BLACKSBURG, Va. – In an electric night in Cassell in front of a record-breaking 5,943 crowd, the No. 8 Virginia Tech wrestling team defeated conference rivals the No. 5 NC State Wolfpack, 16-14. The Hokies won six out of ten bouts – including the highlighted return of No. 6 Bryce Andonian – to begin 1-0 in conference competition.
The highly anticipated dual began at 125 with No. 20 Eddie Ventresca taking on NC State’s No. 29 Jarrett Trombley. The only points exchanged during regulation were escapes by both wrestlers to send the bout into the first sudden victory match of the evening. Ventresca attempted to score but Trombley was able to counter for neutral danger to put NC State on the board first.
No. 5 Sam Latona recovered for the Hokies and got Tech on the board with a 3-1 victory at 133-pounds against No. 25 Kai Orine. Latona was persistent with attacks and reattacks throughout the bout, nearly finishing on a multitude of attacks but was unable to finish as time expired or the wrestlers went out of bounds. Latona’s victory tied the dual at 3 two bouts into the dual.
Freshman No. 12 Tom Crook took the No. 6 wrestler in the country in Ryan Jack to the brink in the next bout. Crook and Jack had previously met in December at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational – won by Jack via major decision. Friday night would be different as Crook was nearly able to secure the upset as time expired but ultimately fell 1-2 via escape and riding time point.
The Hokies were revitalized with freshman sensation No. 9 Caleb Henson at 149-pounds. Henson faced fellow true freshman No. 15 Jackson Arrington and was on the attack often. It was all Henson as the Hokie garnered two takedowns, an escape, and riding time to secure the 6-1 decision to tie the dual at 6.
Drama was personified yet again in Blacksburg as the NCAA’s most exciting wrestler made his official debut. No. 6 Bryce Andonian was electric as he put up 20 points on the No. 7 Ed Scott in the fifth bout of the night. Andonian was explosive early, going bodylock straight to back points to go up 6-0 just :40 into the bout. He would then add four more back points before giving up a reversal and surrendering back points of his own. Andonian would go true Hollywood fashion and secure two more sets of backpoints and flurry of takedowns throughout the match to secure the 24-10 major decision for the Hokies. Andonian is now 5-0 against Scott in their careers after Friday’s victory.
Tech would then drop 165-pounds in sudden victory as No. 22 Connor Brady fell to No. 32 Matt Singleton in sudden victory. With the bout tied at 4 in sudden victory, Brady pushed for a double but was countered on the edge by Singleton to give the Pack their third victory of the evening.
Making a bounce back performance after a close match against App State last weekend, No. 3 Mekhi Lewis was vintage at 174-pounds – knocking on three takedowns, riding time, and an escape to garner the 8-2 decision over No. 32 Alex Faison to increase the Hokies’ lead 13-8.
In the marquee match of the evening at 184-pounds, it was everything billed up to be. No. 7 Hunter Bolen dropped a tough sudden victory decision to rival, No. 3 Trent Hidlay, 3-5. Bolen led after an escape and a takedown in the second period but Hidlay garnered the same in third period to force sudden victory. Hidlay would secure a takedown on the edge in sudden victory to slim the Hokies’ lead 13-11. This was the most points scored between the two wrestlers in their six meetings.
In the bout of the evening, it was No. 26 Andy Smith taking out No. 6 Isaac Trumble in what proved to be the clincher for the Hokies. After a scoreless first period, Trumble would get an escape in the second period to lead 1-0 into the final frame. Smith would get an escape of his own in the third to tie the dual with 1:00 remaining. With just :40 on the clock, Trumble would attack, only to be met by Smith’s stout defense and counter offense, giving the Hokie a 3-1 lead. Trumble would then get an escape and look to attack but Smith’s defense was too much and would eventually hold on for the 3-2 decision and the final win for the Hokies to secure the dual.
No. 8 Virginia Tech – 16, No. 5 – 14
125 – No. 20 Eddie Ventresca loss No. 29 Jarrett Trombley (NC State), 1-3 SV
133 – No. 5 Sam Latona DEC No. 25 Kai Orine (NC State), 3-1
141 – No. 12 Tom Crook loss No. 6 Ryan Jack (NC State), 1-2
149 – No. 9 Caleb Henson DEC No. 15 Jackson Arrington (NC State), 6-1
157 – No. 6 Bryce Andonian MAJ DEC No. 7 Ed Scott (NC State), 24-10
165 – No. 22 Connor Brady loss No. 32 Matt Singleton (NC State), 4-6 SV
174 – No. 3 Mekhi Lewis DEC No. 32 Alex Faison (NC State), 8-2
184 – No. 7 Hunter Bolen loss No. 3 Trent Hidlay (NC State), 3-5 SV
197 – No. 26 Andy Smith DEC No. 6 Isaac Trumble (NC State), 3-2
285 – No. 23 Hunter Catka loss No. 12 Owen Trephan (NC State), 1-3 SV