed. Vetterlein, Garnett and Borlie should be No. 2 seeds after going 4-1 in conference action.
Tech will return to action Sunday afternoon, hosting 16th-ranked Oklahoma (6-5) at 2 p.m. inside Cassell Coliseum. The Sooners lost 21-14 at unranked Lehigh Friday evening, but feature five ranked wrestlers at weight classes where Tech also has a ranked competitor. Admission Sunday is free.
#9 Virginia Tech (12-2, 5-0 ACC) 20; Maryland (9-6, 0-1 ACC) 19
141: Shane Arechiga (MD) wins by forfeit
149: #6 Nick Brascetta (VT) maj. dec. Lou Mascola, 18-7
157: #7 Jesse Dong (VT) maj. dec. Danny Orem, 10-1
165: #5 Pete Yates (VT) tech fall Domenic DeRobertis, 15-0 (3:18)
174: #6 Josh Asper (MD) dec. Austin Gabel, 8-3
184: #6 Jimmy Sheptock (MD) dec. Nick Vetterlein, 7-2
197: #15 Christian Boley (MD) dec. Derrick Borlie, 8-6 (SV)
285: David Marone (VT) dec. Carl Buchholz, 6-1
125: #8 Jarrod Garnett (VT) maj. dec. Shane Gentry, 9-1
133: #16 Goeffrey Alexander (MD) maj. dec. #19 Erik Spjut, 9-1
For updates on Virginia Tech wrestling, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_Wrestling).