Tech begins final stretch of regular season
No. 6 Hokies take on ODU, NC State and Duke in three-day span
BLACKSBURG - The Virginia Tech wrestling team, ranked sixth in the country, will be in action three times this week as the regular season begins to wind down. On Thursday, the Hokies will take on Old Dominion at 8:30 p.m. inside Norfolk?s Constant Center and then will wrap up ACC competition with a pair of home matches on Saturday. Tech will battle NC State at 5 o?clock and Duke right after.
ODU is 6-9-1 overall after beating NC State on the road last weekend. The Monarchs are led by fourth-ranked James Nicholson at 125 pounds, who is 25-0 this season. He is scheduled to take on 16th-ranked Jarrod Garnett in a big match for potential national seedings. The two were supposed to meet in last year?s dual match, but Nicholson withdrew late and Garnett won by forfeit. Nicholson beat Garnett 5-3 in the finals of the Hokie Open earlier this year in Salem. Another big match will come at 133 pounds where Tech freshman Devin Carter, who is ranked 10th, will take on 12th-ranked Kyle Hutter. The two met earlier this year at the Hokie Open with Carter picking up an 11-3 major decision in the championship bout.
NC State is 8-8 overall, 1-2 in the ACC after a 28-12 non-conference loss against Old Dominion at home last weekend. The Pack is led by 2009 national champion Darrion Caldwell at 149 pounds, who is undefeated this year after redshirting last season. He and Brian Stephens will battle at 149 pounds in a matchup of the past two ACC champions at that weight. Darrius Little (141) and Eloheim Palmer (285) are also having solid years and the bouts at those weights will be important for seeding at the conference championships next month.
Duke will enter Saturday with a 1-3-1 record, 0-2 in the ACC. The Blue Devils will take on Virginia in Charlottesville at noon on Saturday before making the trip to Blacksburg for the 7 o?clock match in Cassell Coliseum. The Blue Devils are 1-3-1 overall, 0-2 in the league and have no ranked wrestlers.
Tech has won 13 consecutive ACC dual meet matches dating back to 2008 and can lock up its third consecutive unofficial dual meet championship Saturday with one win.
Saturday will be Senior Night as Tech will honor Chris Diaz, Matt Epperly and Tommy Spellman between the two dual meets.
Below are the probable lineups for all four squads, as submitted by the respective coaching staffs.
#7 Virginia Tech (16-4, 3-0 ACC)
125: #14 Jarrod Garnett (23-6)
133: #10 Devin Carter (26-5)
141: #19 Chris Diaz (22-7) OR Zach Neibert (20-6)
149: #15 Brian Stephens (23-8)
157: #5 Jesse Dong (11-1)
165: #14 Pete Yates (22-6)
174: Matt Epperly (10-12)
184: John Dickson (15-14)
197: Chris Penny (9-20)
285: David Marone (14-7)
Old Dominion (6-9-1, 3-1-1 CAA)
125: #4 James Nicholson (25-0) OR Eric Dunnet (9-3)
133: #12 Kyle Hutter (26-6)
141: Brennan Brumley (20-11)
149: Joey Metzler (16-15) OR Scott Festejo (4-7)
157: Micah Blair (1-13) OR Chad Lowman (5-12)
165: Dan Rivera (14-15)
174: Tristan Warner (15-17)
184: Joe Budi (15-10)
197: Jacob Henderson (9-15)
285: Grant Chapman (11-20)
NC State (8-8, 1-2 ACC)
125: Pedram Rahmmatabadi (12-11)
133: Dale Shull (7-6)
141: Darrius Little (24-7)
149: #1 Darrion Caldwell (10-0)
157: Colton Palmer (25-9)
165: Nijel Jones (2-6)
174: Quinton Godley (17-12)
184: Pat Carey (0-2)
197: KaRonne Jones (10-19)
285: Eloheim Palma (11-9)
Duke (1-3-1, 0-2 ACC)
141: Mike Bell (16-13)
149: A.J. Guardado (9-9)
157: Ryan Harding (12-14)
165: Willy Mello (7-12)
174: Bret Klopp (26-7)
184: Diego Bencomo (22-11)
197: Brian Self (17-12)
285: Andrew Fulk (6-14)
Additionally, Ty Mitch and Angelo Malvestuto are scheduled to wrestle unattached at the Edinboro Open this weekend.
For updates on Virginia Tech wrestling, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_Wrestling).
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