Jan. 19, 2009

Courtesy of Virginia Tech

BLACKSBURG – A pin by D.J. Bruce at 197 pounds highlighted a big comeback as the Virginia Tech wrestling team rallied for a 24-21 win over Rutgers Sunday afternoon at Cassell Coliseum. Tech trailed 21-12 with three bouts remaining, but battled hard to win the dual meet and move to 12-0 on the year.

After losing four matches in a row to fall behind, Tommy Spellman beat McPaul Ogbonna 6-1 at 184 pounds to bring the Hokies within six points with two matches left. Bruce whipped the crowd into a frenzy with a first-period pin of Karim Mahmoud at 197 pounds to tie the match up. Bruce, who has won seven matches in a row, took down Mahmoud and locked up a cradle early. Mahmoud squirmed and wiggled, but was finally pinned at the 1:39 mark.

It then all came down the heavyweights as Tech’s David Marone and Rutgers’ DJ Russo took the mat. Marone got a quick takedown and converted that to three back points. Leading 5-2 after a period, Russon escaped in the second period to trim the lead. In the third, Marone earned an escape and takedown to essentially put it away. Russo got an escape and takedown late, but Marone held on for the 10-6 win to give Tech the win.

The match started at 125 pounds with Tech’s Jarrod Garnett, who is ranked 11th in the country, pinning Matt Fusco at the 2:08 mark. At 133 pounds, Will Livingston led 12-0 after the first period before Brian Bollette took an injury default to make it 12-0, Tech.

The Scarlet Knights got on the board at 141 pounds when Trevor Melde upset 17th-ranked Chris Diaz of Tech, 2-1. The Hokies had to forfeit at 149 pounds after Pete Yates failed to make weight. Yates and David Greenwald wrestled an exhibition match at the end with Yates winning 10-7.

Rutgers took the lead after the 157-pounds when 15th-ranked Scott Winston pinned Jesse Dong at the 1:31 mark. Matt Pletcher picked up three team points for the Knights with a 7-4 win over Matt Epperly at 165 pounds and Mike Whalen beat Tech’s Anthony Trongone 4-1 at 174 pounds to set up the final dramatics.

Tech will hit the road next weekend for four big matches in Michigan. On Saturday, Tech will take on Binghamton and No. 17 Michigan at Ann Arbor and on Sunday, the Hokies will face No. 6 Central Michigan and No. 4 Nebraska at Mt. Pleasant.

Virginia Tech (12-0) 24, Rutgers (17-5) 21
125: #11 Jarrod Garnett (VT) fall Matt Fusco, 2:08
133: Will Livingston (VT) inj. def. Brian Bollette, 3:00
141: Trevor Melde (R) dec. #17 Chris Diaz, 2-1
149: David Greenwald (R) wins by forfeit
157: #15 Scott Winston (R) fall Jesse Dong, 1:31
165: Matt Pletcher (R) dec. Matt Epperly, 7-4
174: Mike Whalen (R) dec. Anthony Trongone, 4-1
184: Tommy Spellman (VT) dec. McPaul Ogbonna, 6-1
197: D.J. Bruce (VT) fall Karim Mahmoud, 1:39
285: David Marone (VT) dec. DJ Russo, 10-6