CORVALLIS, Ore. – Despite being 2,700 miles from home and three time zones away, No. 7 Virginia Tech posted a pair of impressive wins Sunday at the NWCA National Duals regional, crushing No. 25 Oklahoma 33-6 before downing No. 9 Oregon State 20-15 to advance to this weekend’s finals in Minneapolis.
In the first match, Tech won all eight matches wrestled in cruising past Oklahoma. Jarrod Garnett got Tech off to a quick start with a major decision at 125 pounds. After a pair of forfeits (one by each team), No. 5 Nick Brascetta beat 16th-ranked Nick Lester for the third time this year, this time 8-2. Jesse Dong, ranked seventh in the country, picked up a major decision against Nick DeAngelis, setting up the big bout of the match.
Fifth-ranked Pete Yates overcame an early takedown by fourth-ranked Bubby Graham to get a takedown of his own, plus three nearfall points later in the match to pick up a huge 7-2 win to avenge his lone loss of the season. Austin Gabel picked up a major decision before Nick Vetterlein and Derrick Borlie both earned wins. David Marone beat Keldrick Hall, who pinned him earlier this season, with a 3-1 sudden victory to end the match.
After a short break, the Hokies retook the mat, this time against ninth-ranked Oregon State with a trip to Minneapolis on the line. Garnett opened with an 8-3 win before Erik Spjut held on for a 3-2 win at 133 pounds to give Tech a 6-0 lead. The Beavers tied it up with a pair of victories, but then Dong rallied from a 4-1 deficit against No. 10 R.J. Pena to pull out a 5-4 win to swing the momentum.
Yates picked up five more team points with a technical fall at 165 pounds before Gabel earned a big 6-2 win at 174 pounds. Vetterlein iced the match with a 15-8 win against Cody Wieshoff, but Borlie tweaked a hamstring and had to take an injury default at 197 pounds. The day ended on a controversial note as Marone led fourth-ranked Chad Hanke by one with time running out, but Hanke got in and was awarded the takedown at the buzzer to win 7-6 despite the protests from the Tech coaching staff.
“I thought we really wrestled well and redeemed ourselves [Sunday] against Oklahoma, even though we beat them three weeks ago. We left too much on the table in that match and took it to them pretty good [Sunday],” Virginia Tech head coach Kevin Dresser said. “In the OSU match, Jesse Dong got the gold star with his comeback win against a top-10 guy. He made the difference in the dual meet. Now, we have a quick turnaround with an arrival back to Blacksburg [Va.] late Monday night and a flight to Minneapolis [on] Thursday. We have some guys dinged up, so we have to lick our wounds and try to get ready.”