BLACKSBURG, Va. - The Virginia wrestling team dropped a 20-12 decision to No. 7 Virginia Tech Saturday evening in an ACC dual at Cassell Coliseum in Blacksburg, Va. The Hokies won six of the 10 weight classes and rallied for key wins at heavyweight and 125 pounds to swing the match in their favor. Derek Valenti (Jr., Newton, N.J.), Chris Henrich (Sr., Lansdale, Pa.), Jon Fausey (R-Fr., Dalmatia, Pa.) and Mike Salopek (R-So., North Huntingdon, Pa.) each scored individual wins for Virginia (15-6, 2-1 ACC).
Valenti scored the upset win of the day for the Cavaliers, topping ninth-ranked Brian Stephens of Virginia Tech, 7-2, at 149 pounds. The pair were locked in a 2-all match midway through the third period when Valenti shot in to score a takedown. Valenti got Stephens to his back and racked up three more points on a near fall as he claimed his fifth straight victory of the season.
Virginia Tech (16-4, 3-0) won the dual's first four weight classes to snag an early 13-0 lead, although UVa squandered third-period leads in each of the first two bouts. The match opened at heavyweight, where Virginia Tech's David Marone rallied for a 4-3 win over Jack Danilkowicz (R-Sr., Green Oaks, Ill.).
At 125 pounds No. 15 Jarrod Garnett came back to post a 14-12 win in sudden victory time over Matt Snyder (R-So., Lewistown, Pa.). Snyder jumped out to an 8-0 first-period lead on a takedown and a pair of three-point near falls, only to see Garnett storm back and take a 12-11 lead on a third-period takedown. Snyder escaped to force overtime, but Garnett picked up a takedown in the first sudden-victory period to claim the win.
Tenth-ranked Devin Carter earned a 19-11 major decision over Joe Spisak (Fr., Boiling Springs, Pa.) in a wild contest at 133 pounds. Spisak held an 8-7 lead in the second period before Carter took over in rolling to the major decision to give Tech a 6-0 team lead.
At 141 pounds Gus Sako (Fr., Cleveland, Ohio) dropped an 8-2 decision to Zach Neibert before Valenti got the Cavaliers on the board with his win at 149 pounds. The Hokies rode the backs of a pair of ranked wrestlers to win at 157 and 165 pounds as well.
No. 6 Jesse Dong picked up an 8-1 decision over Shawn Harris (R-Jr., Cleveland, Ohio) at 157, and No. 15 Pete Yates followed with a 9-0 major decision against Jedd Moore (R-So., Mount Vernon, Ohio) at 165, stretching the Tech lead to 20-3.
Virginia took the final three weight classes - all by decision. Ranked fourth nationally at 174 pounds, Henrich scored a pair of first-period takedowns, then rode Matt Epperly for most of the second period as he cruised to a 6-2 win while racking up 2:32 in riding time. With his 11th consecutive win, Henrich improved to 25-1 this season and recorded his school-record 126th career win.
Fausey, ranked 18th in the country at 184, scored a takedown eight seconds into the first period and controlled the majority of the action in a 5-3 win over John Dickson. Fausey recorded his fifth straight win and upped his record to 22-6 this season.
Salopek, ranked 18th nationally at 197, scored a takedown 2:03 into the first period - and that was all the scoring he needed against Chris Penny. Salopek rolled up 1:20 in riding time in posting a 5-1 decision.
The Cavaliers have three dual matches on the docket next weekend. On Friday (Feb. 11), UVa will travel to Maryland for a 6 p.m. ACC dual. The Wahoos return home to Memorial Gymnasium on Feb. 12 for a pair of duals, taking on Duke at noon and Appalachian State at 1:30 p.m. Senior Day ceremonies will be conducted prior to the Duke bout.
No. 7 Virginia Tech 20, Virginia 12
285: David Marone (VT) dec. Jack Danilkowicz (UVa), 4-3; VT 3-0
125: No. 15 Jarrod Garnett (VT) dec. Matt Snyder (UVa), 14-12 (SV); VT 6-0
133: No. 10 Devin Carter (VT) major dec. Joe Spisak (UVa), 19-11; VT 10-0
141: Zach Neibert (VT) dec. Gus Sako (UVa), 8-2; VT 13-0
149: Derek Valenti (UVa) dec. No. 9 Brian Stephens (VT), 7-2; VT 13-3
157: No. 6 Jesse Dong (VT) dec. Shawn Harris (UVa), 8-1; VT 16-3
165: No. 15 Pete Yates (VT) major dec. Jedd Moore (UVa), 9-0; VT 20-3
174: No. 4 Chris Henrich (UVa) dec. Matt Epperly (VT), 6-2; VT 20-6
184: No. 18 Jon Fausey (UVa) dec. John Dickson (VT), 5-3; VT 20-9
197: No. 18 Mike Salopek (UVa) dec. Chris Penny (VT), 5-1; VT 20-12
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